HC dismisses PIL to transfer Shraddha Walkar case to CBI as ‘frivolous’, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms


Terming as “frivolous” and an “attempt to gain publicity”, the Delhi High Court has dismissed with Rs 10,000 cost a PIL seeking directions that the Shraddha Walkar murder investigation be transferred from Delhi Police to the CBI. The high court said it can take judicial notice of the fact that this case has attracted immense media attention and the instant petition was nothing but an attempt by an advocate seeking to “bask in the sunlight of the media attention”.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said it was unfortunate that the advocate has made such allegations by stating that forensic evidence in the present case has not been preserved by Delhi Police and that recoveries are being touched and assessed by different public and media personnel within the jurisdiction of Mehrauli Police Station.

“Such type of petitions only affect the morale of the police and must not be encouraged. Baseless allegations are bound to taint the faith the general public has in the criminal justice system. Delhi Police is a professional unit and to boost their morale, petitions of this nature must be severely deprecated,” the bench said.

The court said it was of the considered opinion that the petition has been filed only to gain publicity without any material to support the averments.

It added that the prayers urged in this petition are not only against the genesis of a social interest litigation but also the noble intentions that liberalised the rule of locus standi and permitted public spirited citizens to approach the constitutional courts, for the vindication of rights of those who find themselves incapable to do so.

The court said there was nothing in the petition to demonstrate deficiencies in the nature and quality of investigation.

“Solely by stating that the investigation is faulty and that only 44 per cent of the cases of murder result in conviction does not mean that every case must be transferred to the CBI, ” the bench said in its order which was passed on November 22 and uploaded on Saturday.

“In view of the fact that this petition is only an attempt to gain publicity and is a frivolous petition, this court is inclined to dismiss the same by imposing costs of Rs 10,000 on the petitioner…'” it said.

The bench asked petitioner Joshini Tuli, an advocate by profession, to deposit the costs amount in the Armed Forces Battle Casualties Welfare Fund within four weeks.

Advocate Joginder Tuli, appearing for the petitioner, said the presence of media and public persons in places of recoveries amount was leading to tampering of evidence.

Delhi government standing counsel Sanjay Lao and Santosh Kumar Tripathi vehemently opposed the petition by contending that a large team of about 200 police personnel is involved in the investigation and for searching the missing parts of the body of the deceased.

It was further stated that the entire investigation is being monitored by the Special Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, who is informing the day-to-day progress of the investigation to the Commissioner of Police.

The police said one team has been sent to Himachal Pradesh and another to Mumbai for the purpose of investigation and 80 per cent of the investigation is complete.

In its order, the bench said it was felt that a large section of the society, because of poverty, illiteracy and ignorance, had no access of justice and to provide this access to the poor, deprived, vulnerable, discriminated and weaker sections of the society, the Supreme Court encouraged public interest litigations.

But in due course of time, it came to light that PIL were being blatantly abused by filing of petitions with oblique motives.

“Frivolous petitions are being filed only to attract publicity and these frivolous petitions have to be nipped in the bud to ensure that the sanctity of PIL, which is a very important jurisdiction, created with care and caution, to ensure that the marginalized sections of the society are not left remediless. The instant petition is a classic example of blatant abuse of this jurisdiction,” the bench said.

The plea alleged that the presence of media and public in places of recoveries amounts to interference with evidence. It alleged that Delhi Police had revealed every detail to the media and public persons regarding each step of its investigation and this is not permitted under the law.

Aaftab Amin Poonawala, 28, allegedly strangled Walkar and sawed her body into 35 pieces which he kept in a fridge for almost three weeks at his home in south Delhi’s Mehrauli locality. He then dumped the body parts across the city over several days in the dead of the night.


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