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Saturday, December 7, 2013

When C.B.I. may be directed to enquiry - Kidnap of a minor girl by Forest Officials - only statements of Forest department were recorded but not the eye witnesses and general public who protested the Forest Officials while taking minor girl and another woman who escaped from Forest Geep - Forest officials admitted the galata took place but denied kidnap/forceful taken over the Rajanandini - 14 years minor girl - Habeaus Corpus - modified and Apex court directed for C.B.I enquiry = Alsia Pardhi .... Appellant(s) Versus State of M.P. & Ors. .... Respondent(s) = published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=41047

 When C.B.I. may be directed to enquiry - Kidnap of a minor girl by Forest Officials - only statements of Forest department were recorded  but not the eye witnesses and general public who protested the Forest Officials while taking minor girl and another woman who escaped from Forest Geep - Forest officials admitted the galata took place but denied kidnap/forceful taken over the Rajanandini - 14 years minor girl - Habeaus Corpus - modified and Apex court directed for C.B.I enquiry =
  It is relevant to note that the statements of Forest  Range  Officers,
Betul, viz., Dhanraj Singh, Pandari Nath, L.P. Gautam as well  as  the  lady
Forest Guard Sunanda Tekam have been recorded and as per  their  statements,
on interrogation, only one lady, viz., Sangeeta Pardhi was to be taken  into
custody against the offence under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972  being
committed by her on 10.02.2011, but she escaped and no other lady or  person
had been taken into custody by them.  Though they  stated  that  one  person
was taken in the jeep but even that person got released by  their  community
people.  In  the  light  of  the  conflicting  statements  by  the  officers
mentioning that initially two persons were taken into their  jeep  and  they
were released by the Pardhi community, it was proper  on  the  part  of  the
I.O. concerned to obtain statement from the  public  who  assembled  in  the
fish market at the relevant time.  
Admittedly, for the  reasons  best  known
to the police, they had not examined anyone or obtained statements from  the
local people available within the area in question.  In  the  light  of  the
said infirmity and in view of  the  categorical  statement  of  Kusum  under
Section 164 of the Code before the Magistrate, we are prima facie  satisfied
that proper and sincere efforts  were  not  made  by  the  State  police  in
tracing/producing the  girl  before  the  High  Court  in  a  habeas  corpus
petition.
22)   In addition to the above relevant aspect and  of  the  assertion  that
the  kidnapped  girl-Rajnandani  belongs  to  Pardhi  community,   being   a
denotified tribe and also of the assertion that the Pardhi community  people
are being constantly harassed by the police and forest  officials,  we  feel
that the appellant has made out a case  for  fresh  investigation  by  other
agency, viz., Central Bureau of Investigation.  Though in the writ  petition
before the High Court, a prayer was made  for  production  of  the  abducted
girl Rajnandani, in view of our discussion and prima  facie  conclusion,  we
mould the relief and appoint the CBI  to  investigate  and  proceed  further
according to law.
23)   The analysis of the materials placed  before  us  clearly  brings  the
case within the principles laid down  by  the  Constitution  Bench  of  this
Court in Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (supra).   
We  hereby
direct the respondents to hand over all the documents to the  CBI  within  a
period of two weeks from the date of receipt of copy  of  this  order.   
The
CBI is directed to investigate the case in question,  viz.,  whereabouts  of
Rajnandani who is alleged to have been taken  by  the  forest  officials  on
10.02.2011 and submit its  report  before  the  court  concerned,  within  a
period of six months thereafter.  
It is further made clear  that  the  above
discussion is only for entrusting the investigation to the CBI and  we  have
not expressed anything on the merits of the case.
24)   With the above observations, the appeal is allowed.
      

         REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


               1 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.  2048             OF 2013

               (Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 9611 of 2012)


Alsia Pardhi                                          .... Appellant(s)

            Versus

State of M.P. & Ors.                                         ....
Respondent(s)





                               J U D G M E N T


P.Sathasivam, CJI.

