Supernumerary, roving probe into bomb blasts a vain job: court

The Supreme Court has rejected a plea for ordering a roving enquiry by a committee, headed by a retired judge of the court, into all bomb blast cases which have taken place in the country since 2002.

Dismissing the writ petition filed by Gulzar Ahmed Azmi, a Bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and Ibrahim Kalifulla said: “The power to conduct further investigation under Section 173 (8) of Cr.PC is vested with the Investigation Officer. Such a power having been statutorily provided, it would be a futile exercise if investigation is to be entrusted to a supernumerary body created under a retired judge of the Supreme Court along with other team of officers and experts.”

Writing the judgment, Justice Kalifulla said: “There are various levels of appellate fora to examine the manner in which the proceedings are being pursued before the courts wherein criminal proceedings have already been lodged or, in the event of any adverse orders having been passed, the correctness of such orders to grant appropriate relief or to confirm such decisions taken by the lower fora.”

The petitioner wanted, besides a probe into all blast cases, a direction to the authorities to initiate criminal or departmental action against officers of Central and State intelligence agencies who furnished wrong inputs to the State police and thereby pressured them to arrest innocent Muslim boys. He also prayed for a direction to the respondents to make public the contents of the laptops recovered from Lt. Col. Purohit and Mahant Dayanand Pandey (accused in the Malegaon blast case), and thereafter make an inquiry for taking action against the culprits who were involved in anti-national terror activities. The Centre should be directed to take action against “communal organisations” like the RSS and the VHP and their allied forums which were alleged to have indulged in bomb blasts and other terror related activities, and to release on bail the detenus arrested in bomb blasts cases against whom there was no clinching or conclusive evidence.

‘Let individuals find remedy’

Rejecting all the prayers, the Bench said: “It will be for the individuals concerned who face criminal proceedings to work out their remedy in the manner known to law. Even if such individuals are not in a position to seek any appropriate legal assistance on their own, having regard to the setting up of Legal Service Authority and its effective functioning in every nook and corner of the country, there should be no dearth of legal assistance for those affected persons to seek legal aid free of cost.”

The Bench said: “Since criminal cases registered in connection with various incidents are either pending trial before the competent jurisdictional courts or are being investigated by the jurisdictional police, it is premature to say whether any of the accused is innocent or has been falsely implicated. If anyone is falsely roped into any offence under the provisions of either the Indian Penal Code or any special enactments, by way of criminal proceeding, it is needless to state that there are enough safeguards provided under the various laws and under the criminal law jurisprudence to protect the interest of any such person claiming himself to be innocent and demonstrate before the concerned fora that he has been falsely implicated.”

Various appellate fora available to examine how courts are pursuing criminal proceedings

No dearth of free legal assistance