Expressing concern on the “casual manner” in which the police maintain case diaries, the Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) to personally look into the issue. The court noted that it regularly came across matters wherein case diaries were not being maintained by the police as mandated in law.
The petition being heard
The HC made the observation, while hearing a petition by a man seeking a direction to his wife, an Uzbekistan national, to produce their daughter. He alleged that the woman and her parents had absconded along with the infant. Subsequently, all of them were traced to Amritsar at a friend’s residence. The wife was arrested and later released on bail.
Representing the woman, Advocate Padma Shelatkar submitted that her client was arrested in violation of the provisions of law as no notice was issued to her under section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) prior to her arrest. Under the said provision, the police first need to issue a notice to the accused, directing him/her to appear to give a statement. The cops can decide on arrest accordingly.
After going through the investigation papers including the case diary, the HC noted that the case diary was maintained in “utter defiance” of CrPC section 172(1-B), which says that the diary containing the day-to-day entry of the proceedings in the probe has to be duly paginated. Several orders have been passed by HC and circulars have been issued by the DGP, directing all investigating officers to maintain a case diary in each and every case.
“It appears that the directions issued by the DGP have not percolated to the lower rank of police officers, who are conducting investigations at the ground level...,” a division bench of Justices Ajey Gadkari and Shyam Chandak said on January 16. It has directed the DGP to “imbibe upon all the police officers the seriousness in following the directions issued by the highest police authority in the state and to not take such directions lightly and/or casually”.
The bench said, “This is a serious matter of concern. The diary (in the present) case is maintained not only in the form of loose sheets but those are scattered throughout the file.” It further asked the DGP to look into the matter personally and adopt necessary legal action against the police officer concerned. It also expressed that it was “perplexed” to note that the notice under CrPC section 41A was not served upon the wife, but was served upon a relative of a co-accused in Punjab. This was not in consonance with law, underlined the HC.
The next hearing in the matter has been scheduled on February 13.