Action against IO who failed to record statement of rape victim
Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court has ordered departmental action against a police officer who, while probing the incident of rape of a Dalit woman in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, failed to record the victim's statement before a magistrate apparently to help the accused who was eventually acquitted.
The order was passed by Justice Ramesh Sinha on December 17, 2012, in the course of hearing on a bail application of one Surendra who had been named as an accused in a sexual assault case lodged in Shahpur police station of Muzaffarnagar under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the SC/ST Act in the year 2011.
Surendra had moved the High Court after his bail plea was rejected by the Sessions Court on November 11, 2011.
The High Court was later informed by the petitioner's counsel that Surendra had, in the meanwhile, been acquitted by the trial court.
Dismissing the bail application "as infructuous", Justice Sinha, however, took "a serious note of conduct of the Investigating Officer of the case" who had submitted a report before the trial court stating that "in his opinion" there was no need for recording the statement of the complaint under Section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code.
The court noted that the Investigating Officer, Ayodhya Prasad Singh, "could not give any satisfactory reply" after he was summoned and asked to explain "under what circumstances he had submitted such a report".
"The Investigating Officer has failed to discharge his duty and had not conducted fair investigation in a case of rape in order to help the accused by withholding the prosecutrix and not getting her statement recorded under Section 164 CrPC before a Magistrate which could have been the most reliable evidence against the applicant collected during the investigation", the court remarked.
"This act and conduct of the Investigating Officer is highly deprecated and cannot be pardoned by this court", the HC said.
"Moreover, the glaring aspect of the matter is that before the trial court, the prosecutrix did not support the prosecution story as it appears that she was influenced and pressurized by the applicant for denying the prosecution story and even threatened not to identify him", the court added.
It said that "it is apparent that due to wilful misconduct on part of the Investigating Officer of the present case, Ayodhya Prasad Singh, the applicant accused had also managed to get the prosecutrix turn hostile in the court so that no evidence may come against him in a heinous crime like rape and he be acquitted".
The court directed the Senior Superintendent of Police of Muzaffarnagar to "send a report to the IG concerned along with a copy of this order for initiating a disciplinary proceeding/disciplinary inquiry in the matter and taking suitable action against the Investigating Officer".
The HC also said a copy of the judgement be sent to the state's Director General of Police "for information and, if required, necessary action on his part".