Court dismisses challan against COVID19 lockdown violators

'Fix responsibility for faulty investigation’
Court dismisses challan against COVID19 lockdown violators
Representational Pic

Srinagar, Sep 24: A local court here on Friday dismissed the chargesheet in FIRs filed against COVID lockdown violators in Srinagar.

The case was registered in police station Zadibal for the violation of COVID19 lockdown against three persons.

After hearing prosecution and defence counsel, Court of Second Additional Munsiff Judicial Magistrate Srinagar Shabir Ahmad Malik said that criminal law cannot be set into motion as a matter of course.

“Criminal law cannot be set into motion as a matter of course. The Magistrate has to carefully scrutinize the evidence brought on record,” the court observed.

Court observed that a careful perusal of records reveal that the Corono Curfew was imposed from 8 PM to 6 AM on 26 April 2021.

“The FIR reveals the date of (violation) occurrence is 2 May 2021 and the time of occurrence is 14 hours. Therefore, it is apparent from the record that the accused persons have not violated the Corono Curfew imposed by virtue of order issued by the Authority Member Secretary, of Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (State Executive Committee),” the court said.

Court added that the investigating officer has been “either highly careless or incompetent to investigate the matter.”

“The investigation in the instant case has been conducted in a very casual manner without according any consideration to the principles governing the investigation and legal as well as the fundamental rights of the alleged accused,” court said.

The court said as per Challan the accused have violated the order of District Magistrate, whereas the order that has been attached with the Challan has been issued the Member Secretary, of Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (State Executive Committee) and not by the District Magistrate.

While referring to various Supreme Court judgments and provisions of law, the court said that nobody is above the law every person or institution has to follow due process of law. “And in case same is not done, it becomes the duty of the court to step in and ensure the proper implementation of law.”

Court added that in the instant case as per records available the accused have been subjected to the criminal investigation without their being any sufficient material available against them.

“Therefore, it becomes the duty of the this Court to ensure that the rights of the accused are not curtailed or violated and also to ensure that they shall not be subjected to the criminal trial once the sufficient material against them is not available.”

“The instant challan is not fit for taking cognizance. As such no cognizance is taken in the instant case against the accused. The Challan accordingly dismissed,” court said. The court observed that in most of the cases filed for the violation of COVID19 lockdown the investigation has not been conducted properly.

“It has been also observed that the order of District Magistrate attached with Challans/Police reports pertains to some other date and not to the date of occurrence. The conduct of Investigating Officers has been very callous and unprofessional,” court added.

“Therefore, the intervention of SSP Srinagar is imperative. SSP Srinagar is accordingly directed to look into these matters and fix the responsibility and if possible arrange a training session for these investigating officers (sic),” court said.

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