State of Punjab Vs.
Hardial Singh & Ors.  INSC 1010 (8 May 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 985 OF 2009
(Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 3837 of 2006) State of Punjab ...Appellant
Versus Hardial Singh and Ors. ...Respondents
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the judgment of a learned Single Judge of the Punjab and
Haryana High Court passed in an application under Section 482 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short the `Code').
The respondents were
accused of having committed the offences punishable under Sections 364, 324,
323, 149 and 148 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the `IPC') and
Section 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act, 1989. The stand taken was that as per Rule 7 of the Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995 (in short
the `Rules') framed under the Act, investigation had to be undertaken by an
officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police specially
appointed by the State Government/Director General of Police/Superintendent of
Police after taking into account of his experience, sense of ability and
justice to perceive the implication of the case and investigate it along with
right lines within the shortest possible time.
The stand of the
State was that SP (D), Ferozepur had authorized Shri Manwinder Singh to
investigate the case. It was admitted that there is a SSP in Ferozpur district
who shall come within the definition of SP under Rule 7 of the Rules. The High
Court held that SP (D) cannot be called District SP or the incharge of the
District who could mark investigation to DSP Manwinder Singh. It was,
therefore, held that the charges against the accused-respondents in the present
case were to be dropped in respect of offences punishable under Sections 364,
324, 323, 149 and 148 IPC, and Section 3(2)(v) of the Act. After having said
so, the High Court said that the observation that so far as the other offences
are concerned as per report of the Deputy Superintendent of Police himself
there had been party faction and efforts have been made to implicate many
persons possibly the present petitioners. Strangely, the High Court found that
the accused persons have been charged by the Additional Sessions Judge,
Ferozpur for offence punishable under Section 364 IPC for abducting Surjeet so
that he may be murdered.
But, having observed
so the High Court said that it cannot be said that there was no prima facie
case against the petitioners (meaning thereby the accused persons) to frame
charges and disposed of the case in the above terms.
counsel for the appellant-State submitted that the order is absolutely
confusing. At one stage the High Court had directed the charges against the
accused persons for all the offences both under the IPC and the Act to be
dropped but at subsequent stage it had noted that it cannot be said that there
was no prima facie case against the accused persons to frame the charges.
counsel for the respondents supported the judgment.
is rightly contended by learned counsel for the appellant-State the order is
very confusing. Be that as it may the only question is whether investigation
done by the police officer specifically authorized to do so in terms of the
Rule 7 is illegal qua offences not relatable to any provision under the Act.
Recently, the controversy of the present nature was decided by this Court in
State of M.P. v. Chunnilal @ Chunni Singh (Criminal Appeal No. 943 of 2003)
decided on 15.4.2009.
the view expressed in Chunnilal's case (supra) we hold that only investigation
qua the offence under the Act is vulnerable and not those relatable to IPC. It
is open to the State to authorize any person in the manner prescribed to
investigate into the offences under the Act.
appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)