Jisha Murder Case : Summoning Senior Officials by Complaints Authority Not justified; Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court on Monday 25th July 2016 in the case of Mahipal Yadav Vs. State of Kerala has held that Summoning a superior Police Officer merely on the basis of the allegations raised in a complaint is not justified at all.

Justice P.B. Suresh Kumar disposed the writ petition directing the State Police Complaints Authority to examine whether the complaint is a genuine, if required, after calling for reports from the superior Police Officers and the State Government.

The High Court made clear that if the State Police Complaints Authority is satisfied prima facie on the said exercise that the complaint in the instant case is a genuine one involving abuse or misuse of police powers, the Authority can certainly summon the petitioner.

While disposing the writ petition filed by the I.G. of Police the High Court observed the statute does not elaborate the procedures to be followed by the Police Complaints Authorities in the matter of examining and inquiring into the complaints received by it. The statute also does not contemplate rules to be framed for governing the procedure before the Police Complaints Authorities.

The statute, however, confers power on the Police Complaints Authorities to call for a report from the police or Government in respect of important matters in the complaint. In the circumstances, in the absence of any statutory mechanism for screening the complaints before the Police Complaints Authorities, especially the State Authority before whom complaints against officers of and above the rank of the Superintendent of Police are preferred, the Authorities have to involve a methodology to screen the complaints, before superior officers in the Police Department are summoned to answer the complaints.

For this purpose, if required, the State Authority can certainly call for reports from the superior Police Officers or from the Government, as provided in the Police Act, 2011.

Kuruppampady police registered a case on 28.4.2016 under Sections 302 and 449 of the Indian Penal Code in connection with the murder of one Jisha.

On getting information about the crime, the State Police Chief constituted a Special Investigation Team, with the petitioner Mahipal Yadav as its head for its investigation. Accordingly, the petitioner has been investigating the case.

According to the petitioner, while the investigation of the case was proceeding in the right direction, he was served with a summons by the State Authority directing him to appear before it with a written statement on a complaint filed by Advocate Basil Kuriakose.

In the Complaint, it is alleged that though Jisha was murdered in her house on 28.4.2016, the petitioner and others have concealed the said fact from the media; that vital evidence in the case were allowed to be destroyed by not preserving the scene of occurrence; that the postmortem of the deceased was conducted by a Post Graduate Medical student, instead of a Police Surgeon and that the body of the deceased was permitted to be cremated before completion of the investigation.

On receipt of the complaint, the I.G. of Police informed the State Authority that it has no jurisdiction to entertain a complaint in this nature.

It is stated that the allegations raised in the complaint pertain to an ongoing investigation in a case and by entertaining a complaint of this nature, the State Authority is not only interfering with the investigation of the case, but also usurping the functions of the jurisdictional Magistrate.