Cri. Writ Petn. No. 67 of 1994. Case: Yeshwant s/o Natthuji Meshram Vs State of Maharashtra. Bombay High Court

Case Number:Cri. Writ Petn. No. 67 of 1994
Party Name:Yeshwant s/o Natthuji Meshram Vs State of Maharashtra
Counsel:For Petitioner: R. N. Patil, Advs. and For Respondents: S. A. Bobde, (for Nos. 1 and 3), M. G. Bhangde with V. V. Bhangde (for No. 2), S. G. Aney, Advs.
Judges:M. B. Ghodeswar , J. and R. M. Lodha, J.
Issue:Constitution of India - Articles 22, 226, 142, 173; Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (25 of 1946) - Sections 3, 6
Citation:1995 CriLJ 2228
Judgement Date:August 08, 1994
Court:Bombay High Court


R. M. Lodha, J.

  1. In the cover of the public interest litigation filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the petitioner has sought di rections for entrusting the investigation in Crime No. 97/94 registered at Jaripatka Police Station, Nagpur relating to rape and murder of maid servant Manorama Kamble to the Central Bureau of Inves tigation (for short, 'C.B.I.').

  2. According to the averments made in the writ application, the petitioner is a Corporator of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation and he claims to be a social worker and belongs to scheduled caste community being Mahar by caste and is fighting for the cause of people as their representative. The writ petition is entirely based on the newspaper reports. The petitioner has alleged in the writ petition that the investigating agency is not proceedings with the investigation in the right earnest and in an impartial manner, because of involvement of some VIPs in cluding the members belong to the judiciary and they are influencing the investigation being close to Advocate Dewani family at those place the incident occurred. According to allegations in the writ peti tion, some wet party was arranged at the residence of Advocate a Dewani on 27th March 1994 and the incident of rape and murder was sequel to that party. Basing his knowledge on the information received from the newspaper reports, the petitioner has also alleged that to suppress the crime, on 28-3-1994, the Dewanis showed the death of their maid servant Mrs. Manorama Kamble due to electric shock and police registered the case of accidental death only. The post-mortem was conducted on the dead body of Mrs. Manorama Kamble on 29-3-1994 and it transpired that her death was not accidental but a culpable homicide amounting to murder and that prior to her murder, she was raped. After post mortem report, the case of rape and murder was registered bearing Crime No. 97/94.

    The petitioner has alleged that the members of the Dewani family obtained the order of ad interim anticipatory bail from the Sessions Judge, Nagpur on 30-3-1994 at 10.45 p.m. despite the fact that the crime was also covered under Section 3 of the Prevention of Atrocities Act to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and that gave the accused persons an opportunity to tamper with the evidence and it was only that on 2-4-1994 the anticipatory bail application filed by the members of Dewani family was dismissed. The petitioner has alleged that the Police authorities of Jaripatka Police Station were hand-in-gloves with the accused persons and only because of pressure from the social workers and various organisations, the investigation was trans ferred to the State Crime Investigation Department (for short, "C.I.D.") on 3-4-1994. The petitioner has submitted that the incident was of ghastly gang rape and murder and the image of judiciary has been tarnished by publication of the news items in the newspapers alleging involvement of persons from judiciary and, therefore, it was in the public interest that the investigation or the aforesaid Crime No. 97/94 involving rape and murder of maid servant should be transferred to C.B.I. as that would give solace to the sentiments of the people at large.

