A police officer will be liable for prosecution on being found to have filed false charges against an individual despite being aware of his/her innocence, ruled the Supreme Court on Thursday.
The judgment clearly shows that cops and prosecutors are on the radar of the judiciary. It is worth mentioning that barely a couple of weeks back, the court had asked the administration to initiate strict actions against prosecutors and investigating officers whose deliberate lapses lead to acquittal of accused in serious offences.
A bench comprising of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice J Chelameswar ruled that police must not be allowed to take shelter behind the logic that they had no other option but to file charges against an alleged sexual offender even if evidence hints towards his innocence.
The court made the observation while hearing a case involving an all-women police station in Tamil Nadu. Apparently, on May 28, 2008, one Nagal filed a complaint against an individual accusing him of sexually exploiting her on the pretext of marriage. The complainant also claimed that the accused threatened to kill her when she had told him about her pregnancy.
However, to his utter shock, the accused was chargesheeted even after medical examination had established that the woman was faking pregnancy. He was, however, acquitted by the Pollachi judicial magistrate.
After his acquittal, the man filed a case against the woman sub-inspector in charge of the case, but only to be disappointed by first a trial court, and then by the Madras High Court.
However, the Supreme Court of India came in rescue for him with the landmark judgment that said:”In the case on hand, when the appellant alleges that he had been prosecuted on the basis of a palpably false statement coupled with the further allegation in his complaint that the woman SI did so for extraneous considerations, we are of the opinion that it is an appropriate case where the high court ought to have exercised jurisdiction under Section 195 of Criminal Procedure Code.”
“The allegation such as the one made by the complainant against the policewoman is not uncommon. As was pointed earlier by this court in a different context, ‘there is no rule of law that common sense should be put in cold storage’. Our Constitution is designed on the theory of checks and balances. A theory which is the product of the belief that all power corrupts – such belief is based on experience,” the apex court added.