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Karan Singh v. State Of U.P. & Others - CRIMINAL MISC. WRIT PETITION No. 5695 of 2006  RD-AH 6701 (12 April 2007)
(COURT NO. 44)
ORDERS ON THE ORDERSHEET
In re: In the matter of Public Representatives
(arising out of Crl. Misc. Writ Petition No. 5695 of 2006)
Hon'ble Imtiyaz Murtuza, J.
Hon'ble Amar Saran, J.
We have heard learned Government Advocate Sri V.S. Misra, learned AGA Sri A.K. Sand and Sri D.K. Singh, Joint Registrar (Inspection), High Court, Allahabad.
An affidavit dated 2.4.2007 of the SP, CBCID, has been filed on behalf of the Director General, CBCID, which mentions that in pursuance of the detailed order of this Court dated 31.8.2006, which, inter alia, directed that the investigations of the cases by the CBCID, be concluded expeditiously, out of 22 cases which were shown pending at the time of submission of the Government Advocate's chart, only in two cases the formalities of sanction etc. remain.
By another letter dated 2.3.2007, Sri Prakash Singh, retired DGP, was requested to submit the proposal of the expenditure of the Committee so that necessary finances may be provided to it after obtaining the necessary consent from the concerned department. In pursuance of the aforesaid letter, the State Government has received the proposal with regard to the expected expenditure of the Committee and the State Government has accorded sanction to the proposed budget to the Finance Department on 26.3.2007 and after necessary approval, the budget allocated shall be made available to the Committee. In pursuance of the order of this Court dated 1.2.2007, the errors as shown on the website has been amended. We are satisfied by these steps taken by the State Governmnt, and hope that the funds requested for shall be made available at the earliest for effective functioning of the committee and other allied purposes.
So far in one case at crime no. 295 of 1995, PS Colonelganj, Allahabad, charge-sheet has been submitted. In the other case at crime no. 19 of 1997, PS Bhelupur, Varanasi, the charge-sheet was submitted by the CBI and 6 accused persons, namely, Mukhtar Ansari, Jaswinder Singh and others were tried and acquitted by the court of 12th ADJ, Lukcnow, by judgment dated 27.6.2000 against which an appeal has been preferred before the Lucknow Bench of this Court, which is pending. So far as three absconders of that case were concerned, they were arrested on 28.5.2001 by the Delhi police and remand was obtained by the CBI on 17.6.2001 and a supplementary charge-sheet was filed against them and they were sentenced to 7 years' RI by the FTC Court No. 5, Lucknow, by judgment dated 28.2.2004.
Another affidavit of the Special Secretary, Home, Lucknow, U.P. dated 1.4.2007 has been filed which mentions that in pursuance of the earlier direction of this Court constituting the Committee headed by Sri Prakash Singh, retired DGP, Sri Sulkhan Singh, IPS, Sri Sanjai Bhusreddy I.A.S and the learned Government Advocate Sri V.S. Misra, to submit reports to this Court for checking criminalization of politics and other matters, and directing the State to fully cooperate with the Committee and to provide all the material documents and other reports and provide the expenses to the aforesaid Committee, a circular letter has been issued by the Home Secretary dated 1.3.2007 addressed to the DGP, DG (CBCID), ADG (Anti-corruption), DG (Prosecution), ADG (Economic Offences Wing), ADG (Security), ADG (Vigilance) directing them to provide all the necessary records and information to the aforesaid Committee.
We must applaud the commendable promptitude and energy with which the Committee constituted by us comprising Sri Prakash Singh and others has started functioning. The said Committee has already submitted four communications including one admirable report. It has also held wide consultations with various persons, NGOs, IAS and other officers.
In one of its communications, the Committee has sought implementation of the Supreme Court's order in Prakash Singh Vs. Union of India in the State of U.P. for insulating the police from extraneous influences and for giving it functional autonomy and ensuring its accountability, which was one of the points referred in our order constituting the Committee.
