Bombay High Court on Wednesday rejected the criminal petition seeking the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the Jiah Khan death case, filed by Rabia Khan, the mother of Jiah Khan.
While rejecting the criminal writ petition of Rabia Khan in connection with the death of Jiah Khan in 2013, the High Court made very strict remarks about Khan's approach in this case.
The order was passed on September 12, but the detailed order was made available on Wednesday. "In view of the facts noted hereinabove, we were in fact inclined to saddle the petitioner with exemplary costs, but at the pleading of the learned advocate for the petitioner, we refrained from doing so. "The Criminal Writ Petition is accordingly dismissed," the Court said while dismissing the petition.
The HC said that it was satisfied with the investigation carried out by the CBI. "The court indubitably is satisfied with the further investigation carried out by the CBI and nothing would preclude the petitioner from invoking the appropriate powers of the Criminal Court to exercise such powers, including the powers under Section 216 and 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure."
HC raised question on conduct of petitioner
The HC also raised questions over the conduct of the petitioner and said that it had led to the prolongation of the trial.
The HC additionally held, "The conduct of the petitioner led to unnecessarily prolonging the trial, which was yet to begin. Since speedy justice is a constitutional right of each individual, both the accused as well as the victim, the criminal writ petition was dismissed comprehensively."
"The petitioner has openly expressed her scepticism about the criminal justice system and the investigating agencies of our country and hence we find it necessary to deal with the same," the HC observed. The Court also mentioned the UK-based law firm Scarmans, which was approached by the petitioner in the case and the report published by the firm.
"The petitioner approached a law firm by the name of Scarmans in the United Kingdom to seek their aid for legal review in the present criminal trial. It is pertinent to note that SCARMANS, a British solicitor's firm, is situated beyond the territorial jurisdiction of our country.
It is further pertinent to note that after almost 14 months, Scarmans furnished a Legal Review Report dated May 1, 2019 to the Petitioner. This Legal Review Report is titled "Legal Review into the death of Ms Nafisa Ali Rizvi".
HC Shocked by the report of SCARMANS
This report forms the basis of the present Writ Petition. We are aghast and shocked to read the said report and most importantly what is stated therein," the HC order further said.
The HC stated, "In the first place, it is not clear as to whether the authors of the report understand the difference between an investigation and a trial. Prima facie, it appears that the authors of the report are of the belief that the trial in the case has already been completed."
"Further, we are also unable to understand that Scarmans have given their report on the evidence relating to the victim's death when the investigation is over and now that the trial has already commenced.
We are afraid to state that this report attempts to deliver a verdict even before the trial is over in the present case. The authors of the report are sitting in judgement over the investigation and delivering a verdict at the behest of the petitioner, "the HC order further stated."
The HC also raised questions about the petitioner's procuring of a "biased report" from a firm that has no authority in India. "At places in the report, there are adverse comments on the judgment and orders delivered by this Court which are not appreciated and depreciated by us."
Jiah Khan's family believe that it was not suicide
The entire basis of the report is the belief of Jiah Khan's family that her death continues to be erroneously categorised as suicide. Admittedly, it is a procured report by the petitioner.
The court said, "We cannot take countenance of such a report, especially in the light of various decisions rendered by this Court (in the present matter itself), the Trial Court, and the Supreme Court alluded to hereinabove."
The HC order said "We strongly condemn the petitioner's conduct in obtaining such a biassed report from a firm with no authority in our legal system."The Rule of law is prevalent in our country and we do not have the slightest doubt that the Trial Court shall deliver its verdict without fear or favour whilst adhering to the due process of law," the HC further said.
The HC also raised questions over the way the said report was "worded" and said that this conduct of the petitioner has led to unnecessarily procrastinating and delaying the trials.
The HC said, "We also strongly depreciate the manner in which the said report is worded, which virtually shows the premier investigating agency of our country in a poor light.
The Bombay High Court said, "We would like to state that only after the petitioner has repeatedly failed to procure orders as per her desire before the completion of the trial, she has now found this ingenious way of procuring a report from a firm situated beyond the territorial jurisdiction of our country, who has failed to understand even the basic difference between investigation and trial and has once again repeated and reiterated her earlier request for further investigation."
"In doing so, the petitioner has unnecessarily procrastinated and delayed the trial, which is ongoing before the Trial Court," the HC order said.
Jiah was found hanging in her room on June 3, 2013, at her Mumbai residence by her mother, Rabiya. The actress left behind a suicide note blaming Bollywood actor Sooraj for the extreme step. Jiah's mother, Rabia Khan, had alleged that her daughter had been murdered.