Acquittals double in years

The number of persons acquitted in various crimes in the state has more than doubled in the last five years. Resultantly, the number of acquittals has jumped from about 12,500 in 2015 to 27,500 last year.

After the Karnataka High Court sought a detailed report on the rising acquittals last month, the director of Prosecution department has written to the government, seeking urgent redressal of several prevailing issues, as per the Supreme Court order of 2014.

Since 1971, IOs in Karnataka had been mandatorily consulting prosecution officers, which helped build charge sheets and in turn, boosted the prosecutions. This changed in 2007, after the Supreme Court directed the IOs to file charge sheets without approval of the prosecution department. As the rate of acquittals rose, the number of IOs suspended for their failure also doubled.

In 2011, then Home Secretary Raghavendra Auradkar had suggested that the government make an amendment to this procedure.

The government issued an order on June 13, 2011, instructing the IOs to take approval for the charge sheet. But police officers still cite the 2007 order, to skip the process of consulting the prosecution.

In a letter, the prosecution department director has appealed to the government to follow the January 2014 Supreme Court order, which had stated that after completion of the investigation in a criminal case, the prosecuting agency should apply its independent mind.

The Additional Chief Secretary, Home department, has been requested to bring back the consultation process to rectify shortcomings in the charge sheet.

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