1)    Leave granted.
2)    This appeal is directed against the final  judgment  and  order  dated
09.04.2012 passed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh in Writ  Petition  No.
3803 of 2011 whereby the Division Bench of  the  High  Court  dismissed  the
petition filed by the appellant herein.
3)   Brief facts:
(a)   On 10.02.2011, at about 4 p.m., a posse of  forest  officials  of  the
Betul Range, District Betul, forcibly took  away  one  Kusum,  W/o  Taarbabu
Pardhi and Rajnandani, D/o Ankit Pardhi, aged about 14 years, from the  fish
market in their jeep.  When the persons present at the site tried to  resist
the force of the forest officials, Kusum somehow managed to  jump  from  the
jeep but the minor girl Rajnandani was whisked away by them.
(b) Alsia Pardhi–the appellant herein, being  the  uncle  of  the  kidnapped
minor girl, on 13.02.2011, made a  complaint  to  the  SHO,  Kotwali  Betul,
alleging that the minor girl is in the  custody  of  the  officials  of  the
Forest Department and requesting to register a case  of  kidnapping  against
them.
(c)   On  14.02.2011,  the  appellant  and  his  community  members  made  a
complaint  to  the  Chief  Conservator  of  Forests,  Forest  Range,  Betul-
Respondent No. 3 herein, requesting him to take punitive action against  the
forest officials and to get the minor girl released.
(d)   When all the efforts in tracing the girl  failed,  the  appellant,  on
24.02.2011, approached the High Court by filing  a  writ  of  habeas  corpus
praying that Rajnandani be directed to be produced before the Court and  the
Superintendent of Police – Respondent No. 2 herein be directed  to  register
an FIR against the forest  officials  involved  in  kidnapping  and  illegal
detention of the  minor  girl  as  well  as  against  those  who  have  been
instrumental in shielding and protecting the accused.
(e)   On 01.03.2011, the High Court directed  Respondent  No.  2  herein  to
either produce the corpus of the missing girl  or  to  submit  the  progress
report.  On 19.04.2011, the High Court, considering the seriousness  of  the
matter, directed the appellant to produce Kusum before the  CJM,  Betul,  on
02.05.2011, on which date, the CJM, Betul shall  record  her  statement  and
send it to the Court.
(f)   On 02.05.2011, the statement of Kusum was recorded.  Vide order  dated
13.07.2011, the High Court, taking note of the fact that Kusum also  alleged
against the forest officials who caught  Rajnandani  along  with  her,  held
that the matter deserves to be investigated fairly and effective steps  need
to be taken by the State for production of Rajnandani before the  Court  and
also directed Respondent No. 2 to take effective steps to produce the  minor
girl on the next date of hearing.
(g)   On 10.08.2011, i.e., on the next date of hearing, the Deputy  Advocate
General for the State filed a report in the matter  and  submitted  that  as
per the report of the Police, Rajnandani was  not  detained  by  the  Forest
Officials.  The High Court, after perusing the record  and  considering  the
report to be doubtful, granted further opportunity to the police to  produce
corpus of Rajnandani and also directed that in case  Respondent  No.2  fails
to produce her on the next date of hearing, it would be compelled to  direct
the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take up the investigation  into
its hands.  On 27.08.2011, Respondent  No.  2  again  submitted  a  progress
report.  The High Court, being not satisfied with the report,  directed  the
Superintendent of Police, Betul to appear in person  on  the  next  date  of
hearing.  On 12.09.2011, when the Superintendent of Police, Betul  explained
the circumstances in which the investigation was being conducted,  the  High
Court observed that no proper investigation had  been  done  by  the  police
with the forest officials against whom the allegations  had  been  made  and
gave one more chance to the Respondent No. 2 to  produce  Rajnandani  before
the Court.  On 17.10.2011, Respondent No. 2 again filed  a  progress  report
before the Court in which  it  was  stated  that  Rajnandani  had  tried  to
