High Court quashes cases; allows legal action against them
The failure to follow a simple requirement of law — that a case has to be registered before initiating an investigation — has caused serious embarrassment to the Lokayukta police.
In a recent verdict, the Karnataka High Court has described the arrests of five sub-registrars on corruption charges, without filing a first information report (FIR), as “illegal”.
Not just that, the court has also given the liberty to the officials to initiate action as per the law against the Lokayukta police as they [sub-registrars] were subjected to humiliation due to the “illegal” act.
The Lokayukta police raided offices of some sub-registrars’ offices in Bangalore in May and booked cases against sub-registrars L. Shankaramurthy, N.A. Ramesh, B.H. Shankare Gowda, S. Dinesh, H. Jayamma and Rajappa, a first division assistant, under corruption charges.
However, the court found that “these cases are a clear illustration of the abuse of the process of law and the police officer concerned had totally disregarded mandatory provision [Section 254 of CrPC] of registering a case…
Before registration of a case, the police officer had proceeded to the spot, conducted personal check of the petitioners, arrested them, brought them to the police station, and after all these events the case was registered.”
The court found many other serious lapses too in the process adopted by the Lokayukta police.
No one had lodged any complaint with the police, nor did any police official lodge a complaint himself/herself before the arrest; though the FIRs had endorsement that they received with original complaints, no complaint was annexed to the FIRs; seizure panchanamas did not mention the petitioners having either demanded or accepted bribe; and the panchanamas disclosed that the amount seized from the sub-registrars were not treated as bribe amount they were returned to them after it turned out to be their personal money.
Silent on allegations
The court noticed that FIRs were totally silent on the allegations and no material to attract Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, which related to acceptance of bribe, though the FIR merely mentioned this section.
“None of the ingredients of Section 8 or Section 13(1)(d) of PC Act found in the FIRs. Since seizure panchanamas were drawn prior to the registration of FIRs the said proceedings are illegal…” the court declared while quashing all proceedings initiated against the sub-registrars.