The Committee has also sought a list of the politicians against whom criminal cases were being registered and investigated. It may be mentioned that the said information is also contained in our various orders that have been passed in this writ petition from time to time and also in an affidavit filed by the State Government on the basis of which a comprehensive chart has been prepared by the learned A.G.A, and which have also been placed on the internet. We think that our orders in the case and the said affidavits and reports should be perused by all the members of the Committee so that they may be in a position to give effective suggestions to this Court as to how it can give good suggestions for checking criminalisation in politics, inter alia on the points mentioned in our orders.
A report dated 27.3.2007 has been filed which deals with the subject of reviewing existing Government Orders and norms for grant of gunners and security and for minimising the scope of discretionary grant of gunners and security at the level of functionaries at any level. We direct the Registry to place the copy of the said report in the case of Gayur Hasan Vs. State of U.P. and others : Crl. Writ Petition No. 5520 of 2006, pending in this Court, wherein this Court is engaged in monitoring the issue pertaining to grant of gunners for appropriate action on the recommendations.
The said Committee has also considered the importance of preparing a report for evolving criteria for withdrawal of prosecutions so that the criminal cases politically well connected persons (such as public representatives) are not withdrawn on arbitrary or discretionary bases by the authorities. We hope that the said report shall be prepared at an early date, to enable this Court to issue effective directions on this subject.
The committee has also decided to look into the matter of premature release of prisoners and laxity inside the jails in view of point No. 10 our order dated 15.1.2007 constituting the Committee whereby we had permitted the Committee to take up other issues which could facilitate the objective of the court to reduce criminalisation of the political process. We hope the committee will submit a report at any early date also in this regard.
We have also seen one of the two news reports which have appeared in the Times of India, Lucknow Edition, dated 2.4.2007 and the Times of India dated 11.4.2007 wherein it is mentioned that two NGOs of retired officials headed by former UP DIG Sri Ishwar Chand Dwivedi and Association for Democratic Refors (ADR) represented by Dr. Tilochan Shahstri, Professor of IIM, Bangalore, which have carefully examined the data on the website pertaining to the criminal records of the public representatives that were ordered to be placed there by us on the websites of the High Court and the State Government. The two associations have examined the affidavits and the correctness of the disclosures made by the public representatives. They have also gone into other questions such as the economic might of candidates contesting elections from different parties, how many of them are crorepatis, and whether inspite of this affluence several of the concerned candidates have PAN numbers or not. There investigations have thrown up some astounding and significant findings. We think it would be useful for the Committee constituted by us to seriously consult these NGOs (if they have not done so already) and to obtain the data that they may have collected and suggestions that the associations may give, as it appears that these NGOs share the conern of this Court to clean up the political space and to prevent criminalisation of politics and law-breakers from becoming law-makers. The said NGOs are also free to directly intervene in this writ petition and to bring their findings and conclusions directly before this Court, if they so chose.
We must also record our appreciation of a very comprehensive report submitted today by Sri D.K. Singh, JR (Inspection), High Court, containing updated information which has been received from the various district judges till 26.3.2007 in respect of the trials and investigations against the Members of Parliament, Members of Legislature, block pramukhs, Zila Parishad chairpersons. The efforts should be especially commended as the said comprehensive report has been prepared with inadequate resources as only a single computer and a single assistant have been provided to Sri D.K. Singh for his assistance. A perusal of the report shows that there are some significant discrepancies between the number of cases which were said to have been withdrawn by government, and which appear to have been minimised in the State Government's affidavit and the Government Advocate's counter affidavit prepared on the basis of the same compared to the reports received from the district judges.
Learned Government Advocate is now directed to examine the report and to update and correct the information regarding withdrawal of prosecutions mentioned in his chart. We also require further details as to the circumstances and the reasons for which the various cases have been withdrawn from the Government Advocate and the Registry on the next date of listing.
