“In this land of ancient civilization and rich culture governed by fundamental principle that no society can prosper without respect for women expressed by sanskrit shalok
‘Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra Devata’
women are now victims of heinous crimes and subjected to domestic violence, cruelty/maltreatment and sexual harassment and due to these evils, need effective protection of law administered by all agencies of State with an iron hand.”
– Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi
On 11th of August 2020, Hon’ble Justice Tyagi while dismissing the case filed against two accused of stalking, criminal intimidation and outraging the modesty of women by circulating, publishing and transmitting obscene material under Sections 354-D, 503, 509, 384 and 511 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (for short ‘the IPC’) and Sections 66D, 67 and 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 commented that, the complainant/victim of such crime has the remedy to apply to the Judicial Magistrate for monitoring and expeditious completion of investigation, in case there is an unreasonable delay on the part of the Police/Investigating Officer.
The order[i] also stated that the complainant/victim of a crime may also file complaint under section 166A (b) of the IPC against the Investigating Officer for knowingly disobeying, any direction of the law regulating the manner in which he shall conduct such investigation. He also mentioned that, in view of explanation to Section 197 (1) of the Cr.P.C. no sanction is required in case of a public servant accused of any offence alleged to have been committed under Section 166 A of the IPC. The complainant/victim of a crime may alternatively file petition in the High Court for transfer of investigation to an independent agency such as CBI etc..
While mentioning the remedies, the Single Judge Bench also pointed out that there is no specific provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for short ‘the Cr.P.C’), mandatorily specifying the time limits for completion of investigation yet Section 173 (1) of the Cr.P.C. mandates that every investigation under Chapter 12- INFORMATION TO THE POLICE AND THEIR POWERS TO INVESTIGATE shall be completed without unnecessary delay.
While elucidating the need for judicial interference in the investigation procedure in this case, the Bench pointed out these notable aspects:
“The written complaints disclosed commission of cognizable offences but the Police, instead of registering the FIR proceeded to conduct preliminary inquiries regarding the allegations made in the said complaints. As per law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court in Lalita Kumari Vs. Government of U.P. (2014) 2 SCC 1 such preliminary inquiry could be made only to ascertain whether the complaint disclosed commission of cognizable offences and was required to be completed within forty five days. The preliminary inquiry was conducted by making an ‘investigation’ in ‘mini trial’ mode by joining the complainant, accused and witnesses.
The police is expected to take prompt action for registration of FIR and investigation of the case where complaint discloses commission of cognizable offence but in the present case there was unreasonable delay in registration of FIR as well as investigation of the case which warrants interference by this Court in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction.”
Citing the famous case of Shashi Thomas Vs. State and Others : (2007) 1 RCR Criminal 695 wherein proper and fair investigation on the part of the Investigating Officer was held to be the backbone of rule of law, Hon’ble Justice Tyagi indicated that investigation has to be fair, prompt, transparent and judicious to both the victim as well as the accused and ineffective, unfair, obscure, inexpedient and delayed investigation negates and would be the antithesis of the rule of law affirmed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India.