Prior approval of senior cop must for FIR in TADA cases: SC

A bench of justices Asok Kumar Ganguly and Deepak Verma in a judgement said that prior approval either in writing or oral has to be obtained from the officer of a rank of SP before the FIR is registered, failing which the proceedings would become illegal. This is mandated under the TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act), 1987.

"Therefore, the entire proceeding right from the registering of the FIR, filing of the charge sheet and the subsequent trial is vitiated by a legal infirmity and there is a total miscarriage of justice in holding the trial, ignoring the vital requirement of law.

"We have, therefore, no hesitation in setting aside the impugned judgement of the designated court," the bench said acquitting Rangku Dutta alias Ranjan Kumar Dutta of the charges.

Dutta had moved the apex court challenging the September 10, 2009, judgement of the designated TADA court which sentenced him to life imprisonment for killing SI A Q M Zahingir and PSO Loknath Konwar on November 6, 1993, in Assam's North Lakhimpur district.

The FIR in this case was registered by sub-inspector Ajit Kumar at Bihpuria Police Station.
However, Dutta through his counsel challenged the conviction on the ground that the FIR has been recorded in clear violation of the amended provisions contained under Section 20(A)(1)of the Act which required prior approval from an officer of the rank of SP.

The said amendment had come into effect from May 23, 1993 and the FIR was recorded on November 6, 1993.

The apex court said there was substantive evidence to show that SI Kumar had not obtained the approval of the SP before registering the case. The court further said even if the FIR is subsequently endorsed by a senior officer, it would not become valid.

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