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Thursday, September 26, 2013

monitor the investigation= whether this Court should continue to monitor the investigation, as directed earlier, even after filing of the charge- sheet. = monitoring of a case is continued till the investigation continues but when the investigating agency, which is appointed by the court, completes the investigation, files a charge-sheet and takes steps in the matter in accordance with the provisions of law before a competent court of law, it would not be proper for this Court to keep on monitoring the trial which is continuing before a competent court. Accordingly, we are of the opinion that since the investigation has already been completed, charge- sheet has been filed, trial has already commenced, it is not necessary for this Court to continue with the monitoring of the case in question. In these circumstances, we have to answer the question in the negative. Accordingly, we direct that it is not necessary to monitor the matter in question any further since the matter is in the domain of the competent court. All the applications are accordingly disposed of.

published in

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA




Sushila Devi                                                  … Petitioner


State of  Rajasthan & Ors.                               … Respondents

                               J U D G M E N T

Pinaki Chandra Ghose, J.

1. These applications have been filed by the parties praying for  monitoring
   of the matter in question, on one hand and the other  parties  seek  that
   since the charge-sheet has already been filed, it  is  not  necessary  to
   continue with the monitoring of the matter in question which  is  pending
   before the Criminal Court for adjudication

2. Therefore, the sole question as it appears to be germane  at  this  stage
   in the matter is: whether this  Court  should  continue  to  monitor  the
   investigation, as directed earlier, even  after  filing  of  the  charge-

3. The facts of the case briefly are as follows:

   a) In January, 2006, the Rajasthan Police came up with a  list  of  most-
      wanted criminals of Rajasthan which included the name of  Dara  Singh,
      the deceased husband of  the  petitioner  in  Special  Leave  Petition
      (Criminal) No.3212/2008. An award of Rs.25,000/- was declared  on  his
      head and on October 23, 2006 , it appears that he  was  killed  in  an
      encounter as would be evidenced from the subsequent FIR  No.  396/2006
      dated October 23, 2006 registered  on  the  complaint  of  Mr.  Rajesh
      Chaudhary, a member of the Special Operation Group (SOG).

   b) In the FIR  it  was  alleged  that  the  deceased  was  equipped  with
      sophisticated weapons and was killed in  an  encounter  with  the  SOG
      after a gun-battle. In these circumstances, subsequently, Smt. Sushila
      Devi filed a complaint before the Judicial  Magistrate  under  Section
      190 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (hereinafter’ the Code’) seeking
      directions under Section 156(3) of the Code for registration of an FIR
      against the member of the SOG and alleged that Dara Singh  was  killed
      by the SOG. The Judicial Magistrate by an order dated April  2,  2007,
      issues directions for investigation. These directions were in conflict
      with      the      investigation      under      FIR      No.396/2006.

   c) Thereafter, Smt. Sushila Devi, widow of  Late  Dara  Singh,  filed  an
      application being Criminal Miscellaneous Petition No. 1015/2007 before
      the High Court of Rajasthan against the order passed  by  the  learned
      Magistrate dated  May  28,  2007,  dismissing  the  application  under
      Sections 157(1) and 210 of the Code recording that the  encounter,  as
      alleged by Sushila Devi, is  the  subject-matter  of  FIR  No.396/2006
      which is under the process of an investigation.

   d) On August 2, 2007, the High Court issued notices  to  the  respondents
      and by an order dated October 1,  2007,  which  is  impugned  in  this
      petition, the High Court was pleased to recall its order dated  August
      2, 2007.

   e) In the said Special Leave Petition (No.3212/2008), an  allegation  has
      been made by Sushila Devi that her husband  was  killed  in  the  said
      encounter by the Police officials of Special Operation  Group,  Jaipur
      on October 23, 2006 and, hence, prayed for a direction to  initiate  a
      CBI inquiry in the matter. The State of Rajasthan filed  an  affidavit
      and submitted that the Government had decided to refer the  matter  to
      the Central Bureau of Investigation  (CBI)  vide  their  letter  dated
      March 3, 2009. In these circumstances, the matter came up/disposed  of
      by this Court on April 8, 2009.

   f)  Thereafter,  Smt.  Sushila  Devi  filed   Criminal   Misc.   Petition
      No.13244/2009 along with Criminal Misc. Petition  No.13246/2009.  This
      Court disposed of the said petitions on the ground that since the  CBI
      has been directed to hold an investigation in respect  of  an  offence
      alleged, no  order  need  be  passed  on  the  said  petitions.  After
      complying with the orders of  this  Court,  the  CBI  registered  Case
      No.RC.2(S)/2010-SCU.V/SC-II/CBI/New Delhi on April 23, 2010  and  took
      up investigation.

