Asia & Australia

December 15, 2017

Guidelines to curb harassment by police during investigation issued: Madras HC

Madras High Court

Justice MS Ramesh of the Madras High Court has emphasised that the powers of investigating officers should not be abused so as to become harassment under the guise of investigation, in an order passed recently.

Invoking its inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a petition had been filed before the High Court. The petitioners had prayed that the Court intervene to restrain the police from harassing them during the course of investigation in a case.

When it comes to inquiry, the Court noted that while investigating officers hold unfettered powers, the same have to be legitimately exercised within the legal framework in Chapter XII of the CrPC. However, a Magistrate plays the role of guardian at all stages of the process; he does not have the power to interfere with the course of the investigation.

Normally, the High Court is also not expected to hinder in the course of an investigation. However, the judge noted that it cannot ignore and do away when such claims of harassment under the form of investigation are brought before the Court

The Court has therefore, issued the following guidelines with a view to mitigating the problem:

i. While summoning any persons named in the complaint or any witness to the incident complained of, the police officer shall summon such persons through a written summons under Section 160 CrPC, specifying a particular date and time for appearing before them for such an enquiry/investigation.

ii. The minutes of the enquiry shall be recorded in the general diary/station diary of the police station.

iii. The police officer shall refrain himself or herself from harassing persons called upon for enquiry/investigation.

iv. The guidelines stipulated for preliminary enquiry of registration of FIR by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Lalita Kumari v Government of Uttar Pradesh and others shall be strictly adhered to.

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