Prof. Rama Shankarnarayan … vs State Of A.P. Rep., By Its … on 19 January, 2018

HONBLE THE ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE RAMESH RANGANATHAN AND HONBLE MS. JUSTICE J.UMA DEVI

W.P.(PIL) No.186 of 2017 and batch

19-01-2018

Prof. Rama Shankarnarayan Melkote and three others..Petitioner

State of A.P. rep., by its Principal Secretary, Home Department, A.P. Secretariat Buildings at Velagapudi, Amaravathi, Guntu

Counsel for Petitioners: Ms. Vasudha Nagaraj

Counsel for respondents: Government Pleader for Home

GIST:

HEAD NOTE:

?Citations:

1) (2014) 5 SCC 108
2) 2013 (1) ALD (Crl.) 519 (SC)
3) ILR (1973) 2 PH 561 1974 Crl.L.J 970
4) (2008) 2 SCC 383 : (2008) 1 SCC (Cri) 427
5) (1979) 2 SCC 322
6) 1974 Crl.L.J. 970 ILR (1973) 2 PH 561
7) (1998) 5 SCC 223
8) (1992) 1 SCC 397
9) (2004) 4 SCC 158
10) (2016) 3 SCC 135 : (2016) 1 SCC (Cri) 743
11) (2010) 6 SCC 1
12) (2014) 5 SCC 154
13) (2003) 11 SCC 271
14) (2014) 2 SCC 532
15) (2011) 12 SCC 302 : (2012) 1 SCC (Cri) 559
16) (2008) 1 SCC 407 AIR 2008 SC 180
17) (2011) 5 SCC 79

HONBLE THE ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE RAMESH RANGANATHAN
AND
HONBLE MS. JUSTICE J. UMA DEVI

W.P.(PIL) No.186 of 2017 and W.P.No.25434 of 2017

COMMON ORDER: (per Honble the Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan)

The investigating officials and the prosecutors involved in presenting
this case have miserably failed in discharging their duties. They have been
instrumental in denying to serve the cause of justice. The misery of the family
of the victim has remained unredressed. The perpetrators of a horrendous
crime, involving extremely ruthless and savage treatment to the victim, have
remained unpunished. A heartless and merciless criminal, who has committed
an extremely heinous crime, has gone scot-free. He must be walking around, in
some city/town in India, with his head held high. A criminal on the move.
Fearless and fearsome. Fearless now, because he could not be administered the
punishment he ought to have suffered. And fearsome, on account of his having
remained unaffected by the brutal crime committed by him. His actions now
know of no barriers. He could be expected to act in an unfathomable savage
manner, uncomprehendable to a sane mind.

These words, though not ours but are those of the Supreme
Court in State of Gujarat v. Kishanbhai , squarely apply to the
case on hand.

The body of the deceased-Miss. Ayesha Meera, according to
the police, was found naked, in the bathroom of a ladies hostel at
Vijayawada on 27.12.2007, lying in a pool of blood around her
head, with blood oozing from both her nostrils and ears. Her right
leg was found tied with a towel to a water tap, and her left leg was
found bent. The English letter H in capital, and the words
Prema Chirutha in Telugu were found written on her bare chest
and right thigh. There was a huge swelling behind the head of the
deceased with two injury marks on the left side of her upper and
lower lips with corresponding incisions inside. What is even more
nauseating is that the murderer is said to have had sexual
intercourse with the dead body only to mislead the investigating
agency into believing that the victim was first raped and then killed
to satiate the lust of the killer.

Less than three years after the murder of Miss. Ayesha
Meera on 27.12.2007, Sri Satyam Babu was sentenced to life
imprisonment on 29.09.2010 for the offences of rape and murder.
He suffered incarceration for more than six and half years
thereafter, till he was acquitted and let free by the Division Bench
of this Court by its judgment in Criminal Appeal No.1518 of 2010
dated 31.03.2017. All that Shri Satyam Babu, who was falsely
accused of having committed this ghastly and heinous crime, has
so far been compensated, for the illegal deprivation of his liberty
for the past several years, is Rs.1.00 Lakh which the Division
Bench had directed the State to pay him.

