Bengaluru: After coming across several inadequacies in investigation and in maintaining records in a criminal case, the high court’s Dharwad bench asked the DGP to set up a task force to ensure digitisation of the entire process.
“A task force will have to be established by the DGP, consisting of the head of the police IT wing, principal secretary of e-governance department, nominee of the director of National Crime Records Bureau, and a representative of the director of Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems. This committee will first work out the methodology of sharing existing digital records with the courts and then consider various other aspects, including digitisation of all processes,” a division bench headed by Justice Suraj Govindaraj observed.
The bench pointed out that in the case on hand, registered in 2016, the documents were handwritten and the handwriting was not good. The original records, with the passage of time, have faded in some places, become brittle and are torn.
“It is required that FIRs, crime detail forms, arrest memos, search/seizure lists, mahazars, statements, documents obtained during probe, final report in the form of chargesheets, B-reports, C-reports, etc. are digitally generated, signed and shared with courts handling bail, trial, appellate, revisional matters,” the bench said. The DGP should issue instructions to all investigating officers to record statements digitally and not by hand. As for investigation, the DGP has to ensure refresher training to all IOs and have an SOP in place for investigation into different crimes and on the penalty of disciplinary proceedings if it is not adhered to.
Man, mother acquitted
The bench acquitted Punit, a businessman, and his mother Godavari, residents of Mudhol, Bagalkot district. The trial court had sentenced Punit to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife Ashwini in September 2016. His mother was sentenced to three years’ jail for ill-treatment meted out to the deceased. It was alleged that on September 4, 2016, Punit had picked a quarrel with his wife and thereafter, poured a can of kerosene on her and set her ablaze. But Punit claimed it was a stove burst and he had tried to save Ashwini.
The bench noted that the act of saving his wife itself negates the murder charge. It pointed out that investigation was not conducted properly to ascertain the existence or non-existence of the stove. Referring to Godavari, the bench noted that there was no allegation that Ashwini had died by suicide because of ill-treatment from her mother-in-law.