Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court has ruled that transfer of investigation in criminal cases cannot become "a tool in the hands of the accused" for prolonging the probe.
The judgement by Division Bench comprising Justice Arun Tandon and Justice Shashi Kant also laid down elaborate guidelines to be followed while ordering transfer of investigations.
The court held that "normally there should be no transfer of investigation on an application made by an accused" but when the transfer of investigation was deemed "absolutely necessary", the order for the same "must be supported by cogent reasons."
Besides, the court said, "Before passing any order on an application for transfer of investigation, the minimum expected from the government is to obtain a report from the investigating officer qua the status of investigation and the order of the High Court, if any, in respect of the case crime number."
The court noted with dismay that it faced "petitions every day where orders of transfer of investigation are challenged not only on merit but also on the ground that they contain no reasons."
"Power of transfer of investigation cannot be made a tool in the hands of accused or other involved in the matter to prolong the investigation on some pretext or the other," the court added.
The judgement was passed while allowing the petition of one Vandana Srivastava, who had challenged a state government order dated 12.03.2014, whereby a case she had lodged against her husband under the Dowry Prohibition Act was shifted from Fatehpur to Lucknow.
The court quashed the impugned order for transfer of investigation, and held that "the complainant would be entitled to a cost of Rs 20,000 to be paid by the officer, who had made the impugned order of investigation, as cost for uncalled for litigation being generated".