The gruesome murder of a young girl, then aged 17 years,
shocked people all over the State, and was newspaper headlines for
several days. The murderer is still on the loose for the past more
than a decade. A botched investigation resulted in an innocent
young man being convicted of rape and murder, and made to
suffer imprisonment for several years. The agonised parents of the
deceased want to know who killed their elder daughter and why?,
and thereby seek closure to the trauma they are undergoing ever
since her violent death. This, in short, is the case before us.

W.P. (PIL) No.186 of 2017 is filed by three public spirited
citizens – a Retired Professor of Osmania University, a Journalist
and a social activist, and W.P. No.25434 of 2017 is filed by the
parents of the deceased. In both the Writ Petitions, the relief
sought for is to direct the respondents to forthwith initiate re-
investigation of the circumstances leading to the murder of Miss.
Ayesha Meera by a Special Investigation Team consisting of police
officials with a known track record of integrity and impartiality,
and for such investigation to be monitored by this Court in order to
ensure a fair and impartial investigation to expose and punish the
actual offenders responsible for the gruesome murder. The
parents of the deceased seek a further direction for action to be
taken against the investigation/ prosecuting officials, and other
officers hitherto involved in the illegal investigation of the murder
of Miss. Ayesha Meera.

The petitioners in W.P. No.25434 of 2017 are the parents of
Miss. Ayesha Meera, a student of B. Pharmacy, who was, during
the relevant period, staying in Sree Durga Ladies Hostel,
Ibrahimpatnam, Vijayawada. She was dropped at the said hostel
on 26.12.2017 by her mother and, on the intervening night of
26/27.12.2017, suffered a gruesome and a bloody death.
According to the prosecution, this young girl aged 17 years was
murdered and raped on 27.12.2017 at about 2.00 A.M. The
Inspector of Police (P.W-30) who initially took up investigation,
inspected the scene of offence and got an observation report
drafted. He prepared a rough sketch of the scene of the offence
and the entire building, and seized certain material objects. In the
inquest held at 12.00 noon on 27.12.2017, P.Ws-1, 2, 4, 7, 13 and
another, in their
Section 161 CrPC statements, stated that the
deceased was raped and murdered on being hit on her head with a
blunt and heavy object. The body of the deceased was sent to the
Government Hospital, Vijayawada for post-mortem examination.
The doctors, who conducted the autopsy, sent the viscera, the
viginal swabs and smears, and the pubic hair of the deceased for
chemical analysis. Based on the chemical examination report
received on 31.01.2008, the medical officers opined that there was
recent sexual intercourse, and the death was caused due to head
injury.

During the course of investigation P.W-32 got the polygraph
and DNA tests conducted on several suspects, and their hand
writings and footprint impressions compared with the samples
collected from the scene of the offence. He suspected the complicity
of one dossier criminal of Patamata Police Station, namely,
Guruvindar Singh Anand @ Laddu of Gurunanak Colony,
Patamata, Vijayawada as he was supposed to have had a similar
crime history in the past. As the DNA profile and the handwriting
sample obtained from the said Guruvindar Singh Anand did not
match with the DNA sample and the handwriting of the offender,
P.W-32 continued investigation till his transfer on 13.08.2008.

The investigation was, thereafter, taken up by the Assistant
Commissioner of Police, Central Zone (P.W-33) who claimed that he
came to know that, on 17.08.2008 at 01.00 hours, Sri Satyam
Babu was arrested by the Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Nandigama
(P.W-31) (near Polytechnic College located on the bypass road,
Nandigama) in connection with Crime No.241 of 2008 under
Sections 450, 457 and 380 IPC of Nandigama police station and,
during interrogation, he voluntarily confessed to have committed
the murder and rape of the deceased, on the intervening night of
26/27.12.2007, at Durga Ladies hostel. P.W-33 obtained a
Prisoner Transit Warrant on 18.08.2008 from the Court against Sri
Satyam Babu, and took him into police custody on 29.08.2008.
During investigation, the accused was said to have voluntarily
confessed to the rape and murder; and to have admitted to have
killed the deceased with a chutney pounder which he had,
allegedly, taken from the bushes in the front yard of the house of
P.W-10 wherefrom the chutney pounder was recovered.

