The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the complainant in a matter where the trial court had imposed costs of Rs 25,000 on Delhi Police for “miserably failing in their statutory duties” in connection with a Delhi Riots case (State of NCT of Delhi v. Mohammad Nasir).
Justice Subramonium Prasad also made it clear that the costs imposed against police may not be deposited till the next date of hearing on September 13.
The court briefly heard Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for Delhi Police and advocate Mehmood Pracha, who represented the complainant in the case.
An additional sessions court had imposed costs of Rs. 25,000 while dismissing the Delhi Police's challenge to an order directing registration of FIR on the complaint of a man who had suffered an eye injury during the Delhi Riots violence in February 2020.
The trial court had noted that the police officials had "miserably failed in their statutory duties in this case after holding a due inquiry in this regard."
Delhi Police’s petition filed in the High Court stated that the sessions court imposed costs without giving any opportunity to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) to make his submissions, which was against the principles of natural justice.
As per the plea, the trial court “failed to appreciate that imposition of such costs was not only unwarranted but uncalled for as court has not found the petition vexatious” and that such costs would “seriously affect not only the careers of government officials” but dent the reputation of police officers."
“Supreme Court of India while deciding the matter of Kishan Lal Chawla V Union of India adjudicated on March 8, 2021 has asked the lower judiciary to work effectively to reduce the burned of pendency of cases as the system if plagued to the level of 70 per cent at lower level,” it was pointed out.
The petition further argued that the trial court has “completely failed” to take into consideration that the complainant was a victim whose statement had already been recorded during the investigation.
“Because the court has made very serious remarks against the investigation even prior to the commencement of the trial which is contrary to the basic law that no finding should be given in the midst of trial. But in the present case, who trial is till to commence and that too without calling a report of explanation from the IO concerned," the plea stated.
After suffering a gunshot wound on his left eye on February 24, 2020, Mohammad Nasir had sent his complaint to the police naming the persons who allegedly attacked him. The police, however, did not act on his complaint, he claimed.
On July 17, 2020, he moved a plea before a magisterial court, which on October 21, 2020, directed the station house officer (SHO) at PS Bhajanpura to register a separate FIR on Nasir's complaint dated March 19, 2020.
The police, however, maintained that the Nasir's grievance "duly stands redressed" as it had registered an FIR at PS Bhajanpura on February 25, 2020 under appropriate sections, and there was no need to register a separate FIR. The police, through the prosecutor, also claimed that the persons named by the respondent in his complaint had been thoroughly investigated and that two of them were not present in Delhi at the relevant time.
It was further argued that respondent has been made a witness in the said FIR, and that he could depose before the court at an appropriate stage. The police also contended that further investigation in the matter was ongoing, and in case some other people were to be identified, then a supplementary chargesheet would be filed.
The police, therefore, sought setting aside of the orders passed by the magistrate and the additional sessions court directing it to register an FIR.
The trial court had expressed displeasure after the police informed it that there was no need to register a separate FIR on the complaint of Nasir, as it had already registered an FIR at police station (PS) Bhajanpura on February 25, 2020. [FIR No.64/2020].
"The mandate of the Delhi High Court Rules, referred to by the learned counsel for the respondent has not been followed by either the police or by learned Illaka MM in the matter, which clearly goes on to establish that the investigation even in case FIR No.64/2020, PS Bhajanpura has been done in a most casual, callous and farcical manner," the Court had stated.
Delhi Police subsequently moved the High Court against this order.