An important judgment by Supreme Court came in 2014 wherein directions were issued to Home Department of all the States (which have both Police and State Prosecutors under them) to ensure that only people against whom there is sufficient evidence of having committed a crime are prosecuted. It was also directed that if an accused is acquitted after a trial, an accountability is taken as to why the Police or Prosecution failed to convict that accused person, and erring Police Investigation Officers (IO) and Prosecutors should suffer departmental action.
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The judgment can be referred to at:
Para 20 of above SC judgment is given below:
20. 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. 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 safeguard of interest of those who are innocent. In furtherance of the above purpose, it is considered essential to direct the Home Department of every State, to examine all orders of acquittal and to record reasons for the failure of each prosecution case. A standing committee of senior officers of the police and prosecution departments, should be vested with aforesaid responsibility. The consideration at the hands of the above committee, should be utilized for crystalizing mistakes committed during investigation, and/or prosecution, or both. The Home Department of every State Government will incorporate in its existing training programmes for junior investigation/prosecution officials course- content drawn from the above consideration. The same should also constitute course-content of refresher training programmes, for senior investigating/prosecuting officials. The above responsibility for preparing training programmes for officials, should be vested in the same committee of senior officers referred to above. Judgments like the one in hand (depicting more than 10 glaring lapses in the investigation/prosecution of the case), and similar other judgments, may also be added to the training programmes. The course content will be reviewed by the above committee annually, on the basis of fresh inputs, including emerging scientific tools of investigation, judgments of Courts, and on the basis of experiences gained by the standing committee while examining failures, in unsuccessful prosecution of 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.
Above para has given directions to Home Department of every State to examine all orders of acquittal and record reasons for the failure of each prosecution case, and further suggestions for inclusion learnings into training programmes.
Para 21 of the judgment is given below:
21. 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 needs 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. Taking into consideration the seriousness of the matter, the concerned official may be withdrawn from investigative responsibilities, permanently or temporarily, depending purely on his culpability. We also feel compelled to require the adoption of some indispensable measures, which may reduce the malady suffered by parties on both sides of criminal litigation. Accordingly we direct, 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.
Above para gives directions to Home Department of every State to implement tracking mechanisms and implement procedures to take action against all erring investigating/prosecuting officials/officers due to whose actions a person has to face criminal trial but ultimately gets acquitted. If these procedures were enforced and departmental actions were taken, it will create a huge disincentives to shoddy and incompetent police investigation leading to charge-sheeting in IPC 498A and other matrimonial related cases, and in general for all criminal cases. This can bring down the charge-sheeting of false criminal cases drastically, and as per CrPC these false cases will result in a so called B-report wherein it will be said that no evidence of alleged crimes was found after investigation. Further, it will put some onus on state prosecutors so that prosecution cannot do their job mechanically by taking to trial every charge-sheet by police and act as a punishing arm of the state towards the accused most of whom are getting acquitted at the end of the trial.
To bring this accountability, data needs to be collected in each State of India as to current implementation and status of the above guidelines. Following states are currently being covered and the list will be updated as and when people reply via comment on this article, or via Contact form that they have submitted this RTI in their State. In any case, it would be good that multiple file RTIs even if a State is already covered in the list below, because the logic that seems to work in India is that if only one person in a few Crores in a state is bothered about something, why should it be taken seriously? Also, if a State wants to avoid multiple people filing RTIs on the same information, they can very well publish that information on their official website as part of disclosures under RTI Act.
States where some data has been received, and awaiting more data
1. Karnataka (1 RTI sent to Home Dept Nov 2019)
Another RTI sent to Dept of Prosecution in Feb 2020
2. Tamil Nadu (1 RTI sent to Home Dept, Preliminary reply received from Home Department, awaiting scans)
Tamil Nadu (RTI sent to Home Dept also forwarded to Police and Prosecution Dept, and so Awaiting data from Police, and Prosecution Dept)
States where data collection is in progress
1. Gujarat (1 RTI sent)
2. Telengana (1 RTI sent which got an evasive reply, first appeal to be filed)
3. Andhra Pradesh (1 RTI sent which got an evasive reply, first appeal to be filed)
Format of RTI
Following RTI has actually been used and same can be used to send to your respective state. This is based on format of RTI prescribed in State of Karnataka (but it is not binding), so you can change it to whatever RTI format you have used earlier, or if any format is prescribed in your state (if you want to show your knowledge of RTI to the PIO, not that it would matter much!). In short – don’t get hung up on the format, that is the least important thing. Just make sure that all the points in Para 1 to 5 (and information about Indian Postal Order (IPO) for paying Rs 10 fees is mentioned.
Note: No need to provide mobile number in RTI application. In RTI applications, some people provide their mobile number but I tend to avoid giving mobile number since many govt departments have expertise in how to avoid replying to RTI by calling the applicant and giving various excuses and dissuading him/her from expecting a reply to the information asked for! Rarely have I found any positive outcome from giving a mobile number. In any case, no RTI reply can be sent over phone, SMS, or WhatsApp so giving mobile number is not really necessary at all. Let them send by post or to email address mentioned in RTI template below.
APPLICATION UNDER THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT 2005
FORM-A (section 6(1) and 7(1) of the RTI Act, 2005)
1. Full Name of the Applicant: <Give your full name here>
2. Address: <Give your address here>
Email: <Give your email here> (In lieu of postal reply to RTI, the information asked below may be sent to my email address to reduce paper usage)
3. Details of the document/ Inspection/ Samples required:
Referred document at: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/24057125/
With reference to above judgment by Supreme Court of India in State Of Gujarat vs Kishanbhai on 7 January, 2014. With reference to paras in this judgment, kindly supply information/documents/records/statistics etc as mentioned below:
- The date when copy of above-mentioned judgment has been received by Home Secretary of State of Karnataka.
- Information/documents/records/statistics related to formulated procedure for taking action against all erring investigating/prosecuting officials/officers as mentioned in para 21 of above-mentioned judgment.
- Information/documents/records/statistics related to instances of lapses/negligence, details of erring officers, instances of departmental actions etc in investigation/prosecution of criminal cases, as mentioned in para 21 of above-mentioned judgment.
- Information/documents/records/statistics related to number of departmental actions initiated and how many of these resulted in strictures/actions against the erring officers/officials, in each year after above-mentioned judgment direction was received.
4. Year to which the above pertains: Year 2014 and afterwards
5. Designation and Address of the SPIO from whom information is required:
State Public Information Officer,
<Give here address of PIO related to Home Department of State (google to get the information)>
Encl: Fees paid via IPO No. __________________ for Rs.10/- with the application
Date: Signature of Applicant
If you file above RTI in your state, then you can inform via Contact form OR leave a comment with following information so that the list of States can be updated for everyone to see:
1. Name of State
2. Date RTI filed on
3. Current status (Rejected/ Under Process/ Information Received/ First Appeal filed/ Second Appeal filed to State Information Commission)
Once the responses to RTIs start coming in, they can be uploaded to the site.