contact her father thrice  from  different  mobile  numbers  but  still  the
police officials were not able to trace her.
(h)   On 07.04.2012,  Respondent  No.2  filed  an  affidavit  accepting  the
statements of forest officials  and  did  not  give  any  weightage  to  the
statement of the eye-witness Kusum.  It was  also  stated  that  the  police
accepted the version of the forest officials verbatim.
(i)   On 09.04.2012, the High Court, by accepting the progress report  dated
07.04.2012, without taking note of the statement of the  eye-witness  Kusum,
dismissed the writ petition.  The High Court  also  held  that  the  present
case is not of illegal and forceful confinement warranting issue of  a  writ
of habeas corpus but is a case of missing person.  It  was  also  held  that
there is no allegation in the petition to the  effect  that  Rajnandani  has
been subjected to wrongful confinement either by the forest  authorities  or
the police.
(j)   Being aggrieved, the appellant herein has filed this appeal by way  of
special leave.
4)    Heard Mr. Prashant Bhushan, learned counsel for the appellant and  Ms.
Vibha Datta Makhija, learned senior counsel for the State of M.P.
5)    The only point for consideration in this appeal is
 whether  there  is
any lapse on the part of the State agency in carrying out the  investigation and the facts and materials mandate for entrusting the investigation to  the CBI?
6)    Before going into the merits of the claim of both  the  sides,  it  is
useful to refer the decision of the Constitution  Bench  of  this  Court  in
State of West Bengal and Ors. vs. Committee  for  Protection  of  Democratic
Rights, West Bengal & Ors., (2010) 3 SCC 571 in respect  of  entrusting  the
investigation to the CBI in respect of a cognizable offence when  the  State
has already initiated enquiry through its agency.  The  Constitution  Bench,
after referring earlier decisions, formulated guidelines  in  paragraphs  68
and 69 which are as under:
        “68. Thus, having examined the rival contentions in the context  of
      the constitutional scheme, we conclude as follows:
        (i)  The  fundamental  rights,  enshrined  in  Part  III   of   the
      Constitution,  are  inherent  and  cannot  be  extinguished   by   any
      constitutional or statutory  provision.  Any  law  that  abrogates  or
      abridges such  rights  would  be  violative  of  the  basic  structure
      doctrine. The actual effect and  impact  of  the  law  on  the  rights
      guaranteed under Part III has to be taken into account in  determining
      whether or not it destroys the basic structure.
        (ii) Article 21 of the Constitution in its broad perspective  seeks
      to protect the persons of their lives and  personal  liberties  except
      according to the procedure established by law. The said article in its
      broad application not only takes within its fold  enforcement  of  the
      rights of an accused but also the rights of the victim. The State  has
      a duty to enforce the human rights of a citizen providing for fair and
      impartial investigation against any person accused of commission of  a
      cognizable offence, which may include its  own  officers.  In  certain
      situations even a witness to the crime  may  seek  for  and  shall  be
      granted protection by the State.
        (iii) In view of the constitutional  scheme  and  the  jurisdiction
      conferred on this Court under Article 32 and on the High Courts  under
      Article 226 of the Constitution the power of judicial review being  an
      integral part of the basic structure of the Constitution,  no  Act  of
      Parliament can exclude or curtail the  powers  of  the  constitutional
      courts with regard to the enforcement  of  fundamental  rights.  As  a
      matter of fact, such a power is essential to give practicable  content
      to the objectives of the Constitution embodied in Part III  and  other
      parts of the Constitution. Moreover, in a  federal  constitution,  the
      distribution of legislative powers between Parliament  and  the  State
      Legislature involves limitation on legislative powers and,  therefore,