  3. Rule was issued on 29-4-1994 made return able on 6-6-1994. The Assistant Government Pleader accepted notice for the respondents 1 and 3 and Mr. M. G. Bhangde, Advocate accepted notice for re spondent No. 2. The State Government was ordered to file reply by 6-5-1994. However, the State Govt. filed its reply on 13-5-1994. The State Government as well as the Director General Police in their Return submitted that the writ petition contained several unverified, inaccurate and misleading statements and the allegations made by the petitioner are with out proper verification. According to the Return of the respondents 1 and 3, the investigation conducted till filing of return did not substantiate the allega tions made by the petitioner relating to involvement of VIPs and members from judiciary. As regards the wet party of which reference has been made by the petitioner on the basis of the newspaper reports, the respondents 1 and 3 submitted that this aspect of the matter has been investigated and not found to be true in the course of investigation by that time. The Return of the respondents 1 and 3 disclose that the doctor conducting the post-mortem found that Manorama's death took place within 24 hours prior to the post-mortem and thus, the evidence was to the effect that offences of rape and murder of Manorama Kamble were committed on 28-3-1994. The investigating authorities i.e. the State C.I.D. who were especially entrusted with investigation into the matter have succeeded in collecting substantial evi dence. It was submitted that sample of semen on the private parts of Manorama Kamble and hair have been collected and all such material had been sent to the Chemical Analyser and reports thereon have been received. They emphatically denied that any slide of semen or any other slide pertaining to the investigation of the present case has been destroyed. The State Government took a serious view of the alleged inaction of the concerned police officers on duty at Jaripatka Police Station and also superior police officers and the respondent No. 3 Director General of Police transferred the Additional Com missioner of Police Shri R. P. Khilani and suspended B. M. Sakharkar, Police Inspector of Police Station, Jaripatka or the delay in registering the offence promptly and the delay in investigation. Similarly, Shri D. B. Gotmare, Police Sub-Inspector of Police Station, Jaripatka has been ordered to be suspended. The respondents 1 and 3 submitted that in fact investigation was transferred to the C.I.D. only at the instance of public and the investigation is being carried in a fair and impartial manner. The respon dents 1 and 3 denied the allegation that the accused persons were given very good treatment by the police while in the custody and were given break-fast and rich food on the recommendation of a Star Hotel owner and Builder. On the other hand, the respondents 1 and 2 submitted that various members of Dewani family have been kept in differ ent cells and the other family members are prevented from meeting them. It has been stated in Return that the investigation officer has not collected any other independent material from which it could be con cluded that the persons from judiciary or police department attended wet party on 27-3-1994. How ever, in order to investigate into the truth or other wise of the contents of the said news items, proper summons under Section 161, Cr. P.C., has been issued in the name of the journalist who has written the news items, but now the journalist is avoiding to answer the summons on one pretext or the other. It has been emphasised in the Return that in fact, the Investigating Officer has on all occasions made available case diary to the competent Court and is pursuing investigation diligently and the investigation is being regularly reviewed by a superior officer and is found to he on right track. The respondents 1 and 3 have shown their anxiety that the investigation should be brought to conclusion without any delay or hindrance. According to them, since the investi gation is being made in fair, impartial and efficient manner and is about to the completed, transfer of investigation at this stage would not be in the interest of justice and accused persons may take benefit of non-filing of the charge-sheet within time. In specific pleadings, the respondents 1 and 3 have sub mitted that every effort is being made by the Inves tigating Officer i.e. Dy. S. P., State C.I.D. Shri S. D. Godbole and his team of officers is following up all information being received by them in regard to the said offences and are also enquiring into the truth or otherwise of the news items also appearing in the newspapers. The respondents have also stated that the State Government has not accorded its consent under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Estab lishment Act, 1946 (for short, 'the DSPE Act') and without such consent it would not be legal and proper to direct handing over of the present investi gation to CBI.

  4. Though the respondent No. 2 has not filed any counter para-wise to the writ petition, yet in its short reply, the respondent No. 2 has submitted that it cannot suo motu entrust to the C.B.I. investigation of an offence which had taken place in the State unless the State Government proposed and gave consent under Section 6 of the DSPE Act for extension of jurisdiction to the C.B.I. in respect of that offence and since the respondent No. 2 has not received any request from the State Government of Maharashtra where the offence has occurred for investigation of this case by C.B.I. nor the State Government of Maharashtra has accorded its consent for extension of jurisdiction of the C.B.I. for investigation of this case, the relief against the respondent No. 2 was premature and if is only after the State Government of Maharashtra accords the consent, feasibility of entrusting the case to C.B.I. would he examined considering the stage of investigation, availability of resource/man-power etc.

  5. The petitioner as a public spirited person and social activities having filed the present writ petition in the cover of the public interest litigation was expected to act with the sense of responsibility find take due care, diligence and caution to verify the allegations made in the wait petition before making...

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