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October 14, 2018

SHC tells home department, IGP not to depute investigators to perform operational duties


October 14, 2018

The Sindh High Court has directed the provincial home secretary and the inspector general of police (IGP) to ensure that officers who have been assigned investigation duties are not deputed to perform operational responsibilities.

The two officials were also told to ensure there is a mechanism which offers training programmes and is linked with other provinces and other countries so as to equip the investigators with all basic essential instruments of investigation.

The directives came at a man’s bail application hearing during which the court took exception to the lack of awareness among investigation officers about the disposal category of cases under the criminal procedure.

A single bench headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar observed that investigation was the most vital part of the prosecution and any negligence or ignorance of tools/skills of investigation may damage the prosecution case, thereby letting an escape to a prima facie guilt.

The court observed that constant failures on the part of the prosecution not only encourage a criminal to dare repeat the crime, but also result in hurting the faith of the victim in the law enforcement agency.

The court observed that persons in uniform was not a combination of colour but is the symbol of the law which ensures that persons dressed therein was not only well skilled but well equipped with the law to deal with both crime and victim.

The bench took exception to the lack of proper training of investigation officers and observed that prima facie the officers having considerable service had not been provided an opportunity of acquiring necessary skills; rather, they appeared to be unaware of legal disposal of investigation.

It observed that such lack of awareness indicated that there was no mechanism to understand and learn the investigation skills, which would amount to letting the victims suffer due to the incompetence of an otherwise expected skilled police officer.

The court asked how a police officer would rescue the victim or ensure conviction of the culprit if he even was not aware about the disposal category of cases. It described the situation alarming.

It said the investigation officers and the investigation branch and the operational branch were not separate and reshuffling was a routine in the police department.

It observed that there was no any mechanism with the prosecution to pursue the cases till the end and fix responsibility to the effect that the failure of prosecution towards its duty was not the result of any defect in the investigation process.

It said that the amount of investigation specified for the investigation would be given to the investigation officers in light of the Supreme Court judgment through cross cheques and there must be checks and balance as well as awards for the investigation offices with regard to their efficiency.

The court directed the IGP and the home department to submit the detailed mechanism of investigation in light of the superior court’s directives. It directed the prosecutor general to ensure that live case study conferences be held by calling victims, witnesses and prosecutors who dealt with cases.

It directed the trial court judges to refer defects in investigation to the high-ups of the investigation department if failure was caused by defective investigations.

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