HEADLINES:
December 05 2019
7,324 officials will face action, DGP tells court
06 February 2019

They did not file final reports in cases

No one would have expected that the hearing of a civil appeal filed by a knitting company in the Madras High Court would lead to the unearthing of 2.14 lakh criminal cases in the State that were closed abruptly between 2009 and 2014 for non-filing of final reports by the police and another 1.72 lakh cases pending before trial courts without being taken on file.

After Justice M.V. Muralidaran smelt a rat and dug out the details, the Home Secretary and the Director-General of Police told the court on Tuesday that they had taken steps to initiate disciplinary action against the investigating officers concerned by issuing show cause notices to 7,324 officials, who failed to file final reports within the statutory period.

The court was also told that the DGP had issued a circular to all his subordinate officials on January 30 listing steps to be taken to streamline the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases from scratch to end.

Verdict reserved

After recording the submissions made by Public Prosecutor A. Natarajan, the judge reserved his verdict.

It was on December 18 that Justice Muralidaran stumbled upon a copy of a communication between the Inspector of the Uthukuli police station in Tirupur district and the jurisdictional judicial magistrate relating to 87 criminal cases pertaining to the police station alone having been closed between 2006 and 2014 for non-filing of final reports on time.

The communication was produced before the judge when he was hearing a civil appeal related to compensation awarded under the Workmen’s Compensation Act and wanted to know the status of a police complaint lodged by the victim’s brother regarding alleged wrong treatment after he suffered injuries at his workplace.

Shocked to learn that 87 cases pertaining to just one police station were closed due to non-filing of charge sheets on time, the judge called for reports from all criminal courts across the State. The judge found that 2,14,105 cases had been closed in Tamil Nadu, besides 796 cases in Puducherry, between 2009 and 2014 for want of charge sheets.

The reports submitted by the lower courts to the High Court’s Registrar General C. Kumarappan also revealed that the highest number of 28,573 cases had been closed in a short span of six years in Kancheepuram district. It was followed by 26,351 cases closed in Madurai; 13,836 in Chennai; 11,190 cases in Villupuram and 10,877 in Tiruchi.

Cumulative figures for the six years in other districts were less than 10,000 with Nagapattinam recording 9,761 cases, Vellore- 9,540 cases; Thoothukudi - 8,441; Salem- 8,355; Tiruvannamalai - 8, 295 and so on. The judge came down heavily on the police for allowing such closures.

In response, an affidavit was filed in the court on Tuesday on behalf of the Home Secretary as well as Director General of Police stating that instructions have been issued to all Commissioners of Police, Superintendents of Police and others to nominate an officer in the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police to monitor investigations and ensure filing of final reports.

Further stating that 1,72,602 cases were pending in various trial courts since 2010 without being taken on file, the two officials told the High Court that the problem could be solved if every court maintained a register for entering the dates on which final reports were filed, the dates when they were returned for rectifying defects and the date of refiling of the chargesheets.

 

 

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