   g) During the  investigation,  another  Criminal  Miscellaneous  Petition
      No.21811 of 2010 was filed in this Court by  the  petitioner,  praying
      for monitoring of investigation of the case and to direct the  CBI  to
      place the findings of investigation before this Court ahead of  filing
      the same in competent court at Jaipur. This Court vide its order dated
      January 1, 2011 issued the following directions in the matter :

           “Heard learned counsel for the parties.

           It is deeply disappointing that the CBI has  not  yet  completed
           the investigation despite the order  of  this  Court  dated  9th
           April, 2010. On the request of the learned counsel for  CBI,  we
           grant two months’ further time to  complete  the  investigation,
           failing which a serious view will be taken by this  Court  about
           the functioning of the CBI.

           List on 8th March, 2011.”

   h) From time to time, the matter  appeared  before  this  Court  and  two
      months’  time  was  granted  on  March  8,  2011   to   complete   the
      investigation by the CBI. The State of Rajasthan was directed  to  co-
      operate with them. The CBI proceeded with the  matter.  In  course  of
      investigation, four of the accused persons were arrested on March  11,
      2011 and remanded in Police custody till March  17,  2011.  Subsequent
      thereto, two accused persons were arrested on May 15, 2011 and May 26,

   i) The CBI on completion of  their  investigation  filed  a  charge-sheet
      before the competent court on June 3, 2011, against 16 accused persons
      including the persons who were  absconding  at  that  point  of  time,
      namely, Arvind Kumar Jain, Arshad Ali, Rajesh Chaudhary, Zulfikar Ali,
      Arvind Bhardwaj and Vijay Kumar Chaudhary. Investigation under section
      173(8) of the  Code  was  pending  against  one  of  the  prima  facie
      suspects, Mr. Rajendra  Rathore,  who  was  then  a  Minister  in  the
      Government of Rajasthan.

   j) In the meanwhile, one of the  accused  Satyanarayan  Godara  filed  an
      application for impleadment in the matter which was  granted  by  this
      Court on July 18, 2011. On August 25, 2011 charges against 10  accused
      persons, who were in jail custody,  were  framed  by  the  District  &
      Sessions  Judge,  Jaipur.  This  Court  on  October  31,  2011  issued
      directions to the six accused to surrender before the trial court,  in
      order to be eligible for legal remedy. Inspite of the same,  only  one
      of the accused being  Arshad  Ali  surrendered  before  the  Court  on
      November 11, 2011.

   k) Complying with the various orders of this Court from time to time, the
      CBI duly filed status report/s before this Court and on  December  16,
      2011, this Court directed that monitoring of the  case  will  continue
      and further directed the CBI to file a status report  by  the  end  of
      January, 2011. Steps were also taken by the CBI as  would  be  evident
      from the status reports filed before this Court.

   l) In an attempt to arrest the  remaining  five  fugitive  accused,  cash
      rewards of Rs.10 lakhs on A.K. Jain and  Rs.5  lakhs  on  others  were
      declared by the CBI to motivate the general public to give information
      leading to the arrest of the said accused persons at large. After  the
      rewards were announced, A.K. Jain  surrendered  before  the  court  on
      February 27, 2012 and he remained in police  custody  till  March  10,
      2012. Efforts to arrest the remaining absconding accused continued.

   m) After completion of further investigation pending under section 173(8)
      of the Code, the CBI filed a supplementary charge-sheet under  Section
      120B read with Sections 302, 364, 346, 201, 218 and  193  of  the  IPC
      against Rajendra Rathore before the  court  on  April  5,  .2012.  The
      C.J.M., Jaipur, took cognizance of the  offence  against  the  accused
      Rajendra Rathore and committed the case  to  the  Court  of  Sessions,
      Jaipur, Rajasthan.  On  May  31,  2012,  the  Sessions  Judge,  Jaipur
      discharged the accused Rajendra Rathore from all allegations  levelled
      against him. The CBI filed a revision petition before the  High  Court
      which was allowed on December 26, 2012 setting aside the order  passed
      by the learned Sessions Judge, Jaipur. Rajendra Rathore  was  directed
      to surrender before the High Court and a charge  was  directed  to  be
      framed against him.

