Frame guidelines to investigate offences: HC to Lokayukta cops

The High Court on Tuesday directed the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Lokayukta, to formulate guidelines for investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act) and train police officers to follow the due process of law (after registering an FIR), while raiding and trapping suspects.

Hearing a petition by Girish Chandra, sub-registrar of Basavana Bagewadi in Bijapur district, who had moved the High Court challenging the Lokayukta investigation against him, the Division Bench comprising Justice K Sreedhar Rao and Justice Abdul Nazeer lashed out at the Lokayukta police and observed, “The investigation officers should be thoroughly educated about the legal and scientific methods to be adopted while conducting an investigation.”

Suggesting that the Lokayukta police should have guidelines along the lines of the Police Manual, the Bench warned the officers against violating the norms. “It is advisable that protocol and the manner of investigation be laid down for investigation under the PC Act. Any violation will invite disciplinary action,” the Bench said, before remitting the matter to the single-judge Gulbarga Circuit Bench for disposal.

The Bench pulled up the Lokayukta police when the counsel for the petitioner submitted that no FIR had been lodged and due procedure followed before raiding him. He submitted that as per the Supreme Court directions, without registering an FIR and informing the higher-ups, no raids can be conducted.

In his submission, the petitioner referred to the judgement by former High Court Judge Justice V Jagannathan who had held that without registering an FIR, there cannot be any investigation, arrest or seizure.

The Bench then took the Lokayukta police to task saying, “This is sheer illiteracy. How can the administration function if there is so much illiteracy. At least, the Lokayukta must train them. You must have a guidelines book. Don’t you know about the police manual. Even the Police Manual requires a lot of overhauling,” the court observed orally.

Terming the officer’s move to raid the sub-registrar as stupidity, the Bench said, “It is so stupid of the official. He should be suspended.”

The petitioner was trapped by the Lokayukta police while accepting a bribe. The jurisdictional Lokayukta court had ordered an investigation by remanding the petitioner in judicial custody. When he moved the High Court, Justice V Jagannathan ruled in his favour stating that the suo motu raid was not in accordance with law and allowed the petitioner to file a defamation case against the officers.

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