VIKRAMAN Vs. STATE OF KERALA AND ORS.
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
STATE OF KERALA And ORS.
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(1.) Crime No.780 of 2014 of the Kadirur Police Station of Kannur District relates to the brutal political murder of one Manoj, a political activist, at about 11 a.m. on 1.9.2014, by a terrorizing bomb explosion, in prosecution of a criminal design to kill him, made by the rival political group. The case is now being investigated by a special team of the CBCID constituted by the Government. The crime was registered under Sections 143, 147, 148, 324, 307, 302 read with Section 149 of Indian Penal Code, under Sections 3 and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act, and also under Section 13 (a) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (hereinafter referred to as "U.A.P.A") Section 307 was incorporated on the allegation that attempt on the life of one Pramod was also made by the accused in the said incident. The petitioner herein was arrested as the 1st accused in the crime, and he has been in judicial custody since the date of arrest. During investigation, the Investigating Team found that the correct and proper penal section of the U.A.P.A involved in this case is Section 16(1) (a) and that Section 13 (1) (a) will have application only in cases of unlawful activity as defined under the law. Finding that this is an instance of terrorist activity as defined under Section 15 of the U.A.P.A, the Investigating Officer filed a report in court to that effect, and proceeded for investigation under Section 15 (1) (a) (i) read with Section 16 (1)(a) of the U.A.P.A. Section 15 of the U.A.P.A defines terrorist activities, and Section 16 of the U.A.P.A provides punishment for terrorist activities. The report submitted by the Investigating Officer before court, reporting the process of investigation under Section 15 (1) (a) (i) read with Section 16 (1) (a) of the U.A.P.A is under challenge in this proceeding brought under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The petitioner seeks orders quashing that part of the F.I.R incorporating the sections of the U.A.P.A, and also the Annexure A3 report to that effect filed by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, District Crime Branch, Kannur.
(2.) The scope and extent of the powers of this Court to intrude into the process of investigation is the legal issue involved in this proceeding. Judicial interference cannot, in any circumstance, cross the limits and borders drawn by the Constitution of India and the various legislations made thereunder on criminal law. Within the constitutional and legal constraints and limits, and also without crossing the border lines, judicial interference in exercise of the extra-ordinary constitutional powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, or in exercise of the inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is possible only in cases of extreme violation and breach of the provisions of any law. This is the settled position as regards judicial powers for interference in investigation. Investigation into an offence is, no doubt, the exclusive realm reserved for the investigating agency, whose powers under the law, including the Code of Criminal Procedure, are unfettered, and when such investigation progresses into a cognizable offence of serious nature, courts can interfere when breach of the provisions of any law, or violation of constitutional or legal rights is brought to the notice of the court. It stands settled by judicial precedents that interference by courts in the process of investigation, or intrusion into the realm of investigation, is possible only when the Investigating Agency transgresses the limits and borders prescribed by the law , and illegally and improperly does the process of investigation in breach of any statutory provision providing or guaranteeing rights to the persons facing prosecution.
(3.) In State of Haryana & Others v. Bhajanlal & Others, 1992 SCC(Cri) 426, the Hon'ble Supreme Court considered the scope of interference by courts into the process of investigation and held thus:
"The sum and substance of the above deliberation results in a conclusion that the investigation of an offence is the field exclusively reserved for the police officers whose powers in that field are unfettered so long as the power to investigate into the cognizable offences is legitimately exercised in strict compliance with the provisions falling under Chapter XII of the Code and the courts are not justified in obliterating the track of investigation when the investigating agencies are well within their legal bounds as aforementioned. Indeed, a noticeable feature of the scheme under Chapter XIV of the Code is that a Magistrate is kept in the picture at all stages of the police investigation but he is not authorised to interfere with the actual investigation or to direct the police how that investigation is to be conducted. But if a police officer transgresses the circumscribed limits and improperly and illegally exercises his investigatory powers in breach of any statutory provision causing serious prejudice to the personal liberty and also property of a citizen, then the court on being approached by the person aggrieved for the redress of any grievance, has to consider the nature and extent of the breach and pass appropriate orders as may be called for without leaving the citizens to the mercy of police echelons since human dignity is a dear value of our Constitution. It needs no emphasis that no one can demand absolute immunity even if he is wrong and claim unquestionable right and unlimited powers exercisable up to unfathomable cosmos. Any recognition of such power will be tantamount to recognition of 'Divine Power' which no authority on earth can enjoy.";
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