      this requires an authority other than Parliament to ascertain  whether
      such limitations are transgressed. Judicial review acts as  the  final
      arbiter not only to give effect to  the  distribution  of  legislative
      powers between Parliament and  the  State  Legislatures,  it  is  also
      necessary to show any transgression  by  each  entity.  Therefore,  to
      borrow the words of  Lord  Steyn,  judicial  review  is  justified  by
      combination of “the principles of separation of powers, rule  of  law,
      the principle of constitutionality and the reach of judicial review”.
        (iv) If the  federal  structure  is  violated  by  any  legislative
      action, the Constitution takes care to protect the  federal  structure
      by ensuring that the Courts act as guardians and interpreters  of  the
      Constitution and provide remedy under Articles 32  and  226,  whenever
      there is an attempted violation. In the circumstances,  any  direction
      by the Supreme Court or the High Court  in  exercise  of  power  under
      Article 32 or 226 to uphold the Constitution and maintain the rule  of
      law cannot be termed as violating the federal structure.
        (v) Restriction on Parliament by the Constitution  and  restriction
      on the executive by Parliament under an enactment, do  not  amount  to
      restriction on the power of the Judiciary under Articles 32 and 226 of
      the Constitution.
        (vi) If in terms of Entry 2 of List II of the Seventh  Schedule  on
      the one hand and Entry 2-A and Entry 80 of List I  on  the  other,  an
      investigation by another agency is permissible  subject  to  grant  of
      consent by the State concerned, there is no reason as to  why,  in  an
      exceptional situation, the Court would be  precluded  from  exercising
      the same power  which  the  Union  could  exercise  in  terms  of  the
      provisions of the statute. In our opinion, exercise of such  power  by
      the constitutional courts would not violate the doctrine of separation
      of powers. In fact, if in such a situation the Court  fails  to  grant
      relief, it would be failing in its constitutional duty.
        (vii) When the Special Police Act itself provides that  subject  to
      the consent by the State, CBI can take up investigation in relation to
      the crime which was otherwise within the  jurisdiction  of  the  State
      police, the Court  can  also  exercise  its  constitutional  power  of
      judicial review and direct CBI to take up the investigation within the
      jurisdiction of the State. The power of the High Court  under  Article
      226 of the Constitution cannot be taken away, curtailed or diluted  by
      Section 6 of the Special Police Act. Irrespective of there  being  any
      statutory provision acting as a  restriction  on  the  powers  of  the
      Courts, the restriction imposed by Section 6 of the Special Police Act
      on the powers of the Union, cannot  be  read  as  restriction  on  the
      powers of the constitutional courts. Therefore, exercise of  power  of
      judicial review by the High Court, in our opinion, would not amount to
      infringement of either the doctrine of  separation  of  power  or  the
      federal structure.
        69. In the final analysis, our answer to the question  referred  is
      that a direction by the High Court, in exercise  of  its  jurisdiction
      under Article 226  of  the  Constitution,  to  CBI  to  investigate  a
      cognizable offence alleged to have been committed within the territory
      of a State without the consent of that State will neither impinge upon
      the federal structure of the Constitution nor violate the doctrine  of
      separation of power and shall be valid in law. Being the protectors of
      civil liberties of the citizens, this Court and the High  Courts  have
      not only the power and jurisdiction but also an obligation to  protect
      the fundamental rights, guaranteed by Part III in  general  and  under
      Article  21  of  the  Constitution  in   particular,   zealously   and
      vigilantly.”