The alleged confessional statement of Sri Satyam Babu was
that he had a strong sexual urge, as his wife has discarded him; he
had fear of contacting AIDS, and having to spend money if he went
to sex workers; he went to a second show cinema, and came to the
bus stop thereafter with the intention of going to his house; when
he was waiting for a bus or a lorry, he saw a lady under the light of
the verandah on the second floor of the left side building of the
hostel; as he had a sexual urge on seeing her, he jumped over the
compound wall of the said building and reached the top of the bath
room; from there he entered the first floor, and from there he went
to the second floor; he pushed the door on the right side of the
steps, but it did not open; from the window he saw ladies sleeping,
and the door situated on the left side of the steps open; he entered
the hall and found many cots, and on one of the cots a lady was
sleeping facing the wall; her head faced the window, and her legs
towards the door; nobody was found on the remaining cots; he saw
two ladies sleeping in the kitchen; on seeing the lady sleeping in
the hall, he had a sexual desire; he thought that, if he indulged in
a sexual act at that place, the lady may cry and the remaining
ladies may wake up; he decided to fulfil his sexual desire after
beating her; as he could not find a weapon, he went inside the
compound of the adjacent building, and found a chutney pounder;
then he took the chutney pounder and went to the second floor,
and reached the cot of the deceased where she was sleeping as she
earlier was; he bet her with the chutney pounder on the left side of
her head; and after making a sound kui she kept quiet; he then
dragged her to the bathroom where he raped her and satisfied his
sexual desire.

On a charge sheet being filed, the Trial Court framed charges
against the accused on 12.07.2009. P.Ws-1 to 34 were examined
on behalf of the prosecution, Exs.P-1 to P-51 were marked and
Mos-1 to 14 were produced. Exs.X-1 to X-5 were marked through
witnesses. While no oral evidence was let in on behalf of the
defence, Exs.D-1 to D-5 and the relevant portions of the
Section
161 Cr.P.C statements, of certain prosecution witnesses, were
marked. The Trial Court disposed of the Sessions Case by its
judgment dated 29.09.2010 holding the accused guilty of the
offence of rape and murder, and sentenced him to life
imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/- and, in default of
payment of fine, to suffer simple imprisonment for six months for
the offence under
Section 302 IPC, and to undergo rigorous
imprisonment for ten years and to pay fine of Rs.1,000/- and, in
default of payment of fine, to suffer simple imprisonment for six
months for the offence under
Section 376 IPC. Aggrieved thereby,
the accused filed Criminal Appeal No.1518 of 2010 before this
Court. The Division Bench, while acquitting Sri Satyam Babu by
its judgment in Crl.A. No.1518 of 2010 dated 31.03.2017, observed
that the real culprits were required to be identified and punished,
and failure to do so would amount to miscarriage of justice.
Consequent thereto, our jurisdiction under
Article 226 of the
Constitution of India has been invoked seeking re-investigation
into the circumstances leading to the murder of Miss. Ayesha
Meera.

We had, by our order dated 01.08.2017, directed the
Principal Secretary (Home), who is also the Chairman of the Apex
Committee, to submit a report to this Court regarding the action, if
any, taken by the Committee till date pursuant to the judgment of
the Division bench in Criminal Appeal No.1518 of 2010 dated
31.03.2017. In her report, the Principal Secretary (Home) stated
that it was proposed to order re-investigation of the case by
constituting a Special Investigation Team headed by an officer of
the rank of Deputy Inspector General of Police, with lady police
officers and supervised by the Commissioner of Police, Vijayawada;
the Director General of Police had submitted a proposal on
01.08.2017, pursuant to which G.O.Ms. No.132 dated 04.08.2017
was issued permitting constitution of a Special Investigation Team
to re-investigate Crime No.477 of 2007 under
Sections 302 and
376 IPC of Ibrahimpatnam police station; and the Apex Committee,
constituted vide G.O.Ms. No.20 dated 14.02.2017, had met on
03.08.2017 and had taken a decision in the matter.

