Taking serious view of the non-appearance of investigating officers in criminal appeal cases, the Madras High Court on Wednesday said it would be constrained to issue warrants to ensure their presence.
This was the practice followed for a long time but not now, a high court bench of justices S Vaidyanathan and N Anand Venkatesan said here.
The bench made the observation as the investigation officer in a murder case did not appear on Tuesday despite a court direction, and said in the future, IOs should be present in the court during the criminal appeal hearings.
It condemned the trial court and the investigation officer for filing two separate cases for a murder and not conducting a joint trial.
The trial court should have framed charges in a single case and conducted the trial, the bench felt.
"It is not known why there were two separate cases and two separate trials conducted. Neither the prosecution nor the court below has applied its mind to the rudimentary principles of Code of Criminal Procedure, where all the accused persons could have been charged together for both the incidents, since murder has occurred in the course of the same transaction," the bench observed.
"The unfortunate thing is in one set of occurrence, the accused had been convicted and for the other set of occurrence, they have been acquitted," it further said.
The investigating officer had confined his stand to the respective case and thereby had virtually weakened the case of the prosecution.
The bench said in every criminal appeal that is heard before the high court, as well as principal bench, the IOs concerned must positively be present before the court, failing which the court would be constrained to issue warrant and ensure their presence.
This was the practice followed for a long time but has now been given the go-by, it added.
The judges marked the copy of the order to all DGPs, inspector generals, commissioners and superior officials so that IOs appear before court.
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