The Sindh High Court was informed by the police on Tuesday that 29,668 cases of heinous crimes relating to murder, robbery and kidnapping for ransom had been pending in the province for the past...
The Sindh High Court (SHC) was informed by the police on Tuesday that 29,668 cases of heinous crimes relating to murder, robbery and kidnapping for ransom had been pending in the province for the past decade without any arrest in any of the cases.
The SHC’s single bench of Justice Salahuddin Panhwar was hearing an application about the non-arrest of culprits in pending criminal cases. The court had asked the Sindh police chief for details of unsolved heinous criminal cases in the province, especially in Karachi.
Additional Inspector General of Police Legal-II Muhammad Habib Khan submitted a report mentioning that 25,205 cases of murder, murder during dacoity, robbery and kidnapping for ransom were pending at different police stations of Karachi since the last 10 years; they were untraced and without any arrest.
The report stated that 4,998 murder cases, 15,169 robbery cases, 4,822 cases of kidnapping for ransom and 216 cases of murder during robbery were pending at different police stations of Karachi region that were untraced and without any arrest.
The report also showed that 477 cases of murder, 2,480 cases of dacoity, 17 cases of kidnapping for ransom and 42 cases of murder during dacoity were still unsolved in Hyderabad region.
Moreover, 372 cases of murder, 1,046 cases of robbery, 22 kidnappings for ransom and seven cases of murder during robbery were pending untraced and without any arrest in Sukkur region.
Police also submitted a report mentioning that 75,267 cases were pending investigation, wherein culprits were yet to be arrested for their involvement in other crimes. Justice Panhwar said the police report showed alarming figures of free and unidentified criminals involved in heinous crimes across the province.
The court observed that it was very strange that in the metropolitan city, where a sufficient number of police and Rangers officials were operating, the number of cases of murder and kidnapping for ransom was not only very high but the culprits involved were also unknown and their courage to act criminally had doubled.
The bench observed that registration of FIRs against culprits did not serve the purpose except increase the heap and put the frightened masses into further fear, which was resulting in taking away their courage to report crime and making them surrender before the criminals during crimes as well as after the incidents.
The judge observed that if such a scenario were to continue taking root, it would turn the metropolitan city into a jungle, as 25,205 cases of untraced heinous crimes was shocking and needed work of force on a war footing.
Amicus curiae Abdul Hasnain said that the Rangers were working in Karachi and they were also cooperating with the police force. The court observed that peace could not be expected until every criminal received his due, which first required identification of the criminal and then sending them to trial.
Justice Panhwar issued a notice to the Rangers chief with the direction to assist the police to ensure that all cases were investigated properly and the suspects were arrested and sent to trial.
The bench asked the Rangers chief to devise a mechanism for the paramilitary force’s role in the identification and arrest of criminals involved in heinous crimes.
The court also ordered that the report be circulated to the sessions judges so that all the judicial magistrates could call reports of FIRs from their respective areas to ensure that the investigations were supervised and concrete steps were taken without burdening the complainants by compelling their appearance, unless justified.
The bench observed that the judicial magistrates would maintain the record of untraced cases separately, and that would be part of the pending cases and case flow management system.
It said that the judicial magistrates would be competent to call the investigating officer or direct the SSPs to supervise the investigation if an officer was transferred or unavailable due to any reason until the proper handing over of the investigation.
The court directed the Sindh police chief and the prisons chief to ensure that the crime record pertaining to the province was categorised with separate divisions, that it would be maintained by their joint venture, that every investigating officer or police officer would be provided access to other crime records and that it would be linked and maintained with other districts.
The bench observed that it had come on record that every FIR was being maintained on the computer and was linked with the Crime Record Office, so such records should be maintained, and in case a suspect was a hardened criminal and involved in other cases, the report would be sent to the relevant investigating officer.
Regarding the Sindh Criminal Courts Rules 2012, the judge observed that no positive response had been filed by the law department with regard to its implementation and further legislation in accordance with the law. The court directed the law secretary to submit a report on its implementation and further legislation in accordance with law.
The bench also directed the home secretary and the finance secretary to submit a detailed report with regard to the allocation and release of funds in at least the last three years to the Sindh police so that the report might be called from the relevant quarters as to whether or not the objective of the allocation of fund was achieved and submit the same by December 4.
Regarding police training for the collection of evidence, the court directed the police chief to ensure that the training programme for police officers and personnel be launched for collecting evidence through closed circuit cameras, lock tracking and DNA.
The bench also directed the police to submit a report as to whether or not any measures were taken in cases of clear footage of criminals in different cases that were otherwise categorised as untraced cases.