Courts can’t direct police how investigation is to be conducted: Punjab and Haryana high court
Punjab and Haryana high court said the domain of investigation and manner of their conducting lie squarely within the jurisdiction of the investigating officer
The Punjab and Haryana high court has said that the domain of investigation and manner of their conducting lie squarely within the jurisdiction of the investigating officer and courts can’t direct the police on how the investigation is to be conducted.
“Investigation’s exclusive jurisdiction is vested in the investigating officer concerned and cannot either be fettered or trammelled by the court through its coaching, mentoring and guiding,” the court said, adding that the same, however, is with a rider, it should not become evident and the probe should not suggest that it is done in a mala fide manner or influenced with some extraneous considerations.
The high court was hearing a plea from a city woman, who had got registered a domestic violence case against her estranged husband and his family members in June 2020. She had approached the high court demanding that investigating officer should be changed and the probe be handed over to some other independent agency. It was alleged that the respondent family is highly connected and aligned to high-profile police officials, bureaucrats and politicians and that there is every likelihood of influencing the investigation.
The court found that the probe is still underway. Hence, directions can’t be issued.
It said that allegations of any purported biases and mala fides, due to respondent family links with high-profile persons, cannot be accepted in the absence of prima facie cogent and reliable evidence. If at any stage the allegations are prima facie supported by credible evidence, the remedy will be available to the petitioner after challan is filed, it said, adding that even if the investigating officer files a closure report before a magistrate, the woman would have a choice of the protest petition.
As the woman had claimed threats at the hands of the respondent’s family, the high court asked the authorities to take into consideration her representation in this regard and take a decision on that.