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Delhi Court Slams Police for 'Poor Standard of Investigation' in Riot Cases

While framing charges for two accused in the North-East Delhi riots case, a Delhi court rapped officers for filing half-baked chargesheets, failing to appear in court and not taking actions that would bring investigations to their logical ends.

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New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday heavily criticised the Delhi police for the manner in which they have been conducting their investigations in riot cases, particularly those related to the North-East Delhi riots which took place in February of last year, LiveLaw reported.

While framing charges against two men accused of being part of the mob which attacked 65th Battalion of the Sashastra Seema Bal during the Northeast Delhi riots, Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Vinod Yadav said that it was “painful to note the poor standard of investigation” in a large number of riot cases.”

The ASJ went on to say that, “…after filing the half-baked chargesheets in court, police hardly bother about taking the investigation to a logical end”.

The court’s remarks were made while it framed charges against two men, Ashraf Ali and Parvez, who allegedly threw acid at police officers present at the incident while they were part of a rioting mob. This case was registered following a complaint by a constable of the 65th Battalion, which was attacked by the mob near Shiv Vihar on February 25 of last year, the Indian Express reported.

Asking the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) of North East Delhi to take notice, ASJ Yadav pulled up investigating officers (IO) and station house officers (SHO) for neglecting to look for additional materials which may need to be collected from appropriate authorities and failing to take the necessary steps which would bring the investigation to a “logical end”.

“The accused persons, who have been roped in multiple cases continue to languish in jails as a consequence thereof,” ASJ Yadav noted and asked for immediate remedial action to be taken.

Also read: Court Pulls Up Delhi Police For Not Knowing They Were Probing 2020 Riots Case

He went on to chide the police for the failure of IOs to appear in court when charges in riot cases are being heard. Moreover, he noted that, after sending the chargesheet in a case to the Special Public Prosecutors (PP), these officers leave it up to the prosecutors to argue the matter without paying heed to the latter’s queries or the need for further investigation into these matters.

The court noted that the case in question was a “glaring example” of the officers’ negligence considering the victims in the case were police personnel themselves. 

The court rapped the investigating officer of this particular case for two main reasons: First, that the officer did not bother to collect samples of the acid used in order to have it chemically analysed despite the case invoking Section 326-A  (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Secondly, the court noted that the IO had not bothered to collect opinions on the nature of the injuries of the victims, particularly when Section 332 of the IPC (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) had been invoked.

In addition to these sections, the FIR against the two accused, which had been registered on February 27 of last year, invoked several sections of the IPC pertaining to rioting, unlawful assembly and interfering with and attacking public servants.

The legal counsel of the accused in the case argued that the two accused had not been named by the complainant and that they were the only ones charged out of a mob of around 150 people

Special PP R.C.S. Bhadoria responded by saying that the complainant and his colleagues were deployed at short notice and were not able to fully get acquainted with the locality and thus, were not able to specifically identify the accused. He did note, however, that the accused had been categorically identified by an independent witness.

The court observed that the statement of this independent witness could not be brushed aside simply because there was a delay in recording it. However, the court acknowledged that the “absence of report regarding the nature of injuries upon the MLCs of victim constable(s) Srinavasa Rao, Mukesh Singh, Manikandan and G. Nalloperum is fatal to the case of prosecution”.

It further acknowledged that a “jolt is caused to the case of the police” by the absence of a chemical analyst’s report on the substance used to attack the officers.