Natipora youth’s death: HC stays order for FIR against policemen as CB says it lacks jurisdiction to investigate

 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar, Aug 29: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has stayed a magistrate’s order whereby Crime Branch of police here was directed for registering an FIR against policemen regarding the alleged ‘custodial death’ of a youth, Muslim Muneer, here on July 9 this year.

A bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar put on hold the July 15 order by City Magistrate Srinagar while hearing a petition filed by Economic Offence Wing Kashmir of the Crime Branch Kashmir (CBK). In its plea filed through SSP the CBK has stated that it does not have jurisdiction to register the FIR and investigate the case of the “nature projected in the complaint” filed by the youth’s mother.

The CBK has cited the J&K High Court’s 2010 judgment in Balbir Singh Vs Ishar Dass case that a Magistrate can direct the investigation by Officer in-charge of the Police Station, Crime Branch provided the Police Station, Crime Branch concerned has jurisdiction to investigate the matter.

“Having heard counsel for the petitioner (CBK) and having perused the material on record, a case for grant of interim indulgence is made out,” Justice Dhar said.

While issuing notice to the youth’s mother through the concerned Police Station, the court said: “In the meantime, the impugned order passed by the learned trial Magistrate shall remain stayed”. The Court listed the case for further hearing on September 12.

Government Advocate Sajad Ashraf argued the case on behalf of the Crime Branch Kashmir.

In her plea before the City Magistrate, mother of the 25-year-old deceased had submitted that “there were visible marks of violence and torture seen on the body of the deceased which makes it clear that the deceased son of the applicant was brutally murdered in the police custody.”

In his order of July 15, the City Magistrate Srinagar had directed “SHO police station CBK to get an FIR registered in the case against the accused no 2 (Abdul Rashid, Munshi) and other unknown police officials of PS Nowgam under the relevant sections of IPC and get the case investigated by an efficient police officer to bring the culprits to book”.

On July 23, court of 1st Additional Sessions Srinagar had upheld the trial court’s order directing the CBK to register the FIR by dismissing a revision petition filed by police against the order.

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