When the matter was listed before us on 10.08.2017, a copy
of the proceedings issued by the Director General of Police on
08.08.2017, constituting a Special Investigating Team for re-
investigation of the murder of Miss.Ayesha Meera, in Cr. No.477 of
2007 under
Sections 302 and 376 IPC of Ibrahimpatnam police
station, Vijayawada, was placed before us. The said proceedings
refers to the Special Investigation Team to consist of (1) Sri Ch.
Srikanth, IPS, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Visakhapatnam
Range, Visakhapatnam; (2) Ms. D. Hymavathi, Deputy
Superintendent of Police; (3) Ms. Sreelakshmi, Deputy
Superintendent of Police; and (4) Md. Saherunnisa Begum,
Inspector of Police, Nunna, Krishna District; and that the Special
Investigation Team should take up re-investigation of the case
immediately under the supervision of the Commissioner of Police,
Vijayawada. On 31.08.2017, the Learned Government Pleader for
Home placed before us a copy of the order passed by the IV
Additional Chief Metropollitan Magistrate, Vijayawada, in C.F.
No.4848 of 2017 dated 19.08.2017, rejecting the application filed
by the Special Investigation Team to conduct re-investigation in
Crime No.477 of 2017 under
Section 173(8) Cr.P.C.

In her counter-affidavit dated 04.09.2017, the Principal
Secretary (Home) stated that the IV Additional Metropolitan
Magistrate, Vijayawada had, by order in C.F. No.4848 of 2017
dated 09.08.2017, rejected the petition filed by the investigating
officer, under
Section 173(8) Cr.P.C, holding that he had no power
to direct further investigation; and, on presentation of a report
under
Section 173(2) Cr.P.C, he lacked power to direct a fresh
investigation to be caused. Placing reliance on the judgment of the
Supreme Court in
Vinay Tyagi v. Irshad Ali @ Depak , the
Principal Secretary (Home) submitted that it is only on the orders
of Higher Courts can such investigation be conducted, in which
event the Higher Courts should pass specific orders with regard to
the fate of the investigation already conducted and the report filed;
and this Court may pass appropriate orders.

Before examining the question whether fresh investigation
should be directed to be caused, it is necessary to understand the
distinction between further investigation and fresh
investigation. While
Section 173(8) CrPC permits the former, it
does not provide for the latter. Investigation can be ordered by the
Court in varied forms, and at different stages. Right at the initial
stage of receiving the FIR or a complaint, the Court can direct
investigation in accordance with the provisions of
Section 156(1),
in the exercise of its powers under
Section 156(3) Cr.P.C.
Investigation can be of the following kinds (i) Initial Investigation;

(ii) Further Investigation; (iii) Fresh or de novo or re-investigation.
(Vinay Tyagi1). There is no provision in the
CrPC which, expressly
or by necessary implication, bars the right of the police to further
investigate, after cognizance of the case has been taken by the
Magistrate. Practice, convenience and preponderance of authority,
permits repeated investigation on discovery of fresh facts. (
State v.
Mehar Singh ). Notwithstanding that a Magistrate has taken
cognizance of the offence upon a police report submitted under
Section 173 Cr.P.C, the right of the police to further investigate is
not exhausted. The police can exercise such right as often as
necessary when fresh information comes to light. Where they
desire to make further investigation, the police can seek the formal
permission of the Court to make further investigation. (
State of
A.P. v. A.S. Peter ;
Ram Lal Narang v. State (Delhi Admn.) ;
State v. Mehar Singh ). It is in the interests of both the
prosecution and the defence that the police should have the power
to make further investigation and submit a supplemental report.
That the final word is with the Magistrate is sufficient safeguard
against any excessive use or abuse of the power of the police to
make further investigation. (Mehar Singh6).

