IN AN order that is going to have far-reaching effect on the criminal justice system, the Director Prosecution has directed all district prosecution officers (DPOs) that they should not scrutinise the case diaries prepared by the police before filing of challan in court; rather, the DPOs should get involved only in the trial stage and allow the police to file the challan in court on their own.
At present, before a challan is filed in court, the case diary is compulsorily scrutinised by the DPOs and then the challan is filed in court.
District magistrate Vivek Aggrawal confirmed to the Hindustan Times that they had received such a directive and said that he had personally opposed the move as he feels that the directive is based on a wrong interpretation of the Supreme Court order. “I have expressed my opposition and written to the Principal Secretary Home, regarding the issue,” Aggrawal said.
Pointing out a practical difficulty, Aggrawal said that even before the trial begins, often the accused files for bail from court, “Who is going to represent the prosecution then,” he asked.
Interestingly, the police who are often happy at the curtailment of powers of the district magistrate are also lukewarm to new development. In a carefully worded reaction, SP Anshuman Yadav said that they were going through the order, and understanding the implications.
He said the present system had certain advantages, and added that they would give their informed opinion regarding the matter to the authorities concerned.
The main grouse of many police officers against the scrutiny of case diary by DPOs before filing challan was that in many cases it led to unnecessary delays by the DPOs office, and since the DPOs were not under control of the SP, but under the control of district magistrate, the investigating officers could do nothing save request the DPOs to hurry up, with a big ‘please’ in the end.
But on the flip side they also admit that many a times, after scrutiny, the DPOs have found flaws in the case diary and ultimately helped police in preparing a stronger case against the accused. Many police officers also agree that in cases of contentious issues, when there is tremendous political or even official pressure, taking a legal opinion on the matter acts as a shield for the police, and deflects pressure from them.