CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has issued guidelines on how people should be summoned for interrogation in criminal cases, in a bid to check harassment by police.
According to the guidelines, the investigation officer is mandated to issue written summons under CrPC Section 160 specifying the date and time when calling any person named in the complaint or any witness to appear for inquiry.
“This court, exercising its power under Section 482 CrPC normally would not interfere with the investigation conducted by a police officer,” said Justice MS Ramesh in his order. “Nevertheless, it would also not turn a blind eye to instances of harassment by the police under the guise of investigation brought to its notice.”
The plea that was filed by A N Lalman Lal and four others alleging police harassment under the guise of inquiry was heard by the court on Thursday. While the court acknowledged that the term ‘harassment’ by itself has a very wide meaning, in order to circumvent situations where the definition can be misconstrued, it issued the guidelines.
Justice Ramesh said the officer is expected to record the minutes of the inquiry in the station diary and the officer should not harass persons called for inquiry. In his order, he also emphasised that while magistrates played a crucial role in the proceedings, it did not give them a licence to interfere in the investigation.
“Though the CrPC empowers magistrate to be a guardian in all the stages of the police investigation, there is no power envisaging him to interfere with the actual investigation or the mode of investigation,” the judge said.