   n) In the meanwhile, the accused A.K. Jain was committed to the Court  of
      Sessions by the A.C.J.M. Jaipur and the Sessions Court on May 1,  2012
      framed charges against him  under  the  same  provisions  under  which
      Rajendra Rathore was charge-sheeted and the trial remains pending. Two
      other  absconding  accused,  namely,   Rajesh  Choudhary  and   Arvind
      Bhardwaj were committed to the Court of Sessions on  August  13,  2012
      and charged were framed against them on September 6, 2012.

   o) Furthermore, on June 30, 2012, the CBI moved the court at  Jaipur  for
      registration of an  FIR  under  section  174A  IPC  against  the  four
      absconding accused persons. It was further  stated  that  one  of  the
      absconding  accused  Vijay  Kumar  Chaudhary  was  found  murdered  on
      November 15, 2012 in the area of Police  Station  Ratangarh,  District
      Churu, Rajasthan. It is further stated that an  important  witness  in
      the case, i.e., Mr. Vijay Shankar Singh, Additional  Chief  Secretary,
      the then Home Secretary,  Government  of  Rajasthan  died  in  a  road
      accident on December 3, 2012 at Jaipur.

4.    Mr. H.P. Raval, learned Additional Solicitor  General  submitted  that
   in the facts and circumstances of this case, it  is  necessary  for  this
   Court to monitor the whole case which is pending before  the  Court.  Mr.
   Raval further submitted that if the investigation of the CBI and  further
   monitoring of the case pending before the court is done, it would  ensure
   that the trial  is  conducted  fairly.  Mr.  Raval  also  submitted  that
   considering the peculiar nature  and  the  facts  of  this  case,  it  is
   necessary for the Court to monitor this case. He  also  relied  upon  the
   following judgments of this Court : National Human Rights Commission  vs.
   State of Gujarat & Ors. [2009 (6) SCC 767], Centre  for  Public  Interest
   Litigation & Ors. vs. Union of India & Ors. [2012 (3) SCC 104] and  Jakia
   Nasim Ahesan v. State of Gujarat [2011 (12) SCC 302].

5. Mr. R.P. Bhatt, learned senior counsel appearing for Smt.  Sushila  Devi,
   adopted the arguments of  Mr. Raval.

6. Dr. Manish Singhvi, learned  Additional  Advocate  General  appearing  on
   behalf of the State of Rajasthan, supports the contention of  Mr.  Raval,
   learned A.S.G. Dr. Singhvi further pointed out that if the court monitors
   the case, the matter will be properly dealt with at every stage.

7.    Per contra, Mr. P.S. Patwalia, learned  senior  counsel  appearing  in
Criminal Misc. Petition No.17950/2011 and  on  behalf  of  one  Satyanarayan
Godara submitted that once a charge-sheet is  filed,  which  is  not  denied
before this  Court,  before  a  competent  court  after  completion  of  the
investigation, the process of such  monitoring  comes  to  an  end.  In  the
instant case, according to him, the CBI has already stated  that  they  have
completed the investigation and filed a charge-sheet  before  the  competent
court. So, there is no need to monitor  the  matter  which  is  now  pending
before the court and the competent court of law would deal with  the  matter
relating to the trial of the  accused  including  the  matters  filed  under
Section 173(8) of the Code. He further contended that after  filing  of  the
charge-sheet the matter should be left to the  court  which  should  proceed
with the trial in accordance with  the  provisions  of  law.   Mr.  Patwalia
further contended that the investigation in the case was over  on  April  5,
2012. Undisputedly, a supplementary charge-sheet has been filed.  It  cannot
be disputed that no investigation is pending in the matter. Trial  has  been
going on and as many as  15  witnesses  have  been  examined  so  far.   The
application which is pending consideration  of  this  Court  is  Crl.  Misc.
Petition No.21811 of 2010 wherein the complainant  has  made  a  prayer  for
monitoring. He contended that the said application  has  become  infructuous
because monitoring of the case comes to an end as soon as the  investigation
is over. In support of  his  contention,  he  strongly  relied  upon  Vineet
Narain v. Union of India [1998 (1) SCC 226], Union of India v. Sushil  Kumar
Modi [1998 (8) SCC 661], Rajiv Lalan Singh “Lalan” (8)  v.  Union  of  India
[2006 (6) SCC 613], M.C. Mehta (Taj Corridor Scam) v. Union of  India  [2007
(1) SCC 110] and Jakia Nasim Ahesan v.  State  of  Gujarat  [2011  (12)  SCC
302], and drew our attention  specifically  where  the  Court  came  to  the
conclusion that after the  investigation  is  over,  there  is  no  need  to
monitor the case.