7)    After saying so, the Constitution Bench has  also  outlined  paragraph
70 which reads thus:
      “………This extraordinary power must be exercised  sparingly,  cautiously
      and in exception situations where  it  becomes  necessary  to  provide
      credibility and instill confidence  in  investigations  or  where  the
      incident may have national and international  ramifications  or  where
      such an  order  may  be  necessary  for  doing  complete  justice  and
      enforcing the fundamental rights………………”

8)    In the light of the principles enunciated by the  Constitution  Bench,
let us consider
whether the appellant has made out a case  for  interference
by this Court.
9)    Mr. Prashant Bhushan, learned counsel for the  appellant  has  brought
to our notice that the High Court  proceeded  on  a  wrong  assumption  that
there is no allegation in the petition to the  effect  that  Rajnandani  had
been subjected to wrongful confinement either by the forest  authorities  or
the police in spite of the fact that  the  appellant  had  made  a  specific
allegation against the forest officials.
It is also stated  that  the  High
Court has failed to take note of the  statement  of  the  eye-witness  Kusum
under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,  1973  (in  short  ‘the
Code’) wherein she had stated that the  forest  officials  abducted  herself
and Rajnandani but she somehow managed to  escape  and  the  officials  took
Rajnandani with them.
Finally, it is pointed  out  that  Pardhi  community,
being a denotified tribe, is constantly harassed by the  police  and  forest
officials due to the stigma attached to them and are often arrested for  any
crime committed in the  nearby  area.  
He  further  pointed  out  that  the
investigating agency chose to believe the version of the  accused  officials
rather the eye-witness account who was abducted along with the minor girl.
10)   Ms. Vibha Datta Makhija, learned senior  counsel  for  the  State,  by
filing status report, highlighted  that  the  concerned  police  authorities
have already registered a case and intensive efforts are being made by  them
to trace the girl in question  who  is  missing  since  10.02.2011.   It  is
further pointed out that in view of the categorical reports  by  the  police
and of the fact that the police authorities have already registered  a  case
of missing girl and are taking all possible steps to trace  out  Rajnandani,
the High Court has rightly dismissed the writ petition  for  issuance  of  a
writ  of  habeas  corpus.   Accordingly,  there  is  no   need   for   fresh
investigation or entrusting the same to the CBI in particular.
11)   It is seen from the materials placed that  on  10.02.2011,  at  around
4.00 p.m., forest officials of the Betul Range, District Betul, came to  the
fish market and forcibly took away Kusum and Rajnandani.   It  is  also  the
claim of the appellant that when the people present there  tried  to  resist
the  force  of  the  forest  officials,  Kusum  jumped  from  the  jeep  but
Rajnandani was whisked away  by  the  forest  officials.   It  is  also  the
assertion of the appellant that Rajnandani-the kidnapped minor girl  is  his
niece (sister’s daughter).
12)   On behalf of the State, it is claimed that on 10.02.2011,  the  forest
officials got a tip off that some of the members  of  the  Pardhi  community
are illegally indulging in the sale of prohibited species of animals in  the
fish market at Betul.  When the forest  officials  reached  the  spot,  they
found 2-3 women selling the  prohibited  species,  consequently,  they  were
arrested and the prohibited species were  seized.   However,  before  taking
any action by the forest officers,  about  100-150  members  of  the  Pardhi
community had suddenly assembled and resisted their  detention  and  managed
to free all of them except one Sangeeta Pardhi who was  able  to  slip  away
after causing injury to the lady  Forest  Guard  Sunanda  Tekam.   The  said
claim of the Forest officials has strongly been disputed  by  the  appellant
and their community people.
13)   It is useful to refer the letter dated  13.02.2011  by  Alsia  Pardhi,
President of the Pardhi Rehabilitation Sangh, Betul addressed  to  the  SHO,
Kotwali Betul, which reads as under:
                     “Pardhi Rehabilitation Sangh, Betul
              Utkrisht School Maidan, Pardhi Camp Betul (M.P.)