As further investigation is a continuation of the earlier
investigation, which culminates in a further police report under
Section 173(8), it necessarily means that any further investigation
should be made only by the investigation agency which was earlier
entrusted with investigation by the State Government. (A.S.
Peter4;
K. Chandrasekhar v. State of Kerala ). The right of the
police is to cause a further investigation under
Section 173(8)
Cr.PC, and not a fresh investigation or reinvestigation. The
dictionary meaning of further (when used as an adjective) is
additional; more; supplemental. Further investigation, therefore, is
the continuation of the earlier investigation and not a fresh
investigation or reinvestigation to be started ab initio wiping out
the earlier investigation altogether.
Section 173(8) envisages that,
on completion of further investigation, the investigating agency has
to forward to the Magistrate a further report or reportsand not a
fresh report or reportsregarding the further evidence obtained
during such investigation. (A.S. Peter4; K. Chandrasekhar7). In
the light of the judgment of the Division Bench, in Criminal Appeal
No.1518 of 2010 dated 31.03.2017, absolving the accused of the
charge, the question of the earlier investigating agency causing a
further investigation under
Section 173(8) Cr.PC does not arise.
What necessitates examination, in these writ proceedings, is
whether a fresh or a denovo investigation should be caused?

Before examining this question, it is necessary to consider
the power of the High Court, in proceedings under
Article 226 of
the Constitution of India, to direct re-investigation/fresh
investigation, and the circumstances in which such power should
be exercised. In a given situation, to do justice between the parties
and to instil confidence in public mind, it may become necessary to
pass orders entrusting investigation to a specialized agency.
(
Gudalure M.J. Cherian v. Union of India ; Vinay Tyagi2). In the
case of a ‘fresh investigation’, ‘reinvestigation’ or ‘de novo
investigation’ there has to be a definite order of the Court. The
order should, unambiguously, state whether the previous
investigation, for reasons to be recorded, is incapable of being
acted upon. Superior courts have the jurisdiction, under
Section
482 CrPC or under
Article 226 of the Constitution of India, to
direct ‘fresh’ or ‘de novo’ and even ‘reinvestigation’. ‘Fresh’, ‘de
novo’, and ‘reinvestigation’ are synonymous expressions, and their
result in law would be the same. The Superior Courts are also
vested with the power of transferring investigation from one agency
to another, provided ends of justice so demand. This power should,
however, be exercised by the Superior Courts very sparingly and
with great circumspection. (Vinay Tyagi2).

Unlike a further investigation, in the case of fresh
investigation, reinvestigation or de novo investigation, there
has to be a definite order of the Court. The order of the Court
should, unambiguously, state whether the previous investigation,
for reasons to be recorded, is incapable of being acted upon.
Neither the Investigating agency nor the Magistrate has any power
to order or conduct ‘fresh investigation’, as that would be opposed
to the scheme
of the Criminal Procedure Code. It is only upon the
orders of the Higher Courts, empowered to pass such orders, that
a fresh investigation can be conducted. (Vinay Tyagi2). Cases,
where an order of ‘fresh’/’de novo’ investigation, can be passed by
the higher judiciary are few and far between. (Vinay Tyagi2).
Where the investigation is ex-facie unfair, tainted, mala fide and
smacks of foul play, the Courts would direct a fresh or de novo
investigation; and, if necessary, even by another independent
investigating agency. This is a power of wide plenitude and should,
therefore, be exercised sparingly. The principle of rarest of rare
cases would squarely apply to such cases. Unless the unfairness of
the investigation is such that it pricks its judicial conscience, the
Court should be reluctant to interfere in such matters. (Vinay
Tyagi2).

