Karnataka HC Sets Time Limit for Speedy Conclusion in Criminal Matters

Karnataka High Court Law Insider

Khushi Gupta

Published on: May 29, 2022 at 15:46 IST

The Karnataka High Court has issued guidelines for speedy conclusion of investigations in criminal matters.

A Single Judge Bench of Justice S Sunil Dutt Yadav in its interim order said, “There is a requirement to pass directions for speedy conclusion of investigation, that may be applicable to the matters in general.”

The Bench also remarked that Investigation Officers are to be abreast with latest developments in use of technology in commission of crimes.

It observed, “They are not conversant with the manner of commission of crimes, especially with respect to crimes relating to money laundering and in specific use of crypto currency and digital money in commission of crimes. International ramification of offenses which are cross border offenses usually found in money laundering cases has a serious impact on investigation.”

It added, “Due to lack of coordination between various agencies and Governments of different Countries, investigation is protracted facilitating destruction of evidence and erasing of money trail.”

Further it said, “Lack of monitoring by judicial magistrates by exercising power under Section 156(3) of Cr.P.C. Direct and indirect Interference in investigation where accused may belong to the Party in power. This may result in prolonging of investigation depending on the party in power or even misuse of investigation to settle scores by party in power.”

The Bench also relied on the Apex Court decision in the case of Mahender Chawla and others Vs Union of India and Others reported in 2019, which discussed protection of vulnerable witnesses. It urged the state government to take steps for the implementation of the Witness Protection Scheme.

As regards serious and heinous offences, a time limit of 90 days could be stipulated with provision to extend such a time period upon request by the Special Judge or Magistrate upon reasons being made out. Such an intervention may be necessary in light of the approach of the Apex Court in the case of Abdul Rehman Antulay and Others Vs R S Nayak and Another reported in 1992 where Guidelines were laid down for speedy trial of criminal proceedings.

The Court also noted the concerns underlying the Right to speedy trial from the point of view of the accused.

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