A court in Delhi, disappointed over the police authorities due to the delays in the filing of charge sheets, ordered to sought the status of filing of all charge sheets in the last 3 years (2018 to 2020) from the concerned Investigating Officer (IO). The delay was seen even after the ACPs of the case completed the investigation and had forwarded the same to the IO.
The Court stated,
“Non filing of charge sheets despite being forwarded by a senior officer amounts to undermining the hierarchy and discipline of service”
The case at hand pertained to an incident of rash driving and negligence, accused being Ravi Yadav who smashed his motorbike causing injuries to Maurya. The incident took place in 2017 on Modi Mill Flyover however, the charge sheet was not submitted by the Investigating Officer till January of 2021 despite the ACP on the case clearing the file in 2017 itself. This immense delay led the Court to a very large concern in the working of the system of justice and led to the court highly criticizing the workings of the police. The bench said,
“IOs need to understand and know that investigation of all 'summons cases' generally needs to be concluded within 06 months from the date on which accused was arrested, and failure may result in an order by concerned Magistrate stopping further investigation into the offence… It is incumbent upon worthy DCP concerned that this provision is reminded to IOs.”
The court observed that most IO’s were unaware of the provision in law that states that the completion of investigation must happened within six months, thus continuing to extend investigating beyond the six months. The Court with reference to the Supreme Court order of 23.03.2020 in ‘Cognizance for extension of limitation, Suo Motu Writ Petition(Civil) No. 3/2020’ which dealt with the time period of filing of chargesheets , said,
“IOs even fail to file application for condonation of delay owing to their want of knowledge of these provisions. While a right of hearing accrues in favour of accused because of such negligence of IO (even before cognizance of offence is taken by Court), it also delays dispensation of justice leading to further victimisation of complainant/victim. The concerned worthy DCP and ACP concerned must take it upon themselves to ensure training of IOs on this aspect.”
The Court also commented with great concern that this late filing of chargesheets even though investigation on the same is complete, “shakes the confidence of an ordinary citizen in the justice delivery system” and that it was the negligence on part of the IO’s for not doing their duty on time. On directing the ACPs to ensure the filing of all chargesheets by submitting them to the Court, the Court says, “It may further result in accused fleeing away from justice and witness(es) disappearing or loosing interest in the case. It creates an overall disappointing scenario for all the stakeholders. It is felt that a time period for filing forwarded chargesheets be fixed and IOs be asked to strictly comply with the same. Such time should not be more than 30 days from the date of forwarding of chargesheet by ACP concerned.” The ACPs were ordered to prepare a list of all chargesheets forwarded in the past 3 years.