As a fresh investigation can only be directed in the rarest of
rare cases, that too when the unfairness of the investigation pricks
its judicial conscience, it is necessary to examine the case of the
prosecution, and the observations of the Division Bench in its
judgment in Criminal Appeal No.1518 of 2010 dated 31.03.2017,
albeit in brief. The case of the prosecution was that P.W-34, who
joined as the ACP, West Zone, took up investigation on 29.09.2008
and had a sexual potency test conducted on the accused (Shri
Satyam Babu) on 25.10.2008. The prosecution concluded that, on
27.12.2007 at about 2.00 A.M, the accused had intruded into the
Sri Durga Ladies Hostel with a sexual urge, and had jumped the
compound wall of the building; he reached the roof top of the
bathroom located in the front yard of the building, climbed upto
the first floor of the hostel building, reached the second floor
through the stair case, entered into the room located in the 6th
floor, found the deceased sleeping alone on the cot and the
remaining inmates sleeping in the adjacent rooms; with an
intention to commit the offence of rape on her, and escape from a
possible attack by any inmate, the accused went down and
brought the chutney pounder from the neighbouring house of P.W-
10 and, with the intention to rape and murder her, he forcibly hit
the deceased with a chutney pounder causing grievous head
injury. He then lifted her from the cot, brought her to the
verandah, dragged her into the bath room located at the south
eastern corner of the same floor, removed her clothes, tied her
right leg to the water tap with a towel, bent her left leg and raped
her; later he came back to her room, pulled out the bag of the
deceased, took out two other suitcases and ransacked the articles;
he took Rs.500/-, some change, two pens and a pencil from the
bag of the deceased, and went back to the bath room; he wrote the
English letter H in capital, and the letters Prema Chirutha in
Telugu, on the chest of the deceased; he returned and collected the
photocopy of a non-judicial stamp paper and a pen from the bag of
the deceased, and wrote a letter on the reverse of the stamp paper,
addressing the inmates of the ladies hostel in Telugu, requesting
them to forgive him for the murder and rape of the accused; he
then wrote on the other side of the same paper, on the typed
matter, the words Chirutha, Cheran Teja, 143 and love
symbols; leaving the document there, he left the scene of the
offence with the chutney pounder, got down the same way in which
he entered the building, reached the place where he collected the
chutney pounder, threw it in the bushes located in the front yard
of the house of P.W10; and, thereafter, he went to Ibrahimpatnam
Ring Centre, and spent considerable time at the Sealand Tea Stall.

This case of the prosecution was shred to bits by the
Division Bench in its judgment in Criminal Appeal No.1518 of
2010 dated 31.03.2017. The Division Bench held that it was not
the case of the prosecution that the accused had any previous
acquaintance with the deceased, or the hostel in which she was
staying; there were serious contradictions between Exs.P.6 and
P.17; while the contents of Ex.P.6 suggested that the accused had
a previous acquaintance with the deceased, Ex.P.17 showed that
he went into the hostel to satisfy his lust, and he accidentally
chose the deceased who was found sleeping alone in the hall, while
the other girls were sleeping in the kitchen next to the hall where
the deceased was sleeping; the motive theory, set up by the
prosecution, was not only self-contradictory, but was also too
artificial to be accepted; in her evidence, PW-1 (mother of the
deceased) deposed that, initially, the police suspected the cook of
the hostel-Siva Anjaneyulu, the maternal uncle of the deceased,
Laddu and Upendra Singh; the accused had been implicated
without conducting a narco-analysis test on the seven suspects
despite the direction issued by the High Court; the scribe of Ex.P-
16 inquest report was the best person to speak about its
preparation, and the presence or otherwise of the parents of the
deceased at that time; for reasons best known to the Police, the
scribe was not examined; the parents of the deceased had deposed
that they did not see the dead body of the deceased till 3.30 P.M,
and Ex.P-16-inquest report was prepared after the dead body of
their daughter was handed over to them in the evening.

The Division Bench observed that there was any amount of
suspicion regarding the version of the prosecution that the inquest
report was prepared in the presence of the parents of the deceased;
the submission of the Learned Counsel for the accused was that,
before the parents of the deceased were permitted to see the dead
body, the police had reconstructed the scene of the offence in order
to shield the real culprits; from the evidence of PW.6, it was evident
that there were 55 students in the hostel consisting of two portions
on the second floor, and a single portion on the third floor with a
room above it and a water tank by its side; the distance between
the room of the deceased, and the bedroom in which she and
others were staying, was about seven or eight feet; the entire
corridor on the ground floor, i.e., open space between the two
buildings (blocks) was secured by a grill with a door on it; all the
blocks were secured to prevent outsiders from entering the
building and the entire block; the distance (gap) between the main
building, and the toilet on the ground floor, was eight feet; for a
person to reach the first floor, he was not only required to reach
the top of the toilet, but also latch on to the top of the parapet wall
of the first floor of the main building flying across a height of six
feet and five inches, covering the horizontal distance of eight feet
between the toilet and the main building; and the accused had
allegedly performed this feat not once but twice, and the second
time with a chutney pounder in his hand.

