SC orders probe into alleged threat to judge by SP in Madhya Pradesh

“The rule of law must be preserved,” held the bench of justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and MR Shah, as it castigated the state government for failing to arrest Govind Singh despite an FIR registered against him in March 2019.
The Supreme Court ordered the Madhya Pradesh police chief to “immediately" ensure the arrest” of the BSP MLA's husband Govind Singh and probe allegations against the Damoh SP.
The Supreme Court ordered the Madhya Pradesh police chief to “immediately" ensure the arrest” of the BSP MLA's husband Govind Singh and probe allegations against the Damoh SP.
Updated on Mar 14, 2021 12:56 PM IST
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By Utkarsh Anand, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Supreme Court has ordered Madhya Pradesh’s director general of police (DGP) to investigate whether a superintendent of police (SP) was threatening a trial court judge to prevent the arrest of a murder convict, who is the husband of a BSP MLA in Madhya Pradesh.

“The rule of law must be preserved,” held the bench of justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and MR Shah, as it castigated the state government on Friday for failing to arrest Govind Singh despite a first information report (FIR) registered against him in March 2019 and an arrest warrant issued around two months ago.

Instead, the bench lamented, the trial court judge in Damoh district was reportedly being intimidated by the district SP for summoning Govind Singh as an accused in a murder case of 2019 and issuing the warrant for his arrest.

On Friday, the court was informed by advocate Varun Thakur, who represented the son of the man allegedly killed by Singh, that pressure was mounted on the trial court judge since Singh is the husband of BSP MLA from Pathariya, Rambai.

Thakur also told the court that Singh was convicted of murder in two cases and faces charges of murder in two more. Apart from these four cases, he also has 24 other criminal cases pending against him. But the high court, Thakur told the top court, still suspended his sentence and let him out on bail. Thakur said that his client’s father was killed while Singh was out on bail.

The bench said that it was startled by the inability of the Madhya Pradesh police to arrest Singh for almost a year despite such grave facts.

“The material which has been placed on the record makes startling reading... We take serious note of the manner in which the Additional Sessions Judge, Hata who is in charge of the criminal case has been harassed by the law enforcement machinery in Damoh,” said the court in its order which was released on Saturday.

The judges took a grim view that the trial judge had to record his apprehensions in his judicial order on February 8; that he might be subjected to an “unpleasant incident” in the future as the accused are “highly influential political persons”.

“We have no reason to disbelieve a judicial officer who has made an impassioned plea that he was being pressurised as a result of his orders under Section 319 of the CrPC. The State, which had moved the High Court for cancellation of the bail which was granted to the second respondent (Singh) as an incident of the suspension of sentence on 3 February 2016, has failed to apprehend Singh who continues to evade arrest,” rued the bench.

It ordered the state DGP to “immediately ensure the arrest” of Singh and report compliance by filing a personal affidavit in the court.

“The DGP shall also enquire into the allegations levelled by Singh against the Superintendent of Police Damoh by the Additional Sessions Judge in his order dated February 8, 2021,” directed the bench. It has also sought an explanation from the SP while fixing the matter for hearing on March 26.

The top court has also ordered for providing adequate security to the trial judge in Damoh.

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Monday, October 25, 2021