Transfer of an investigation to the CBI is not a matter of routine: High Court of Patna

There is no absolute proposition requiring transfer of investigation of a case in which police personnel are allegedly involved unless it becomes necessary to give credibility and instill confidence in investigation. This was held in AMAR NATH PODDAR  v. The State of Bihar & Ors[CR. WNo.68 of 2021] in the High Court of Patna by single bench consisting of JUSTICE RAJEEV RANJAN PRASAD.

Facts are that petitioner has filed a writ of mandamus for commanding C.B.I. to conduct a free, fair, independent and effective investigation. And directing state to give compensation of Rs. 5 crore for the brutal killing of the young son of the petitioner in alleged police firing.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted the son of petitioner was present in an immersion procession and was killed in a police firing. Police had not followed procedures and safeguards provided under the Bihar Police Manual. Thus the investigation should be entrusted to an independent agency i.e. C.B.I. and also respondents had not provided any ex-gratia compensation.

The counsel for the defendant submitted that transfer the investigation of this case and the other connected cases was made to C.I.D. of Bihar police, S.I.T. has been constituted and had prepared an investigation action plan. Instead of transfer, the Court may monitor the investigation. AG submitted the present case did not fall under framework of the scheme of the government so as to award any ex-gratia.

The court referred to the Apex court judgment in Rhea Chakraborty Vs.State of Bihar and Ors. , where in it was held that, “9. Under the federal design envisaged by the Constitution, Police is a state subject under List II of Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. Therefore, investigation of a crime should normally be undertaken by the concerned state’s police, where the case is registered. There can be situations where a particular crime by virtue of its nature and ramification, is legally capable of being investigated by police from different states or even by other agencies. The entrustment of investigation to the CBI is permitted either with consent of the concerned state or on orders of the constitutional court. However, investigation of a crime by multiple authorities transgressing into the others domain, is avoidable.”

Court also referred to the judgement of West Bengal and others Vs. Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal where in, court had held that, “that mere allegations against the police do not constitute a sufficient basis to transfer the investigation.”

Considering the facts of the case and the earlier precedents the court held that, courts may consider transfer if it is “imperative” to retain “public confidence” in the impartial working of the State agencies. In absence of any cogent material court cannot accept the plea to transfer  investigation. Thus, only because the investigation may involve ‘CISF’ as well, may not be a plausible ground to transfer the investigation from C.I.D. to the CBI. Court also directed the State to pay a sum of Rs.10 laks towards compensation to the petitioner.

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