Decided on January 15,2020

M. MURUGESAN Respondents

Cited Judgements :-



HEMANT GUPTA,J. - (1.)The State is aggrieved against an order passed by the High Court of Judicature at Madras on 24 th April, 2019 constituting a Heterogeneous Committee of named persons to give its recommendations on the reforms that can be brought into practice for reformation, rehabilitation and re-integration of the convict/accused person to society and best practices for improving the quality of investigation. The Committee was mandated to submit report within eight weeks and that the State was directed to furnish data for each District. The Committee was to scrutinize the same and submit the final data separately along with the report. The State was directed to provide office room for the Committee to conduct its meetings and to keep the documents and other materials in safe custody.
(2.)Such directions came to be passed in a matter pertaining to grant of bail under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for short, 'Code'). The High Court had admitted the accused to bail on 18 th February, 2019 subject to certain conditions but passed an order to call for the details of the cases registered by the Police, final report filed, trial conducted and the result of such cases. The details were to bring to light the manner in which the entire criminal justice system is operating in the State. In pursuance of the directions so issued and the data provided, the impugned order was passed by the learned Single Bench.
(3.)The High Court after collecting the data in respect of the criminal cases registered, convictions and acquittals in each District proceeded to write a thesis on how the criminal justice system should function in the State. It was observed that the central aim of the criminal law is to reform the offender and to rehabilitate him in a bid to render him useful to society. The Court held as under:
"16. The situation calls for a thorough revamping of the Criminal Justice system in this State. It looks like the police are caught into this Vicious cycle. That shows on the poor record of convictions in serious crimes. Instead of finding a complete cure for the disease, police seem to be looking for temporary solutions without curing the disease. Unless we agree that there is a serious problem, there is no scope for change/improvement.

17. "Once a Criminal Always a Criminal" is the result of the present system prevailing in this state. We have forgotten the fundamental purpose of Criminal Justice system which is reformation, rehabilitation and re- integration of the convict into society. If an accused is pushed to the extremes by this system where he finds that even if he wants to turn a new leaf in his life, this system will not allow him, he will rather surrender to his fate and turn out to be a hardened criminal. A welfare state can never stoop down to such a level.

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20. It goes without saying that the quality of investigation has come down drastically and the data provided by the police, referred supra, makes it evident. The alacrity shown by the police in registering FIR and effecting arrest, is not seen in investigating the case, laying final report and taking the case to its logical end. The recent circular dated March 20 issued by DGP states that all the police stations will henceforth have exclusive investigation wing. As per the directions, the investigation wing will be responsible for investigation and prosecution of all cases registered in the station, including cases identified by the law and order wing. Further, the police officers attached to the investigation wing shall not be diverted to any bandobust work except with the prior approval of the zonal IG or commissioner of police. This is a step on the right direction. A conscious effort should be made by the investigating wing in every police station with the active coordination of the directorate of prosecution to take every criminal case to its logical end. The police should not be under the impression that their work gets over with registering FIR and effecting arrest. One of the main challenges for the prosecution in Serious crimes is the witness turning hostile due to various reasons. Witness protection scheme, 2018, which has now become the law of the land in view of the judgement of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Mahender Chawla case (2019 (1) MWN Crl 340 (SC)), must be implemented effectively. The investigation officers must be updated on a regular basis on the March of law. Cyber crimes have reached monumental proportions and criminals committing these offences are clearly having an upper hand since these criminals are intelligent crooks and police officers require regular training and exposure to tackle these crimes. A complete overhaul is required to enhance the quality of investigation."


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