The division bench of Justices Ashwani Kumar Singh and Shailendra Singh, while delivering a verdict on October 29 on a PIL filed by advocate Om Prakash Kumar, directed all the station house officers (SHOs) to lodge an FIR on receipt of any information or complaint about commission of a cognizable offence. The HC also ordered the state to circulate a rulebook containing all stipulations of police manuals and procedural laws related to investigation of crimes. The verdict was uploaded on Wednesday.
The judgment, authored by Justice Ashwani (now retired) just before demitting his office, also directed the state police to ensure that the progress of investigation is entered in the case diary daily. The high court also directed for maintaining a digital diary where actual time and date cannot be tampered with.
Stressing upon the need for adopting scientific modes of collecting, sampling and preserving the materials found on crime scenes leading to circumstantial proofs, the high court directed for compulsory training of police investigators on regular basis about forensic science, photographic, ballistics and medico-legal concepts. Every investigator has been directed to mandatorily learn the photography sketching and mapping of crime scenes and compulsorily insert the sketch in the case diary while investigating heinous crimes.
Investigators have further been directed to record confession and statements of an accused by audio and video recording. All earlier guidelines regarding police investigations, as issued by the Supreme Court, should also be followed. Prompt entry of adverse remarks in the service book of erring police investigators is also directed.
The high court observed that criminal justice system requires high standard of proof “beyond any reasonable doubt”. Investigations into crimes mostly based on oral testimonies falter as the same witnesses change their versions in court and turn hostile.
The court also remarked that it is not severity but the certainty of punishment that deters people from committing crimes. The large number of acquittals owing to botched up crime investigations corrodes the faith of common man in the justice delivery system, it observed.