Junaid Khan lynching case not fit to be handed over to CBI, High Court poses trust in trial court dismissing plea of deceased’s father

Punjab and Haryana High Court: In relation to the infamous Junaid Khan lynching case, the father of the deceased approached the High Court with a plea alleging that the investigating agency probing the murder failed to charge the accused under Sections 153-A (promoting enmity on the basis of religion etc.), 153-B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the  Penal Code. Besides this allegation, the counsel for petitioner said that there were many flaws in the investigating procedure adopted by the State police and there were many offences under which the accused was not even booked, but would definitely be applicable like under S. 149 IPC (unlawful assembly).

Counsel Mr. Cheema further explained that the common object of the unlawful assembly in this case was to commit murder and offences under Ss. 307, 341, 298, 153-A and 505 IPC. In the light of the allegations raised, the petitioner prayed before the Court to transfer the investigation of the case from State police to CBI. On the other hand, the respondents contended that there was no need to transfer the investigation of case to any other agency and maintained that investigation was carried out in a fair, prompt and impartial manner. The counsel for the respondents opposed the instant petition calling it an abuse of process of law with an objective to prolong the trial.

On hearing both the parties, Court observed that the trial of the case was at very crucial stage and it has no doubt that trial court would have enough expertise to swift the grain from the chaff and arrive at a fair conclusion. The Bench of Rajan Gupta, J. said that it was quite evident that the trial court was dealing with the matter promptly and was not even trying to delay it. The Court further cited State of West Bengal v.. The Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, WB, (2010) 3 SCC 571 in which the Apex Court had observed that the power of transferring the case from police to CBI must be exercised cautiously, sparingly and in exceptional situations otherwise CBI would be flooded with a large number of cases and with limited resources.

The Court concluded that during the hearing, the petitioner could not show that there were serious flaws in the investigation which would lead to the conclusion that same is shoddy or tainted and therefore, this case is not fit case to exercise extraordinary power to hand over the investigation to CBI. Hence, the petition stands dismissed. [Jalaluddin v. State of Haryana, CWP No. 24104 of 2017, decided on 27.11.2017]

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