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Human Rights last consideration for Investigating Officers
Brijesh alias Puchchi Thru Mother Rajkumari Vs State Of UP Thru Prin Secy Home Lko and Ors
Allahabad HC, Lucknow Bench
MISC. BENCH No. 29706 of 2018
About/from the judgment:
The High Court has hauled up police authorities for its callousness in arresting a person of unsound mind, in violation of Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
On being informed of the continued incarceration of the arrested person, despite a medical board attesting to his being of unsound mind, the Bench of Justices Ajai Lamba and Rajeev Singh noted,
“We are pained at recording that human rights are the last consideration for the Investigating officers.“
After the police arrested the man on charges for attempting to kidnap a child, the man’s mother moved a petition before the Court protesting the criminal action initiated against him, in view of the fact that he was of unsound mind.
This prompted the Court to direct, in November last year, that the mental condition of the arrested man be reviewed in terms of the Mental Health Act, 2017. An expert panel later verified that the arrestee was actually of unsound mind. The panel concluded that he was suffering from a severe disabling condition which is untreatable and needed continuous care and support for carrying out day to day activities. The Court observed,
“The report furnished by the Board of Doctors indicates that all that the petitioner keeps saying is ‘Mummy ke paas jana hai’. The petitioner is not able to perform his day to day activities.“
Therefore, he was liable to be exempted from any criminal penalty as per Section 84 of the IPC. However, even in December last year, when the case was taken up next, the arrestee continued to be imprisoned. The Court lamented,
“…the investigating agency is not sensitive even to the mental state of a citizen who might have been accused of committing an offence. Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code as extracted in the above extracted order mandates that nothing is an offence which has been done by a person who at the time of doing it by reason of unsoundness of mind is incapable of knowing the nature of the act. Despite such statutory and legal position the petitioner appears to have been confined in jail.“
“The conduct of the prosecuting agency is clearly in violation of the human rights”, the Bench went on to remark.
The Court, therefore, directed the concerned Superintendent of Police to take appropriate measures to address the same before the next hearing.
However, when the case came up before the Court again last Friday, the Court was informed that the arrestee was still under incarceration. Castigating the policemen who arrested the person in the first place without even having conducted his medical evaluation, the Court said,
“Surely such mental and physical condition of the petitioner was obvious at the time when the Investigating Officer thought it prudent to arrest the petitioner. The petitioner would also have been produced before the Magistrate/Special Court. The facts and circumstances clearly warranted the Investigating Officer and the Court to ensure that the petitioner is subjected to medical examination. If the needful had been done, the Investigating Agency and the Court would have been sensitized about the medical condition of the petitioner and right of the petitioner under Section 84 I.P.C. (supra) would have been respected…
…we are in no doubt that the Investigating Officer has failed in performance of his duties and has not cared for the rights of the petitioner.”
Therefore, while directing the immediate release of the arrestee, the Court also imposed Rs. 25, 000 as costs on the Superintendent of Police. If the directions issued are not complied with before the next hearing, the Court informed that it would impose further costs of Rs. 20, 000 on the police officer. The case has been posted to be taken up next on January 21.
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