The Delhi High Court on Thursday said Metropolitan Magistrates have no right to meddle with the process of investigation of a criminal case till the chargesheet is filed.
Justice Mool Chand Garg issued the ruling while quashing a 2002 order issued by a Magistrate that police shall not consult prosecutors in a case before filing the chargesheet. The Magistrate had asked the Director of Prosecution to review their procedure of checking and scrutinizing the chargesheet
The Delhi police had challenged the order in High Court.
“Power of magistrate till the chargesheet is filed is very specific—grant/refusal of bail to an accused—and at no stage can he advise the prosecution to investigate the matter in a particular or to stop the investigation or to advice them that they should contact public prosecutor for his advice or not”, said Justice Garg.
“It is for the police to consult the public prosecutor in case they require any advice and therefore anything said or done by the magistrate beyond the powers conferred upon him under the code is totally unwarranted and uncalled,” said HC.
The Magistrate had said that at no stage the prosecution is authorized or required to scrutinize the material before the same is put before the court
“Nothing in the Criminal Procedure Code permits the magistrate to interfere in investigation process”, said the judge.
Appearing for the Delhi Police, l Mukta Gupta had argued that ‘seeking legal advice by police officers at the time of filing a chargesheet is not contrary to the criminal procedure code.
The Magistrate had issued the order taking strong note of the Delhi Police’s failure to file a charghesheet in a theft case.