Influential People Pressure Police Officers; Money Influence Is A Big Barrier To A Free And Fair Investigation: Allahabad High Court

In the case of Sanjeev @ Kallu Sethiya v. State of U.P. [CRIMINAL MISC. BAIL APPLICATION No.-18458 of 2022], the Allahabad High Court made a key statement, stating that it is exceedingly difficult to conduct a free and impartial investigation of a crime or case without the influence of money. The Justice Siddharth bench noted that under the pressure of work, police conduct a mechanical investigation of crimes and went on to note that the investigating officers are under pressure from powerful members of society to submit a report in accordance with their orders.

Facts: This statement was made by the court when it was addressing a bail request in which the accused was charged, among other things, under Section 149 of the IPC. However, the court noted in its analysis of the facts of the case that the accused did not meet the requirements for the alleged offence, even though the police had still filed a charge sheet against him under the relevant section. The bench was essentially debating the bail request of one Sanjeev, who was charged with rioting while armed with dangerous weapons (148 IPC), inducing an attempt to commit murder (307 IPC), and organising an unlawful assembly with the intent to commit murder (149 IPC).

Judgement: The court concluded that no violation of section 149 had been established and pointed out that, in many of these cases, the police had been found to have implicated the accused in violation of this IPC provision even if the section’s prerequisites had not been met. The Court continued by noting that such cases arise as a result of several obstacles standing in the way of the investigating officer submitting the charge sheet following a free and fair investigation. To support its conclusions in its order, the Court cited the period when the British government controlled the police. The Court noted that during that time, the investigation was conducted with the direction of the government and their goal of ruling this country in mind, and as a result, the charge sheets that were submitted were not the outcome of a free and fair investigation. The Court further noted that given the deteriorating law and order situation, communal unrest, political unrest, student unrest, terrorist activities, rise in white-collar crimes, etc., it was burdened with a more difficult task after India gained independence because it transitioned from being a police state to a welfare state. The Court made the important addition that the police force was now faced with additional obstacles, which put it under stress and pressure. As a result, it began a mechanical examination of the offences that were entrusted to it for a free and fair investigation. “The influential members of society put pressure on the investigating officer to produce a report that conforms to their wishes. The influence of money on an inquiry’s outcome is extremely obvious, and it is a significant barrier to a free and impartial investigation of a crime or case. Senior Officers, who do not favourably see any departure from the established procedure of justifying the implication of an accused by gathering relevant evidence, are likewise exerting pressure on the investigating officer. With the exception of a few rare instances where they or their political patron have a conflict of interest, they believe it is safe to defend the accusation of an accused by presenting investigation reports against the accused.” In light of the foregoing, the court made clear after reviewing the case’s circumstances that the investigating officer had only recorded statements from the informant side in order to support the implication of all the accused. He had not taken the statements of any witnesses from the side of the accused.” As usual, the accused party’s version is absent. The Court further stated that the applicant’s implication under Section 149 I.P.C. cannot be justified on the basis of a biassed and faulty inquiry. As a result, the accused, who was charged under Sections 147, 148, 149, 307, 302, and 504 I.P.C., was granted bail after providing a personal bond and two sureties, each in an amount equal to the bond, to the satisfaction of the court in question.

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