HC slams police, gives guidelines to check harassment

The Madras High Court has issued guidelines to check harassment by police during investigation, saying it would not turn a blind eye to such conduct.
Inquiry into an offence is an unfettered power of the investigation officer, only so long as such powers are legitimately exercised within the frame work of CrPC. Courts would not turn a blind eye to instances of harassment by police under the guise of investigation, Madras high court has said.
Justice MS Ramesh of the Madras High Court has emphasised that the powers of investigating officers should not be abused so as to become harassment under the guise of investigation.
A petition had been filed before the High Court, invoking its inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The petitioners had prayed that the Court intervene to restrain the police from harassing them during the course of investigation in a case.
Hearing a plea by A N Lalman Lal and four others alleging police harassment under the guise of inquiry, the judge said normally the court would not interfere with the probe by a police officer by exercising its inherent powers under CrPC.
Nevertheless, when brought to its notice, it would also not turn a blind eye to instances of harassment by police under the guise of investigation, Justice Ramesh said.
“Though the CrPC empowers magistrate to be a guardian in all the stages of the police investigation, there is no power envisaging him to interfere with the actual investigation or the mode of investigation. It is in this background that numerous petitions complaining of harassment are being reported and filed before this court seeking for directions to refrain the police officials from harassing the persons named in a complaint. This court, exercising its power under section 482 of the CrPC normally would not interfere with the investigation conducted by a police officer. Nevertheless, it would also not turn a blind eye to instances of harassment by the police under the guise of investigation is brought to its notice,” Justice Ramesh said.