In connection with the infamous custodial death case of a father-son duo, the Madras High Court on Monday directed the District Collector, Tuticorin, to depute Revenue Officers to the Sathankulam Police Station, for the purpose of preserving the clue materials.
The Division Bench at the Madurai Seat of the High Court was motivated to take this action when the Principal District Judge, Tuticorin, who is closely monitoring the case, informed that the police personnel in the Sathankulam Police Station are not cooperating with the Judicial Magistrate No.I, Kovilpatti, in conducting the enquiry under Section 176(1) (1-A), Cr.P.C., for collecting clue materials.”In this regard, we also direct the Assistant Director of Mobile Forensic Science Laboratory, Tuticorin, to immediately go to the Sathankulam Police Station, to collect the clue materials and assist the learned Judicial Magistrate No.I, Kovilpatti. If necessary, a team of forensic science experts from the Regional Forensic Science Laboratory, Tirunelveli, may also be requisitioned”, ordered the bench.The Madras High Court on Monday was also informed that the State Government is intending to transfer the investigation of the Sathankulam case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, after getting formal nod of the Court in regard thereto, inasmuch as, the Court has taken up the matter suo motu and is closely monitoring it.”Though we appreciate the deference shown to this Court by the State Government, we make it clear that, to transfer or not to transfer the case to the C.B.I., is the policy decision of the State Government and such a transfer is governed by the provisions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946″, said the division bench.
However, the bench noted that since there are certain procedural formalities for effecting transfer of the case in the event of the State Government issuing necessary Government Order, which may consume a reasonable time, the court issued the following directions, on the premise that the case is likely to be transferred to the C.B.I.:
i.The Registrar (Judicial), Madurai Bench of Madras High Court, shall take a photocopy of the preliminary post-mortem certificates and certify them and keep them in safe custody and send the original post-mortem certificates in a sealed cover to the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Tuticorin, who, in turn, shall hand over the same to the Investigating Officer of the C.B.I. The post-mortem doctors are awaiting the Chemical Analysis, Histopathological examination and Microbiological examination reports. Only upon receipt of those reports, can the final opinion be given. Therefore, the Dean, Tirunelveli Medical College, shall send the final opinion, to the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Tuticorin, who, in turn, shall hand over the same to the Investigating Officer of the C.B.I. A copy of the final opinion shall also be sent to this Court in a sealed cover. The Director, Tamil Nadu Forensic Sciences Laboratory, Chennai, is directed to give top priority to the examination of the materials sent by the post-mortem doctors, so that they can give their final opinion at the earliest.
ii.The learned Judicial Magistrate No.I, Kovilpatti, shall send a copy of his report to this Court in a sealed cover and keep the original report with him in safe custody and hand over the same to the Investigating Officer of the C.B.I.
iii.The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kovilpatti Range, shall hand over the Case Diaries in Kovilpatti East P.S. Cr. Nos.649 and 650 of 2020, to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Tuticorin, for safe custody, who, in turn, shall hand over the same to the Investigating Officer of the C.B.I.
iv.Though the accused in Sathankulam P.S.Cr. No.312 of 2020, viz., Jayaraj and Bennicks, are no more, the Superintendent of Police, Tuticorin District, shall hand over the Case Diary and other related records in Sathankulam P.S. Cr. No.312 of 2020 to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Tuticorin, who, in turn, shall hand over the same to the Investigating Officer of the C.B.I., as those records will aid the C.B.I. Investigation.
Finally, coming to the suggestion put forth by this Court in the order of June 24 qua addressing the psychological needs of the policemen and their family members, the bench noted that the State Government had already launched a scheme called “Police Wellbeing Programme” in collaboration with NIMHANS, Bangalore,and has allocated a sum of Rs.10 crores towards that scheme.
The bench required the Additional Advocate General to ascertain as to whether the said programme is being continued or not and apprise us of it.