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Friday, 14 August 2020

Police inaction weakens rule of law: High Court

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13

Police inaction not only erodes people's faith, but also weakens the rule of law, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asserted, while directing Sirsa Superintendent of Police to initiate appropriate disciplinary action against "defaulting cops" after looking into the delay in registration of an FIR in a robbery case.

The direction by Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi of the High Court came in a case where the FIR was not registered even though it disclosed the commission of cognisable offence.

A written complaint dated October 31, 2019, was initially submitted in a police station, but the FIR in the matter was registered only on February 11 after the complaint was furnished through the "Chief Minister Window".

Justice Tyagi asserted: "The police is expected to take prompt action for registration of FIR and investigation on the basis of complaint disclosing cognisable offence. Any inaction on the part of the police not only leads to erosion of faith of the people in the efficacy of the entire machinery devised for administration of criminal justice, but also weakens the rule of law which is the very foundation of democracy."

Justice Tyagi also made it clear that the report regarding action taken against the defaulting "officers/officials" was required to be furnished to the court within a month. The matter was brought to the High Court's notice after an accused filed a petition against the State of Haryana for grant of regular bail in the case registered on February 11 for robbery under Section 392 of the Indian Penal Code at Sadar police station in Sirsa.

Justice Tyagi observed the FIR was registered on a complaint submitted by Surat Singh alleging that he along with conductor Dungar Singh loaded wheat on a truck from Sirsa before leaving for Rohtak. When they reached a bypass, four or five persons on two motorcycles stopped their truck. Two of them with muffled faces boarded the truck and told them to handover whatever they possessed.

Appearing before the Bench through videoconferencing, the petitioner's counsel argued that the incident took place on October 31, 2019. But the FIR was lodged with undue, unexplained and unreasonable delay of more than three months.

Taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, the nature of accusation and evidence against the petitioner, Justice Tyagi observed his co-accused had already been granted regular bail by the court. The trial was likely to take a long time. As such, without commenting on the merits of the case, the court was of the considered view that the petitioner may be extended the concession of regular bail.

from The Tribune

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