Diary No. 13309 of 2021
Date of Judgement:
21 October 2021
Justice A M Khanwilkar
Justice Dinesh Maheswari
Justice C T Ravikumar
Appellant – Kavitha Lankesh
Respondent – State of Karnataka
While considering the proposal for grant of prior approval under Section 24(1)(a) of the 2000 Act, what is essential is the satisfy action of the competent authority that the material placed before himdoes reveal presence of credible information regarding commissionof an offence of organized crime by the organized crime syndicateand, therefore, allows invocation of Section 3 of the 2000 Act.
- Section 3 of the Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act, 2000 – Punishment for organized crime.
- Section 24(1)(a) of the Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act, 2000 - No information about the commission of an offence of organized crime underthis Act shall be recorded by a police officer without the prior approval of the police officer not below the rank of the Deputy Inspector General of Police.
- The fActs of the case are that a journalist was shot dead by a group of unknown persons and a complaint was lodged by her sister. The investigation was taken over by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). In the preliminary stage a chargesheet was filed.
- Further, investigation brought into light that the accused were a part of an organized crime syndicate attracting Section 3 of the Act. The report of the SIT sought approval of commissioner of police for invoking Section 3 of the Act. The commissioner after considering the materials placed before him granted his approval under Section 24(1)(a).
- The respondent-accused in the original suit filed a writ petition for quashing the order passed by the commissioner granting approval under Section 24(1)(a) of the Act.
- The High Court noted that the petitioner in the writ petition harboured the members of the crime syndicate. The High Court held that as there were no two separate chargesheets filed against the petitioner, he was not engaged in an unlawful activity and allowed the appeal and quashed the chargesheet against the petitioner and the order granting approval under Section 24(1)(a) by the commissioner.
- Aggrieved by the same, the appellant-complainant herein filed an appeal challenging the order of the High Court.
- Whether the order of approval granted under Section 24(1)(a) of the Act valid?
- This court pointed out the contradiction of the High Court in approaching this particular case. It observed initially that the High Court approached this case with respect to the validity of the order under Section 24(1)(a) of the Act and diverted to an irrelevant question at that stage as to whether Section 3 of the Act will be applicable to the petitioner in the writ petition.
- The court carefully examined Section 24(1)(a) and held that the crime under this Section is to be recorded by the police only after the approval of police higher than the rank of the Deputy Inspector General of Police. The idea of the Section is the recording of the crime of organised group and not against the accused/offender himself.
- The court observed that the Commissioner of Police had taken a careful consideration of material evidence and facts before him and held that he was able to make out a prima facie case for granting approval.
- This court also held that the High Court was erroneous in quashing the chargesheet regarding the organised crime of which the petitioner in the writ petition was an accomplice. Hence, the appeal was allowed and the order of the High Court was set aside.
Even if the accused do not have any direct role in an organised crime, when the connection is showed with the members of the syndicates and it is established that there was involvement with the organised crime, such provisions shall come into play. Therefore, specific role of the accused is not a requirement for granting an approval under Section 24(1)(a). It is also important to note that Section 24(1)(a) provides for recording the factum of the offence and not against the offender himself.
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1. What is meant by “continuing unlawful Activity”?
2. Which Section defines “organised crime” under the Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act, 2000?