Allahabad High Court Condemns 17-Year Delay in Issuing Notice, Labels it Criminal Jurisprudence Mockery

The Allahabad High Court expressed strong disapproval towards the police’s recent action of issuing notice under Section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to five individuals accused in a 2006 FIR. The court, while hearing a petition filed by Devendra Singh and four others, noted that this exercise, taking place after 17 years of the FIR’s filing, was both strange and a mockery of criminal jurisprudence.

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In this peculiar case, the petitioners, who were among 106 individuals named in the FIR lodged on May 6, 2006, received a notice dated April 19, 2023, summoning them to record their statements. The petitioners’ counsel highlighted that petitioner no. 1, Devendra Singh, had retired as Gram Panchayat Vikas Adhikari, petitioner no. 2, Parashuram (also known as Parashuram), had superannuated from the position of A.D.O. (Panchayat), petitioner no. 3, Ram Kishun (also known as Ramkishun Yadav), had retired as Block Pramukh, and respondents no. 4 and 5 were Kotedar at the relevant time.

Furthermore, the petitioners contended that despite the passage of 17 years, the investigation had not yielded any substantial results. They expressed their willingness to cooperate with the investigation but requested protection for their own interests.

After examining the allegations mentioned in the FIR, the court deemed the ongoing investigation, carried out by the police, as an absurdity and a mockery of the criminal justice system, given the significant delay of 17 years.

The court’s order stated that the petitioners’ interests would be safeguarded for one month, allowing them the liberty to seek anticipatory bail. The court emphasized that such applications would be sympathetically considered, taking into account the petitioners’ retirement and the fact that the matter dated back to 2006. The court directed the concerned court to review the anticipatory bail application within one week of its submission. Additionally, the order emphasized that the petitioners should continue cooperating with the investigation.

Concluding its observations, the court disposed of the petition.