NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has sought the Centre's reply on a plea seeking proper guidelines for the procedure of investigation to be followed by the police when it is asked to file an action taken report by a metropolitan magistrate.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and C Hari Shankar issued a notice to the Centre, the Delhi government and the city police and asked them to file their response within two weeks.
The high court was hearing social activist Ajay Gautam's petition which has a poser on whether the police can start probing a matter on the basis of the action taken report (ATR) called by the court of a Metropolitan Magistrate on an application under section 156(3) of CrPC, without the registration of an FIR.
Section 156 of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the police officer's power to investigate cognisable case.
Section 156 (3) of the code deals with the power of the magistrate to order such an investigation.
"Citizens of this country are suffering lot of harassments/insults/ humiliations by the illegal investigations/inquiries conducted by the Police with regard to submitting of ATR called by Court of Metropolitan Magistrate on an application under section 156(3) CrPC without any fault on their part," the plea said.
The petition sought a declaration of the procedure being followed by the Delhi Police pertaining to the investigations made following the order passed by Metropolitan Magistrate for submitting the ATR as an arbitrary, illegal and ultra vires.
"Issue appropriate guidelines or frame appropriate procedure to deal with the application filed under section 156 (3) CrPC with regard to power of Investigating Officer, functioning of subordinate court, what is the maximum time period for filing action taken report," the plea said.
The petition also said that what is happening actually at ground under the proceedings of 156(3) CrPC was different than what was prescribed under law.
"It is further submitted by the petitioner that rights of the citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution of India are infringed by the arbitrary and illegal procedure being followed by the Police with regard to submitting ATR on an application 156(3) CrPC," it alleged.
In the name of ATR, the police examine witnesses, collects evidence, carries out interrogations and then files the report in the mode and manner of filing a charge sheet, bypassing all statutory provisions and laws enshrined in the CrPC, the plea claimed.