Dharam Pal v. State of Haryana and Ors.
The appellant prayed for issuance of direction for transfer of the investigation to the CBI which the High Court had declined as trial had commenced and some witnesses had been examined. The question before the High Court was whether some progress in trial would act as a remora in the dispensation of justice and the situation should be allowed to remain as it is so that an organic disorder creeps in and corrodes and creates a closed end in administration of justice. The further question was whether the non-approach to the court prior to the stage of commencement of trial would be such a fault to allow biased investigation to rule and ultimately lead to guillotining of justice. The High Court going by the principle of “stage” negated the stand of the petitioner, husband of the deceased.
The Supreme Court referred to the guidelines laid down in State of West Bengal and others v. Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal and Ors.[(2010) 3 SCC 571,(AIR 2010 SC 1476)] in which the Constitution Bench had laid great emphasis on instilling of faith of the victim and the public at large on the investigating agency. The Supreme Court observed that Section 173 Cr.P.C. empowers the Police Officer conducting investigation to file a report on completion of the investigation with the Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of the offence. Section 173(8) Cr.P.C. empowers the office-in-charge to conduct further investigation even after filing of a report under Section 173(2) Cr.P.C. if he obtains further evidence, oral or documentary. Hence, the power of the Police Officer under Section 173(8) Cr.P.C. is unrestricted. The Magistrate has no power to interfere but it would be appropriate on the part of the investigating officer to inform the Court.
It held that the constitutional courts can direct for further investigation or investigation by some other investigating agency so that there is a fair investigation and a fair trial. Direction for further investigation by another agency has to be very sparingly issued. On the facts of the case, to avoid miscarriage of justice, the stage of the case cannot be the governing factor. The power to order fresh, de-novo or re-investigation being vested with the Constitutional Courts, the commencement of a trial and examination of some witnesses cannot be an absolute impediment for exercising the said constitutional power which is meant to ensure a fair and just investigation. Allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court directed that the CBI shall conduct the investigation.