New Delhi: Around twenty-three years after a woman ASI had manhandled a doctor along with his family members in connection with a dowry case, the Supreme Court has now ordered an FIR against the concerned officer and other police personnel.
The concerned officer, who has now been promoted to the post of DSP, had allegedly dragged the doctor and his kin by the hair and manhandled them. Even though a lower court had earlier directed for registering an FIR against the police officers, the order was later quashed by the High Court bench as it noted that a sanction for prosecution was necessary.
However, setting aside the HC order, the top court bench observed, “Looking at the nature of the allegations in the complaint, at this stage, it is impossible to conclude that the acts allegedly done by the first respondent were committed by her while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of her official duty. Therefore, at this stage, we cannot conclude that a sanction under Section 197 of Cr.P.C. was required. In the facts of the case, the final view on this issue can be taken only after the evidence is recorded.”
“Therefore, there was no reason for the High Court to quash the proceedings at this stage on the ground that a sanction under Section 197 was mandatory,” it further noted.
The history of the case goes back to 2000 and the incident took place at Kotwali police station in Jabalpur. Dr. Mansoori was married to one Anjum, who had filed a complaint on January 18, 2000 against the doctor and his family members for the offences punishable under Section 498A, and Section 506 read with Section 34 of IPC as well as Section 3 read with Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1964.
It was alleged by the doctor that Smt. Parmar, the then ASI along with other police personnel had arrived at the house of the doctor and abused them. He further alleged that he had been dragged out of his room by the hair and the cops had allegedly beat him and his family members with sticks.
Further, the doctor had alleged that the ASI had snatched a gold chain, and by showing a pistol, the officer had also took out cash amount of Rs 15,000 from the almirah along with four golden ornaments. Apart from this, the police officers allegedly demanded Rs 30,000 from the family members of the doctor.
On the basis of the complaint, a lower court had framed charges against the concerned police officer. However, when she approached the HC bench, the court quashed the charges framed against the officer on the ground that a prior sanction under Section 197 of Cr.P.C. was not obtained.
While considering the matter, the top court bench noted,
“Going by the assertions in the complaint filed by the appellant, prima facie, it appears that without any authority, the first respondent, along with other police personnel, entered the house of the appellant early in the morning and committed the offences alleged against them. Looking at the nature of the allegations in the complaint, at this stage, it is impossible to conclude that the acts allegedly done by the first respondent were committed by her while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of her official duty.”
The top court bench set aside the order of the HC bench and observed, “Accordingly, the impugned judgment is set aside and the order of the learned Trial Court of framing charges is restored. The appeal is, accordingly, allowed.”
“However, we make it clear that the observations and findings recorded in this judgment are for limited purposes of considering a challenge to the order of the High Court. Nothing observed in this judgment shall be construed as any final adjudication on the merits of the pending complaint including the issue of sanction,” it clarified.
To view the order, click on the link below: