Jayaraj and Benniks: Madras HC disposes PIL seeking Immediate Filing of FIR for Police Excesses

Jayaraj and Benniks Custodial Deaths Matter- Madras HC disposes PIL seeking Immediate Filing of FIR for Police Excesses as HC Took Suo Motu Cognizance

July 20, 2020, Monday

Anjana Gopinath

The High Court of Madras disposed of a plea seeking a direction to the State police to strictly adhere to the Apex Court’s mandate in its Lalitha Kumari decision of 2013 and ensure immediate registration of FIR relating to the Jayaraj and Benniks custodial deaths.

The Petitioner in the PIL had prayed for guidelines, directions or standard operating procedures to be followed by the DGP, SPs, and their subordinates in cases of police excesses, in addition to immediate registration of FIR in cases where the alleged offenders are police officials. In the 2013 decision of Lalita Kumari vs Govt. of U.P.& Ors, the Supreme Court had directed in unequivocal terms that registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure if the information reveals commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such circumstances.

The Bench, comprising of Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice P Rajamanickam observed that the PIL alleged certain lapses as to the non-registration of the FIR, despite the complaint lodged by family members, which prima facie discloses the commission of the offence of murder. The Court also mentioned that it has already taken Suo motu cognizance of the offence and is dealing with the aspects of the tragic death of the father and the son. Consequently, the Court was of the opinion that this plea is not necessary and thus, closed it accordingly.

The same bench, previously, had also required the court-appointed Investigating Officer to file his status report by the 27th of July, 2020 regarding the matter.

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