Do not delay filing of supplementary challan: Punjab and Haryana High Court tells police

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the DGPs (Directors General of Police) of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to ensure that the filing of supplementary challan against an accused is not deferred for a long period on account of pendency of an anticipatory bail application.

The Bench of Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill passed the order while hearing the anticipatory bail plea of a 70-year-old woman accused in a murder case registered at the Maur police station in Bathinda.

The petitioner, Sukhwinder Kaur, through her counsels, Senior Advocate Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu and Advocate Pratham Sethi, had moved the high court seeking an anticipatory bail in 2020, contending that her entire family has been falsely implicated on account of a property dispute involving her husband, Rajpal Singh, and his two brothers, Lakhvir Singh and Jasvir Singh.

The court granted the anticipatory bail plea on the ground that the accused has joined the investigation and the co-accused has already been arrested.

The Bench said that while the petitioner was granted interim bail by the high court vide order dated January 21, 2021, the challan against the co-accused was presented on February 8, 2021. The supplementary report under Section 173 of the CrPC against the petitioner has not been filed till date.

“This Court, in fact, has noticed that there is some kind of tendency with the investigating agency/prosecution not to present report under Section 173 CrPC/supplementary challan during the pendency of an application for grant of anticipatory bail by an accused even though such accused may have joined investigation…” Justice Gill said.

He added that “a large number of instances has come to the notice of this Court where the investigating agency/prosecution chooses not to present a report under Section 173 CrPC/supplementary challan against an accused during the pendency of anticipatory bail application. It would be desirable that before taking such a decision for deferring filing of report… The investigating agency/prosecution thoroughly examines the matter to consider as to whether the case is such where custodial interrogation would be required in case anticipatory bail application is dismissed despite the fact that the accused on the basis of interim directions may have joined the investigation.”

The high court said that the filing of report under Section 173 of the CrPC can be deferred in case of specific and genuine reasons – like if the modus operandi of a crime is not completely known and the investigating officer is of the opinion that custodial interrogation is absolutely necessary to unravel the details of crime.

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