SC: Punish Police / Govt officers on acquittal of accused in criminal cases

New Delhi:The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that every acquittal in criminal cases should be understood as a failure of the justice delivery system and directed the State Governments to punish investigating officers in such cases.

A bench of justices C K Prasad and J S 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 its officers to ensure the accused is punished and at the same time 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.

SC directs the Home Department of every state government, to formulate a procedure for taking action against all erring investigating/prosecuting officials/officers. All such erring officials/officers identified as responsible for failure of a prosecution case on account of sheer negligence or because of culpable lapses must suffer departmental action

“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 need 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.

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The apex court directed that all state governments incorporate in its existing training programmes for junior investigation/ prosecution officials course-content drawn from the analysis of such cases.

“We further direct that the above training programme be put in place within 6 months. This would ensure that those persons who handle sensitive matters concerning investigation /prosecution are fully trained to handle the same. Thereupon, if any lapses are committed by them, they would not be able to feign innocence when they are made liable to suffer departmental action for their lapses,” the bench said.

SC directs the Home Department of every state government, to formulate a procedure for taking action against all erring investigating/prosecuting officials/officers. All such erring officials/officers identified as responsible for failure of a prosecution case on account of sheer negligence or because of culpable lapses must suffer departmental action.

“The above mechanism formulated would infuse seriousness in the performance of investigating and prosecuting duties, and would ensure that investigation and prosecution are purposeful and decisive. The instant direction shall also be given effect to within 6 months,” the bench said.

One thought on “SC: Punish Police / Govt officers on acquittal of accused in criminal cases

  1. Yeah action on incompetent officers, after acquittal , is a cool thing.

    But I feel the Honorable Court missed another serious point. “Discharge of accused”. This is even more critical problem. Innocent people are put to Fear of arrest, going through the painful investigation, Taking bail , threat of conviction — All these things even when there is no Prima Facie !!!

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