Taking a strong note of non-filing of chargesheets by the Investigating Officers (IOs) despite being forwarded by a senior officer, a Delhi court has sought the filing status of chargesheets forwarded in the last three years and said it would definitely “unearth many hidden ghosts” (files) and “wake many souls [IOs] from slumber”.
Non-filing of chargesheets despite being forwarded by a senior officer amounted to undermining the hierarchy and discipline of service, the court said.
It added that late filing of chargesheets despite timely completion of the investigation shook the confidence of an ordinary citizen in the justice delivery system.
A time period be fixed for filing forwarded chargesheets and IOs should be asked to strictly comply with it, the court said, adding that such time should not be more than 30 days from the date of forwarding of chargesheet by the ACP concerned.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arvind Bansal directed the Additional Commissioners of Police (ACPs) concerned to prepare a list of the chargesheets forwarded in the last three years – 2018 to 2020 – and sought status report of filing from the IOs concerned.
It further directed the ACPs concerned to devise a mechanism under the guidance of DCP (South-East) to check and ensure that all the chargesheets signed/forwarded by them were duly submitted with the court.
“It is observed that non-filing of chargesheets despite being forwarded by a senior officer amounts to undermining the hierarchy and discipline of service.
“The ACPs concerned should prepare a list of chargesheets forwarded in the last three years [2018-2020] and seek status of filing from the IOs concerned. It is firmly believed that the same would definitely unearth many hidden ghosts [files] and wake up many souls [IOs] from slumber,” the court said in its order passed on February 16.
It said retaining of “forwarded” files by IOs reflects a missing link in the chain of factors requiring expeditious administration of criminal justice. The court said it could not find any rule in the ‘standing order’ of the worthy Commissioner of Police, Delhi, requiring the IOs to submit the chargesheets with the court within a certain time.