8.    Mr. Ranjit Kumar,  learned  senior  counsel,  also  appeared  in  this
matter and contended that after the  completion  of  the  investigation  and
filing of the charge- sheet, nothing remains to be monitored by  this  Court
since the matter is being proceeded before the trial court. He  also  relied
upon the decisions cited before this Court by  Mr.  Patwalia  and  contended
that the trial court should deal with the  matter  in  accordance  with  the
provisions of law.

9. We have heard learned counsel for the parties at  length.  We  have  also
   perused the facts of this case. We have noticed in Vineet  Narain’s  case
   (supra) also known as the “Hawala Case” wherein a Bench of three  learned
   Judges heard the various PILs regarding the investigations of the  Hawala
   Scam run by the Jain Brothers implicating various politicians. This Court
    while deciding the procedure of investigation under  the  monitoring  of
   the CBI, observed that:

      “8.    We  would  do  what  we  permissibly  could  to  see  that  the
      investigations progressed while yet ensuring that we did not direct or
      channel those investigations or in  any  other  manner  prejudice  the
      right of those who might be accused to a full and fair trial. We  made
      it clear that the task of the monitoring court would end the moment  a
      charge sheet was filed in respect of a  particular  investigation  and
      that the ordinary processes of the law would then  take  over.  Having
      regard to the direction in which the investigations were  leading,  we
      found it necessary to direct the CBI not to report the progress of the
      investigations to the person  occupying  the  highest  office  in  the
      political executive; this was done to eliminate any impression of bias
      or lack of fairness or objectivity and to maintain the credibility  of
      the investigations. In short, the procedure adopted was of ‘continuing

10. In Union of India vs. Sushil Kumar Modi (supra)  which  dealt  with  the
   investigation in the fodder scam,  a  three-Judge  Bench  of  this  Court
   observed thus :

      “6.   … It was made clear by this Court in the very first case, namely
      Vineet Narain & Ors. vs. Union of India (W.P.  (Crl.)  Nos.340-343  of
      1993), that once a charge-sheet is filed in the competent court  after
      completion of the investigation, the process  of  monitoring  by  this
      Court  for  the  purpose  of  making  the  CBI  and  other   concerned
      investigative agencies perform their function  of  investigating  into
      the offences concerned comes to an end and thereafter it is  only  the
      court in which the charge-sheet is filed which is  to  deal  with  all
      matters relating to  the  trial  of  the  accused,  including  matters
      falling within the scope of Section 173(8) of the CrPC. We  make  this
      observation only to reiterate this clear position in law  so  that  no
      doubts in any quarter may survive. It is, therefore,  clear  that  the
      impugned order of the High Court dealing primarily  with  this  aspect
      cannot be sustained.”

11. In M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India (supra)  famously  known  as  the  “Taj
   Corridor Case”, two learned Judges of the three-Judge Bench  wherein  the
   third Judge gave a  separate  but  concurring  judgment,  observed  after
   referring to the judgment of this Court in Union of India v. Sushil Kumar
   Modi (supra) which  upheld  the  Vineet  Narain  Case  (supra)  that  the
   monitoring of the investigation by this  Court  is  only  to  ensure  the
   proper and honest performance of its duty by the investigating agency and
   not with the merits of the accusations in investigations, which are to be
   determined at the trial as per the ordinary procedure prescribed by law.

12. In the case of Jakia Nasim Ahesan (supra) where the wife of a victim  of
   the 2002 Gujarat riots sought additional investigation on  the  basis  of
   additional material coming to light against the persons in power who were
   accused in the same, a three-Judge Bench of this Court, while  coming  to
   the conclusion that monitoring in the present case must come to  an  end,
   deferentially concurred with the aforementioned cases and observed thus :

      “9.   We are of the opinion that bearing in mind the scheme of Chapter
      XII of the  Code,  once  the  investigation  has  been  conducted  and
      completed by SIT, in terms of the orders passed  by  this  Court  from
      time to time, there is no course available in law, save and except  to
      forward the final report under Section 173(2) of the Code to the court
      empowered to take cognizance of the offence alleged. As observed by  a
      three-Judge Bench of this Court in M.C. Mehta (Taj Corridor  Scam)  v.
      Union of India [2007 (1) SCC 110], in cases monitored by  this  Court,
      it is concerned with ensuring proper and  honest  performance  of  its
      duty by the investigating agency  and  not  with  the  merits  of  the
      accusations in investigation, which are to be determined at the  trial
      on the filing of the charge-sheet in the competent court, according to
      the ordinary procedure prescribed by law.”