           To


           The SHO
           Kotwali Betul


           Subject:    Regarding kidnapping of Pardhi girl
                       By Forest Officials.


           Sir,


                 On Thursday, 10.2.2011  at  4  p.m.  from  near  the  Fish
           Market, Kusum W/o Tar Babu and Rajnandani D/o Ankit Pardhi, aged
           14 years sitting in the Fish Market were  being  forcibly  taken
           away by the Forest Officials  of  Betul  Range  in  their  jeep.
           After resistance by Pardhi community, they  released  Kusum  but
           Forest Officials succeeded in  forcibly  kidnapping  Rajnandani.
           On our reaching Range Office and in spite of repeatedly  asking,
           the officials  of  Forest  Department  are  not  ready  to  tell
           anything.  The parents  of  victim  have  been  very  upset  and
           shocked after strenuous efforts to locate  their  daughter.   We
           have come to know that the girl is  in  the  custody  of  Forest
           Department.
                 You are, therefore, requested that the case of  kidnapping
           may be registered against officials  of  Forest  Department  and
           Rajnandani may be got freed.


           Dated: 13.2.2011
                                                                  Applicant,
                                                                 Sd/- Alasia
                                                             (Alasia Pardhi)
                                                                   President
                                                 Pardhi Rehabilitation Sangh
                                                                Betul (M.P.)


           Winesses:-
           1.    Sangita W/o Alasia
           2.    Saudagar S/o Sadashiv
           3.    Param Singh S/o Balwant
           4.    Guni Bai W/o Nandu Dhimar
                 Mohila Mission School, Patel Ward
           5.    Gudiya W/o Kamal


           Bhagrati Bai W/o Savne Dhimar, Mohila Mission School, Patel Ward


           Saudagir, Suddi, Kapurri, Lalita, Rajesh, Salim, Babu, Alagwanti
           Laxmi, Latia, Gajra, Kusandi, Langad,  Vatia,  Kusandi,  Langad,
           Vatia, Guddi,  Anita,  Rukhmani,  Lagde,  Manji,  Bharat  Singh,
           Kishori, Nana Saheb, Durgesh, Sanju, Ritu, Kesho, Bugda, Indura,
           Rahul”

14)   Again, on 14.02.2011, i.e., on the next day, similar letter  was  sent
by the appellant to the Chief Conservator of Forests,  Forest  Range,  Betul
regarding kidnapping of minor Pardhi girl by forest officials.
15)   An analysis of the above  letters  shows  that  there  is  a  specific
reference about the picking up of two persons, viz., Kusum and Rajnandani.
16)   After filing of the Writ Petition before the High Court,  pursuant  to
the request made, the High Court directed the petitioner therein to  produce
Kusum  before  the  Chief  Judicial  Magistrate,  Betul  on  02.05.2011  for
recording of her statement.  Her statement before  the  Magistrate  is  also
relevant, which reads as under:
           “As per Order of the Hon’ble High Court  in  Writ  Petition  No.
           3803/11
           Witness No. 1 for …Deposition taken on 02.05.2011.
           Witness apparent age 25 years.


                 States on affirmation that my name is Kusum  wife  of  Tar
           Babu, Occupation  –  Labour,  address  Utkrisht  School  Ground,
           Betul, Distt. Betul.


                 The incident is about two three months old.  I had gone to
           Betul to buy  fish.   There  woman  named  Nandini  was  selling
           partridges when vehicle of Forest  Department  came  there,  the
           staff in the Forest Department vehicle apprehended Nandini, when
           I went for her rescue, the Forest Staff apprehended me  too  and
           put me in the vehicle, then after some time, I got down from the
           vehicle and went to my Dera and  I  shouted  in  the  Dera  that
           Forest staff are taking away Nandini,  Forest  staff  has  taken
           away Nandini and since then whereabouts of Nandini is not known.
           RO& AC                 Typed out on my direction
           Sd/-                              Sd/-
           K.C. Yadav                   K.C. Yadav
           Chief Judicial Magistrate    Chief Judicial Magistrate
           Betul.                            Betul”

