STATE Vs. SHRI HANJABAM HARIDEVA SARMA,
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
Shri Hanjabam Harideva Sarma,
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R.S.BINDRA, J. -
(1.) AFTER the Special Judge. Manipur, Shri O. Thambal Singh, had taken cognisance of the case under Sections 161 and 163 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, hereinafter called the Act, against H. Harideva Sarma, Statistical Officer, Government of Manipur, he directed, by his order dated 21st February, 1970, passed at the instance of the accused, that the Deputy Superintendent of Police or some other competent Police Officer should reinvestigate the case "from the initial stage of investigation", and that until "the submission of the charge -sheet or final report" the case shall be kept pending on his file. The State having felt aggrieved with the said directions of the Special Judge has come up in revision to this Court.
(2.) TO appreciate the legal point in controversy between the parties the facts leading to the prosecution of Harideva Sarma may briefly be set out. At 10 -15 a.m. on 2.1.1969 one Ph. Mulachandra Singh of Andro village made a report to Inspector M. Ibopishak Singh, Officer in charge of the Police Station, Imphal, that he would shortly pay Rs. 200/ - to the accused as illegal gratification for the latter having given him the appointment as a Lower Division Clerk in his capacity as a member of the Departmental Promotion Committee. Ibopishak Singh entered that report in the General Diary of the Police station and thereafter hastened to the office of the accused. At about 10 -50 a.m. Ibopishak Singh searched the person of the accused and allegedly recovered currency notes worth Rs. 200/ -. On getting back to the Police station with that money, Ibopishak Singh registered a case against Harideva Sarma on the basis of the facts in his personal knowledge and the report earlier made to him at 10 -15 a.m. by Kulachandra Singh. That done, he approached the Deputy Superintendent of Police for undertaking the necessary investigations in the case. The Deputy Superintendent of Police took up the investigations and on their completion and after securing the sanction of the Administrator of Manipur for prosecution of the accused submitted a charge -sheet against him to the Special Judge.
(3.) WHEN the accused put in appearance before the Special Judge on being summoned by the latter he raised two preliminary objections. Firstly, it was urged that before he could be prosecuted it was necessary that the sanction of the President of India, and not that of the Administrator of Manipur, should have been secured inasmuch as the President had appointed him as an Officer on Special Duty in connection with the National Sample Survey in ex -officio capacity. The second objection taken was that the major part of the investigation having been done by a Police Officer of the rank of Inspector there was obvious violation of the mandatory provisions of Section 5 -A of the Act with the consequence that the Special Judge lacked jurisdiction to take cognisance of the case. Both the objections were opposed by the Prosecution. The learned Special Judge rejected the first objection on holding the same as without merit but allowed the other.
Shri Ibotombi Singh, the learned Government Advocate, very fairly conceded at the bar that if the whole or part of investigation has been done by an officer not authorised by Section 5 -A of the Act and an objection to that effect is raised by the accused at the early stage of the trial, it is open to the Special Judge, after taking cognisance of the case, to suspend the proceedings and issue a direction to the competent Police officer to reinvestigate the case and re -submit the charge -sheet. However, he strenuously urged that such a course can be adopted only when it is practically feasible to reinvestigate the case wholly or in part, and added that if reinvestigation, in the peculiar circumstances of the case, cannot be undertaken, no direction to that effect can be given. The learned Government Advocate next contended that an invalidity or illegality committed during the course of investigation is curable under Section 537, Criminal Procedure Code and that since in the present case the violation of Section 5 -A of the Act related only to the recovery of the money by Inspector Ibopishak Singh from the person of the accused and that part of investigation cannot be restaged, the Special Judge went wrong in directing that the reinvestigation should be done right from the initial stage.;
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