13. In the said decision, it was also observed :

      “13.  In M.C. Mehta v. Union of India [2008 (1) SCC 407],  a  question
      arose as to whether after the submission of the final report by CBI in
      the Court of Special Judge, pursuant to this Court’s directions,  this
      Court should examine the legality and  validity  of  CBI’s  action  in
      seeking a sanction under Section 197 of the Code for  the  prosecution
      of some of the persons named  in  the  final  report.  Dismissing  the
      application moved by the learned amicus curiae seeking  directions  in
      this behalf, a three-Judge Bench, of which one of us (D.K.  Jain,  J.)
      was a member, observed thus :

           ‘9.   … The jurisdiction  of  the  court  to  issue  a  writ  of
           continuous mandamus is only to see that proper investigation  is
           carried out. Once the  court  satisfies  itself  that  a  proper
           investigation has been carried out, it would not venture to take
           over the functions of the Magistrate or  pass  any  order  which
           would interfere  with  his  judicial  functions.  Constitutional
           scheme of this country envisages dispute resolution mechanism by
           an independent and impartial tribunal. No  authority,  save  and
           except a superior court in the hierarchy of judiciary, can issue
           any direction  which  otherwise  takes  away  the  discretionary
           jurisdiction of any court of law. Once a final report  has  been
           filed in terms of sub-section (1) of Section 173 of the Code  of
           Criminal Procedure, it is the Magistrate  and  Magistrate  alone
           who can take appropriate decision in the matter one way  or  the
           other. If he errs while passing a judicial order, the  same  may
           be a subject-matter of appeal or judicial review. There may be a
           possibility of the  prosecuting  agencies  not  approaching  the
           higher forum against an order passed by the learned  Magistrate,
           but the same by itself would not confer a jurisdiction  on  this
           Court to step in.’

      14.   Recently, similar views  have  been  echoed  by  this  Court  in
      Narmada Bai v. State of Gujarat [2011  (5)  SCC  79].  In  that  case,
      dealing with the  question  of  further  monitoring  in  a  case  upon
      submission of a report by CBI to this Court, on the conclusion of  the
      investigation, referring to the earlier  decisions  in  Vineet  Narain
      (supra), Sushil Kumar Modi (supra) and M.C. Mehta (Taj Corridor  Scam)
      (supra), speaking for the Bench, one of us, (P.  Sathasivam,  J.)  has
      observed as under : (Narmada Bai case (supra), SCC p. 102, para 70)

           ‘70.  The above decisions make it clear that though  this  Court
           is competent to entrust the  investigation  to  any  independent
           agency, once the investigating agency complete their function of
           investigating into the offences, it is the court  in  which  the
           charge-sheet is filed which is to deal with all matters relating
           to the trial of the accused including matters falling within the
           scope of Section 173 (8) of  the  Code.  Thus,  generally,  this
           Court   may   not   require   further    monitoring    of    the
           case/investigation. However, we make it clear that if any of the
           parties including CBI require any further  direction,  they  are
           free to approach this Court by way of an application.’ ”

14. After analysing all these decisions, it appears to us  that  this  Court
   has already in a catena of  decisions  held  and  pointed  out  that  the
   monitoring of a case is continued till the  investigation  continues  but
   when the investigating agency, which is appointed by the court, completes
   the investigation, files a charge-sheet and takes steps in the matter  in
   accordance with the provisions of law before a competent court of law, it
   would not be proper for this Court to keep on monitoring the trial  which
   is continuing before a  competent  court. 
 Accordingly,  we  are  of  the
   opinion that since the investigation has already been completed,  charge-
   sheet has been filed, trial has already commenced, it  is  not  necessary
   for this Court to continue with the monitoring of the case in question.

15. In these circumstances, we have to answer the question in the  negative.
   Accordingly, we direct that it is not necessary to monitor the matter  in
   question any further since the matter is in the domain of  the  competent
   court. All the applications are accordingly disposed of.

                                             (Surinder Singh Nijjar)

New Delhi;                                   ……………………….J.
September 24, 2013.                          (Pinaki Chandra Ghose)

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