17)   In her statement, Kusum stated that the  forest  officials  picked  up
both of them viz., herself and Rajnandani, and after some time  she  somehow
managed  to  jump  from  the  vehicle.   However,  the  forest  staff   took
Rajnandani and her whereabouts is not known  to  her.   As  rightly  pointed
out, her statement under Section 164 of the Code  before  a  Magistrate  has
not been properly looked into by the High Court.
18)   It is the grievance of learned counsel  for  the  appellant  that  the
police authorities have inquired only the forest officials and in  spite  of
the fact that many local people were also present in the fish  market,  they
were not inquired and their statements were not recorded.
19)   In the light of  the  above  allegation,  we  perused  the  statements
recorded by the police.  It  is  clear  that  one  Durgesh  Kushram,  Forest
Guard, Office of Forest Range Betul, in his statement,  mentioned  that  two
women were found selling Titar and Bater and they were  apprehended  by  the
lady Forest Guard Sunanda Tekam.  He also stated that the people  of  Pardhi
community resisted the action being  taken  and  got  freed  both  women  by
manhandling the Forest Guard Sunanda Tekam  and  started  stone  pelting  at
their party.  In the same way, one Sanjay Dhote, another Forest  Guard,  has
also made a similar statement about taking of two women and  how  both  were
got freed by  manhandling  the  Forest  Guard.   Yogesh  Chaudhary,  Chandra
Shekhar  Singh  and  Pandhri  Nath,  Forest  Guards,   also   made   similar
statements.   One  Laxmi  Prasad  Gautam,  Forest  Range  Officer,  in   his
statement, also reiterated the same.  Similarly, all other officials of  the
forest department made similar statements.
20)   A perusal of the above shows  that  based  on  the  complaint  of  the appellant, the I.O. has only recorded the statements  of  the  officials  of the Forest Department.  It is not clear as to  why  the  police  authorities did not inquire about the same from the persons present  at  the  spot  when both the women were picked up from a busy fish market and also in the  light of the statement of Kusum before the Magistrate under  Section  164  of  the
Code specifically alleging that she alone managed to escape  and  Rajnandani was taken in a vehicle by the forest officials.
21)   It is relevant to note that the statements of Forest  Range  Officers,
Betul, viz., Dhanraj Singh, Pandari Nath, L.P. Gautam as well  as  the  lady
Forest Guard Sunanda Tekam have been recorded and as per  their  statements,
on interrogation, only one lady, viz., Sangeeta Pardhi was to be taken  into
custody against the offence under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972  being
committed by her on 10.02.2011, but she escaped and no other lady or  person
had been taken into custody by them.  Though they  stated  that  one  person
was taken in the jeep but even that person got released by  their  community
people.  In  the  light  of  the  conflicting  statements  by  the  officers
mentioning that initially two persons were taken into their  jeep  and  they
were released by the Pardhi community, it was proper  on  the  part  of  the
I.O. concerned to obtain statement from the  public  who  assembled  in  the
fish market at the relevant time.  
Admittedly, for the  reasons  best  known
to the police, they had not examined anyone or obtained statements from  the
local people available within the area in question.  In  the  light  of  the
said infirmity and in view of  the  categorical  statement  of  Kusum  under
Section 164 of the Code before the Magistrate, we are prima facie  satisfied
that proper and sincere efforts  were  not  made  by  the  State  police  in
tracing/producing the  girl  before  the  High  Court  in  a  habeas  corpus
petition.
22)   In addition to the above relevant aspect and  of  the  assertion  that
the  kidnapped  girl-Rajnandani  belongs  to  Pardhi  community,   being   a
denotified tribe and also of the assertion that the Pardhi community  people
are being constantly harassed by the police and forest  officials,  we  feel
that the appellant has made out a case  for  fresh  investigation  by  other
agency, viz., Central Bureau of Investigation.  Though in the writ  petition
before the High Court, a prayer was made  for  production  of  the  abducted
girl Rajnandani, in view of our discussion and prima  facie  conclusion,  we
mould the relief and appoint the CBI  to  investigate  and  proceed  further
according to law.
23)   The analysis of the materials placed  before  us  clearly  brings  the
case within the principles laid down  by  the  Constitution  Bench  of  this
Court in Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (supra).   
We  hereby
direct the respondents to hand over all the documents to the  CBI  within  a
period of two weeks from the date of receipt of copy  of  this  order.   
The
CBI is directed to investigate the case in question,  viz.,  whereabouts  of
Rajnandani who is alleged to have been taken  by  the  forest  officials  on
10.02.2011 and submit its  report  before  the  court  concerned,  within  a
period of six months thereafter.  
It is further made clear  that  the  above
discussion is only for entrusting the investigation to the CBI and  we  have
not expressed anything on the merits of the case.
24)   With the above observations, the appeal is allowed.



                                  ………….………………………CJI.


                                       (P. SATHASIVAM)








                                    ………….…………………………J.


                                      (RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI)




























                                    ………….…………………………J.


                                      (RANJAN GOGOI)




NEW DELHI;
DECEMBER 6, 2013.
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