Every acquittal in a criminal case should be understood as a failure of the justice delivery system and in serving the cause of justice, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday, directing state governments to punish investigating officers in such cases.
A bench of justice CK Prasad and justice JS Khehar expressed concern over the growing number of acquittals due to poor investigation and directed all state governments to put in place a mechanism within six months for proper training of officers to ensure the accused are punished and innocent persons are not framed in criminal cases.
"Every acquittal should be understood as a failure of the justice delivery system, in serving the cause of justice. Likewise, every acquittal should ordinarily lead to the inference that an innocent person was wrongfully prosecuted.
"It is, therefore, essential that every state should put in place a procedural mechanism which would ensure that the cause of justice is served, which would simultaneously ensure the safeguarding of interest of those who are innocent," it said.
The bench directed the home department of every state to examine all orders of acquittal and to record reasons for the failure of each prosecution case for finding out mistakes committed during investigation and prosecution.
"On the culmination of a criminal case in acquittal, the concerned investigating/prosecuting official(s) responsible for such acquittal must necessarily be identified. A finding needs to be recorded in each case whether the lapse was innocent or blameworthy. Each erring officer must suffer the consequences of his lapse, by appropriate departmental action, whenever called for," the bench said.