KARACHI: A model court has fixed contempt of court proceedings against the deputy general of police (East) on May 16 for flouting its order for personal appearance on a show-cause notice in a decade-old murder case.
Additional district and sessions judge Haleem Ahmed of the model criminal trial court (East) directed the inspector general of police, Sindh, to ensure personal appearance of DIG-East Amir Farooqui on the next date of hearing so that the contempt proceedings could be initiated strictly in accordance with the law.
The proceedings against DIG Farooqui emanate from a decade-old criminal case pertaining to the murder of a 25-year-old Hindu man, Amit Kumar, student of the Jamshoro Engineering University, whose bullet-riddled body was found within the remit of the Sharea Faisal police station on Oct 11, 2008.
A relative of the deceased, Krishan Chand, had voluntarily surrendered to the police, but was found dead in the police station in November 2008.
Four police officials, including a deputy superintendent of police, were suspended and booked in a separate case pertaining to the killing of the under-trial prisoner from alleged torture in custody, but all were later acquitted of the charges by the court.
Ever since, Amir Kumar’s murder case remained pending until a second suspect, Sabir, surrendered before the trial court and obtained an interim pre-arrest bail last year.
A DSP was among the four police officials booked in the 2008 death in custody case
After facing delays, the case proceedings were recently transferred to the model court, which directed investigating officer of the case Sub-inspector Saleemullah to produce the original police papers of the case, but he failed to do so.
On April 17, the model court directed DIG Farooqui to issue necessary orders to IO SI Saleemullah to produce in court the original police papers of the case, which he did not do despite hectic efforts of the prosecution, the judge said on the last hearing.
Judge Haleem Ahmed noted with serious concern that despite a letter was received at DIG Amir Farooqui’s office, neither the court’s directive was complied with nor was any intimation regarding the non-compliance on his part was received by the court.
Taking exception to the attitude, the judge on April 29 issued a show-cause notice to the DIG to personally appear before the court within three days and show cause that why contempt of the court proceedings may not be initiated against him for the non-compliance of the court’s directive.
Later, the DIG submitted his reply through DSP Zahid Hussain that too after the passage of the stipulated period and stated the SSP Investigation-I East had been asked to direct the IO to produce the police papers in compliance with the court’s order and the intimation was also submitted to the court, the judge wrote in the order.
However, he noted that the record revealed that the court had not received any intimation regarding any direction issued by the DIG to the SSP concerned.
Copies of the police papers
He observed that the DIG’s reply further revealed that on the directive of the SSP concerned IO Saleemullah had submitted “attested copies” of the police papers to the court and handed them over to the state prosecutor though such copies were already available with the prosecution.
Prosecutor Muhammad Younus also confirmed that in his reply the DIG had not mentioned that why the original police papers of the oldest murder case were not made available.
The judge observed that in the absence of evidence in respect of the missing original police papers the attested copies were not admissible as evidence. He added that the DIG was personally summoned to explain the situation, but he did not appear nor did he show any reason or inability for his non-appearance before the court, a model criminal trial court conducting trials of murder cases on a day-to-day basis.
In his arguments, the prosecutor asked the judge to pass appropriate orders in this regard.
“From the reply submitted by the DIG Karachi East it appears that compliance for production of the original police papers is not made in letter and spirit nor did the Deputy Inspector General Karachi East appear in person to furnish a proper reply to the show-cause notice issued in pursuance of the order dated April 17,” the judge said.
He further said that DSP Zahid Hussain also did not give reason that why the DIG failed to appear before the court despite issuance of strict direction and service of the show-cause notice on him.
“Such intentional omission to assist the court constitutes offence under Section 187 of the PPC while non-attendance in obedience to the order of the court entails consequences under Section 174 of the PPC,” said the court order. “Moreover, no production of the original police papers falls within the ambit of an offence under Section 175 of the PPC.”
The judge observed that all these provisions fell within Chapter-X of the contempt of lawful authority of public servants in the PPC and ordered: “Let contempt proceedings be initiated against the DIG Karachi East strictly in accordance with the law.”
He directed the additional IG of the Karachi range to ensure personal appearance of the DIG concerned before the court so that the contempt proceedings, as envisaged in the above referred provisions, could be initiated.
The judge asked his office to “send a copy of the order to the inspector general police, Sindh, for his information and ensuring compliance through the AIG Karachi without fail” and fixed the matter on May 16.
Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2019