Jharkhand HC chastises police for not making victim witness in POCSO case

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Ranchi, Jun 26 (PTI) Wondering if the police are siding with the accused in the rape case of a minor girl, the High Court of Jharkhand has severely reprimanded the police authorities for not presenting the victim before the trial court for testimony despite its repeated orders.

The bench of Justice Anand Sen also directed the director general of police (DGP) to personally submit an affidavit within four weeks stating as to why contempt of court proceedings will not be initiated against four officials including the investigating officer and the DIG, Dumka, for violating the orders of the trial court.

The bench passed the order on Friday while hearing the bail application of the accused in the rape case of a 13- year-old girl registered in Mirzachouki police station of Sahibganj district in 2018. The accused was charged under several sections of the IPC and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the victim has not been examined in this case nor is she a charge sheet witness.

He also informed the court that in spite of several letters written to the superintendent of police of Sahibganj and the deputy inspector general, Dumka, the victim has not been produced and the petitioner is languishing in custody for more than three years.

'Is the police authority taking side of the accused persons by not bringing the victim in the witness box, prima- facie this Court feels so. Prima-facie the act of the Investigating Officer, Supervising Officer, Superintendent of Police, Sahibganj and the DIG, Dumka cannot be said to be bonafide,' the bench said in the order.

Since November 2019, the trial court is writing letters to the Sahibganj SP, the Dumka DIG and also to the state DGP to produce the victim as court witness, but those letters have yielded no response, the order said.

'When the court directed to produce the victim, these officers shut their ears and did not even respond to the directions of the court. The letter of a court is not merely a letter. It is a direction upon the authority to do what has been mentioned in the said letter.

'By not doing so and by not responding to those directions, prima-facie, this Court feels that the officers have committed contempt of court,' the bench said.

The high court directed the DGP to inform it by filing a personal affidavit as to why the victim was not made a charge sheet witness and who is responsible for it.

The top police officer of the state was also asked to state what steps have been taken against those persons because of whose laches the victim has not been shown as a charge sheet witness.

The court also directed the DGP to inform it 'why not a contempt proceeding be initiated against the Investigating Officer, Officer-in-charge Mirzachouki P.S., Sahibganj, the Superintendent of Police, Sahebganj and DIG, Dumka for willfully and deliberately violating the orders of the court wherein the trial court had directed them to produce the victim as a witness.' The bench directed that a copy of this order be forwarded to the secretary, the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The matter will be heard again after four weeks. PTI COR NAM NN NN

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