Transfer of criminal investigation to CBI

Writ petition in Supreme Court seeking transfer:

The petitioner, the President of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (hereinafter referred to as “GJM”), has filed this Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India praying for transfer of investigation of all First Information Reports lodged against the petitioner and other members of GJM, to any independent investigation agency.

Principle for transfer:

This Court does not direct transfer of investigation just for the asking nor is transfer directed only to satisfy the ego or vindicate the prestige of a party interested in such investigation. The decision whether transfer should or should not be ordered rests on the Court’s satisfaction whether the facts and circumstances of a given case demand such an order.

No hard-and-fast rule has been or can possibly be prescribed for universal application to all cases. Each case will obviously depend upon its own facts. What is important is that the Court while exercising its jurisdiction to direct transfer remains sensitive to the principle that transfers are not ordered just because a party seeks to lead the investigator to a given conclusion. It is only when there is a reasonable apprehension about justice becoming a victim because of shabby or partisan investigation that the Court may step in and exercise its extraordinary powers. The sensibility of the victims of the crime or their next of kin is not wholly irrelevant in such situations. After all transfer of investigation to an outside agency does not imply that the transferee agency will necessarily, much less falsely implicate anyone in the commission of the crime. That is particularly so when transfer is ordered to an outside agency perceived to be independent of influences, pressures and pulls that are commonplace when State Police investigates matters of some significance. The confidence of the party seeking transfer in the outside agency in such cases itself rests on the independence of that agency from such or similar other considerations. It follows that unless the Court sees any design behind the prayer for transfer, the same must be seen as an attempt only to ensure that the truth is discovered. The hallmark of a transfer is the perceived independence of the transferee more than any other consideration. Discovery of truth is the ultimate purpose of any investigation and who can do it better than an agency that is independent.”

Directions by Supreme Court:
Most of the cases which were cited before us by the parties are the cases where this Court exercised jurisdiction under Article 32 in transferring the investigation at the instance of the victims. For a victim the investigation in a case is of much significance. In the event, a proper investigation is not carried out and relevant evidence which would have been collected by due care and caution, is not collected, the victim is sure not to get justice on such faulty investigation. In case of faulty investigation, where an accused has been wrongly roped in, he has right to seek all remedies before Court of Law for further investigation and a Court of Law is able to marshall all evidence and capable of discerning truth from evidence on record. Although as a principle, there is no fetter on an accused to move a Court of Law for transfer of investigation, but on the facts of this case as noted above, we do not think it to be a fit case where this Court may exercise jurisdiction under Article 32 to transfer the cases enmass to an independent agency. The present case cannot be said to be a case of individual’s persecution by the State authority.

In view of the foregoing discussion, we are of the view that the petitioner is not entitled for any relief. The writ petition is dismissed.

[Source: Bimal Durang vs. Union of India, decided by SC on 16 March 2018]

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