A perusal of the record further shows that in spite of our orders for expeditious conclusion of the trials and for expeditious conduct of investigations, the investigations and trials are still continuing to be held up for a long periods of time though a little progress has been made in the matter. Though in some cases the delays may have been justified as the Courts have acted in a proper pro-active spirit, and not allowed prosecutions to be closed, and readily accepted final reports which may have been submitted as a result of political influence of these functionaries on the police. We now direct the district judges and the DGP to ensure expeditious conclusions of the trials and investigations, and directions for re-investigation where erroneous final reports appear to have been submitted, or where extraneous pressures have been exercised for saving politically influential accused. In some cases non-bailable warrants have been issued but no further steps taken for initiating proceedings under sections 82 and 83 Cr.P.C. Where the accused public representatives are absconding or are not cooperating with the trials. Necessary orders may be issued in this regard by the courts concerned.
A number of cases are held up in different courts by means of criminal revisions or other proceedings or on the basis of orders passed by the High Court. We direct that the district judges, the Registry and the Government Advocate to prepare lists of such cases separately and take steps for expeditious disposal and vacation of stays where proceedings or investigations have been stayed.
In some cases, the information is extremely inadequate, for example, in the case of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The relevant column only mentions that in as many as 3 cases under section 302 IPC, the cases have been decided or disposed of but it appears that the district judge concerned has not clarified as to whether the cases have ended in acquittals or in convictions or under what circumstances the said cases were disposed of. We require the concerned district judges concerned to furnish better details where inadequate information has been furnished or where no information has been furnished, and to continue to submit periodical reports as directed earlier by this Court.
A perusal of the chart shows that a large number of cases have ended in acquittals, principally on the basis that the witnesses are not coming forward to support the prosecution version and are turning hostile. If there are any reason to suspect that the witnesses have been won over, as we have already directed in an earlier order that the courts concerned should take steps for ensuring that the witnesses are not under any pressure including by initiating proceedings for cancellation of bails, if necessary. This may be done as already empahsized in our order dated 31.8.2006 by taking of steps for cancellation of bails of accused persons, where it is apparent that witnesses are turning hostile due to political or other extraneous pressures, as has been recommended by the apex Court in Gurcharan Vs. State: AIR 1978 SC 179, Mahboob Dawood Shaikh Vs. State of Maharasthra:AIR 2004 SC 2890 and Panchanan Mishra Vs. Digambar Mishra: AIR 2005 SC 1299. It has become necessary to re-emphasise this direction because in many cases we find that the trial courts are recording acquittals on the ground that the witnesses have turned hostile without taking any step to prevent the witnesses from turning hostile owing to extraneous reasons. The possibilities of witnesses turning hostile are much greater in cases where the accused public representative are wanted in several grave cases including those under section 302 IPC.
We must again re-emphasise, as directed earlier, that the DGP should ensure that the investigating officers are directed to ensure that the witnesses turn up on the dates fixed for giving their evidences before the courts concerned.
In the cases where records have disappeared, efforts have to be made for reconstructions of the records and for re-examination of the witnesses, wherever possible, in accordance with the directions of the apex Court in State of U.P. Vs. Abhai Raj: 2004 SCC (Cri) 901, which we have already emphasised in our order dated 31.8.2006.
We also direct the Registry to place the report submitted by the JR (Listing), in Court today, on the website of the High Court. The State Government is also directed to place the said report on its website so that the general public and the concerned NGOs and other concerned persons may be aware of the statuses of the criminal trials against the public representatives and may be in a position to effectively intervene in the matter as well as to apprise this Court of the difficulties in the conduct of the trials and investigations of the various cases that are registered against the public representatives so that this Court could pass effective orders for monitoring the disposal of the trials and the investigations in the cases. Ultimately it is such vigilant citizens, groups and media which can only strengthen the hands of this Court to proceed against criminal elements who have polluted and vitiated our politica arena
List this case for further orders on 16.5.2007, when the further status reports from the Government Advocate, the Registry and the High-Power Committee and district judges regarding the progress of trials and investigations and other relevant matters shall be placed before this Court and compliance with the present and earlier orders shall be reported.
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