The Division Bench opined that, in Ex.P.15scene of offence
observation report, it was recorded that, adjacent to the cot of the
deceased where she was sleeping, there was an one wall-almirah
with two parallel racks in which the deceased kept her articles;
there was a blood stain of about 2.00 cms in size on the edge of the
first rack; in between the two racks, there was a cement plank
placed parallel to the head place of the cot; there were blood stains
on the floor on the western side of the cot of the deceased; there
were blood stains towards the eastern door way of the 6th block,
indicating that the body was brought from the cot (upto the door),
it was dragged from there to the verandah towards the 5th block on
the eastern side, from there towards the north east side, and from
there the body was further dragged to the southern side upto the
bath room which was used by the hostel ladies; the prosecution
wanted the Court to believe that the accused had not only gained
access to the second floor, but had also sneaked into the hall, hit
the deceased with a chutney pounder, single handedly lifted her
upto the main door of the 6th block, and had dragged her for a
distance of about 60 feet; the 5th block also contained a hall and
two bed rooms which were allotted to, and were occupied by,
several hostel students; the accused is alleged to have dragged the
deceased on the verandah running from East to West in front of
one bed room, and the hall of the 5th block, for some distance, and
then from North to South for some more distance; that all the
while, till he accomplished this task and left the building, not even
a single inmate had noticed the offender committing a series of
these alleged acts; even in a surprise attack, the victim would raise
alarm if she was attacked, and the deceased had allegedly made
only a feeble sound kue and nothing more; and it was impossible
for anyone to believe that the accused had gone about his violent
acts, of murder and alleged rape, in a silent and serene manner
without attracting anyones attention even if it had taken place
during the dead of the night.

The Division Bench further held that yet another doubtful
circumstance was the non-bolting of the door opening into the hall
where the deceased was sleeping; the theory of the prosecution,
that the hall door was kept unbolted paving the way for the
offender to straight away enter the hall without the aid and
assistance of insiders, was difficult to accept; the accused was
alleged not only to have killed the deceased, but to have raped her
not knowing whether she was fully dead or not; he had allegedly
brought two suitcases belonging to the deceased to the eastern
side corridor from the hall near the scene of the offence, and had
thrown the clothes and papers from the suit cases in a pelmel; he
had picked up ball point pens and a writing pencil, and had
allegedly written certain letters, and made marks on the right thigh
and chest of the dead body; it was not even the case of the
prosecution that the accused had prior acquaintance with the
deceased, and had made any proposal in the past that she love
him or have a relationship with him; it was highly incredulous that
he would commit all the aforementioned acts, after allegedly
committing murder and rape; in the absence of past acquaintance
with the deceased, it was difficult to believe that the accused had
picked up pens and pencil, leisurely written letters on the chest of
the deceased, apart from addressing a letter to the hostel-mates
about the purpose of his entering the hostel building, his killing
and raping the deceased, and apologizing for what he had done; all
these acts would have taken a substantial amount of time for the
accused; it defied natural human conduct for a stranger to do such
acts, once he satisfied his sexual urge; and at least when he
noticed that the deceased stopped breathing, and suspected that
she had died, the accused would have been in a hurry to leave the
hostel building as early as possible, due to fear of being noticed or
caught, especially as around 55 persons were present around him
in close proximity.

The Division Bench further observed that, if the accused had
committed all those acts, his clothes would have been drenched
with blood, oozing from the body of the deceased due to the head
injury, as the bloodstains and drag marks noticed in the hall,
verandah and bathroom would indicate; similarly, the body of the
deceased would have been full of blood; Ex.P.16 inquest report
indicated that there was a pool of blood near the head, and blood
was oozing from both the nostrils and both the ears of the
deceased; huge swelling was found behind the head; no blood was
noticed on any part of the body; P.W.11, the tea stall owner, had
deposed that, at around 5.30 a.m. on 27.12.2007, the accused had
come to his shop and was in the shop till 11.00 a.m. watching TV;
he was moving in the tea stall, and also in its surroundings,
purchasing tea and cigarettes; usually a person coming to his shop
would stay for 5 or 10 minutes, but the accused was near his shop
approximately for 5 hours; and with blood all over his clothes, the
accused could not have put up a normal appearance.

