Magistrate to take final call on closure report of Palghar girls

Written By Unknown on Senin, 21 Januari 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Without an inquiry by the magistrate, ShaheenDhada and RenuSrinivasan cannot be discharged from the case against them filed by the Palghar Police over the Facebook post following the death of Shiv Sena chief BalThackeray. It is not clear how much time this may take. While the law allows police to close a case if after investigating it finds that it is false, undetected or neither true nor false, the ultimate decision to accept such a closure report rests with the magistrate.

What is absolutely essential to know is that such a closure cannot be done unless the complainant who lodged the FIR is heard by the magistrate.

The Supreme Court in several judgments has made it clear that it is mandatory for a magistrate to issue a notice to the informant and hear him or her too.

Advocate Shrikant Bhat said, " a hearing must be given by the magistrate to the complainant as part of principles of natural justice and legal requirement.''

The complainant has a locus to be heard and law requires that he must be given a copy of the chargesheet and can contest the closure report. But in practice, said advocate Shrikant Bhat, often closure reports are accepted by magistrates without conducting an inquiry. In this case since it has become high profile the magistrate is following the rules thoroughly.

Even later, if the magistrate accepts the C Summarythe complainant may seek a review of the order by approaching a higher court.

Section-173(ii) of Cr PC also mandates the police to inform the person who had filed the FIR about its action to close a case. Such information by the police must be in writing.

In the Palghar Facebook case it means the police had to inform the Shiv Sena leader who had filed the complaint that they have submitted the C-Summaryreport and were seeking the discharge of the two accused girls. Similarly as part of mandatory procedure, the magistrate has to give the Shiv Sena leader an opportunity to file his say on the police report. According to law, the magistrate has to conduct his own inquiry into the closure report and then give an order.

"C-Summary' s requested from the Magistrate when the case neither proved to be true nor proved to be false.

In all the three categories ( A or B or C Summary), the conclusions of the police are not binding. The Magistrate can also ask the police to justify their conclusions by producing evidence. There is a kind of preliminary hearing before the Magistrate accepts the Police summaryin either one of the three categories.

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