December 2, 2021

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The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

IO expected to probe fairly, should not be overzealous in preparing murder case: SC

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IO expected to probe fairly, should not be overzealous in preparing murder case: SC
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IO expected to probe fairly, should not be overzealous in preparing murder case: SC
IO expected to probe fairly, should not be overzealous in preparing murder case: SC

NEW DELHI: Observing that a “pliable change” is needed in the mindset of police officers, the Supreme Court on Monday said an Investigating Officer is expected to conduct the probe fairly and should not be “overzealous in preparing” a murder case against accused instead of a milder case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The role and severity of punishment differ immensely for offences under culpable homicide not amounting to murder and the murder under the IPC as the intention to commit an offence is missing in the former case.
The observations, related to the role of investigating officers and probes related to criminal cases, have been made in a verdict by the apex court while acquitting several accused persons in a murder case.
“In other words, it is his (Investigating officer) primary duty to satisfy that a case would fall under culpable homicide not amounting to murder and then a murder. When there are adequate materials available, he shall not be overzealous in preparing a case for an offense punishable under Section 302 IPC,”,” said a bench comprising justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh in a judgement.
In a 42-page judgement, Justice Sundresh said that “a pliable change is required” in the mind of the Investigating Officer as such a policeman is an officer of the court also and his duty is to find out the truth and help the court in coming to the correct conclusion.
He does not know sides, either of the victim or the accused but shall only be guided by law and be an epitome of fairness in his investigation,” the verdict said, adding “An Investigating Officer being a public servant is expected to conduct the investigation fairly. While doing so, he is expected to look for materials available for coming to a correct conclusion. He is concerned with the offense as against an offender. It is the offense that he investigates.”
Whenever a death happens, a police officer is expected to cover all the aspects and, in the process, shall always keep in mind as to whether the offence would come under Section 299 (homicide) IPC sans Section 300 (murder) of the IPC, it said.
“A fair investigation would become a colourable one when there involves a suppression. Suppressing the motive, injuries and other existing factors which will have the effect of modifying or altering the charge would amount to a perfunctory investigation and, therefore, become a false narrative,” it said.
If the courts find that the foundation of the prosecution case is false and would not conform to the doctrine of fairness as against a conscious suppression, then the very case of the prosecution falls to the ground unless there is unimpeachable evidence to conclude awarding a punishment on a different charge, the verdict said.
The top court was hearing appeals of convicts in a murder case. Two separate trials were conducted in the case.
As per the prosecution, three persons – Ladduram, Mohan, and Brijender – were killed by the accused on July 18, 1989, owing to a land dispute in Rajasthan.
Two separate trials were conducted and on the first occasion, the trial court acquitted two and convicted five accused and on appeal, the High Court acquitted one more accused while confirming the conviction of the other four.
Later, an array of 10 more accused was added and the case was taken up for trial for the second time over the same occurrence.
This time, four of them were convicted while one was referred to the Juvenile Justice Board as being a juvenile in conflict with the law, and the remaining five were acquitted. The High Court acquitted the four in the second trial.
The apex court granted the benefit of the doubt to the four remaining convicts.
“After going through the judgments on four occasions by both the courts, we find that the convictions rendered are to be interfered within the light of the discussions made… There are too many loopholes which cannot be filled up, nor is there any evidence to come to a different conclusion including that of exceeding the right of private defence,” the top court said.

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