The Division Bench further opined that the scene of the
offence was surrounded by hostel inmates with the certain
possibility of even a small noise catching the attention of one or the
other inmates; the very attack on the deceased, without drawing
attention of the inmates, was wholly impossible; even if the
accused had resorted to such daredevilry, and was lucky to escape,
it was not possible to believe that any person, in whatever state of
mind, would ransack the baggage of the deceased, leisurely write
on her body, and address a letter without panicking after
committing the ghastly acts of murder and rape.

The Division Bench also held that the chance of the accused
finding the chutney pounder in the middle of the night, in the
neighbouring premises itself, was very remote; the accused
carrying M.O.7 of 63 cms in length and 16.5 cms in circumference,
climbing the building and jumping to the first floor with the
chutney pounder, also seemed impossible; even if he could do so,
his carefully carrying the chutney pounder while climbing down
the building, and putting it at the same place from where he had
picked it up, also defied logic; if the accused had placed the
chutney pounder in the same place to cause disappearance of
evidence, it defied ones comprehension as to why he had left many
things, such as the colour pens, pencil, and Ex.P.4 paper allegedly
used by him, at the scene of offence.

The Division bench noted that PW.10 the owner of the
house, located adjacent to the hostel from where MO.7 was
allegedly seized, had identified MO.7; and from the admission of
PW.10, that his son was under the police scanner apart from the
fact that his blood samples were taken for FSL examination and he
was also subjected to Polygraph test, it was reasonable to presume
that this witness was under pressure to save his son, and he had
every reason to oblige the Police to depose in support of the case of
the prosecution.

On the probability of rape, the Division Bench, after referring
to the material evidence in this regard, observed that absence of
any struggle marks over the body, or injuries to the private parts,
lead them to believe that there was no possibility of committing
rape on the deceased even once, leave alone twice, without causing
injuries to her private parts; de-hors rape, the motive for the
accused to attack the deceased was non-existent; and these
circumstances clearly suggested that the theory of rape was
evidently floated by the investigating agency to divert attention of
the Court from the real culprits and to hide the truth.

The botched investigation came in for severe criticism by the
Division Bench which found it impossible to believe that no
fingerprints were found on the body of the deceased which was
dragged, and on which words were written; it was impossible for
the accused to erase all those prints; there should have been a
number of footprints when the accused was handling the deceased
right from the hall where the attack had taken place upto the
bathroom; the prosecution had failed to explain the two injuries on
the left side of the upper lip and the lower lip of the deceased with
corresponding incisions inside; it was contended, on behalf of the
accused, that, when the deceased was pushed against the wall, her
head hit the wall leading to the breaking of the base of her skull
causing bleeding from her nose and mouth and, fearing that she
may shout, the assailant had smothered her, and throttled her
throat probably by pressing her face down against the pillow, and
she must have died of asphyxia; they had relied upon the post-
mortem report showing that there was sub-conjunctival petechial
haemorrhage on both eyes, indicative of throttling the throat or
asphyxia; they had also pointed out the presence of rigor mortis all
over the body and post-mortem ant-bites present here and there,
indicative of the body being left lying for a long time so as to attract
ants to feed on the body; the defence had relied on Ex.P.15 scene
of the offence observation report wherein the presence of a blood
mark of 2 x 2 cms, on the cement wall almyrah next to the bed of
the deceased, was noted; Ex.P.38 photographs clearly showed the
pillow drenched in a pool of blood; and the medical report showed
injuries on the left side of her skull and left lips.

The Division Bench agreed with the submission of the
Counsel for the accused that the investigating agency had failed to
take the investigation to its logical end, regarding the blood marks
on the corner of the built-in wall almirah, the possibility of death
due to throttling, and presence of a large amount of blood on the
pillow and the bed portion.

The Division Bench opined that such investigation was very
much required for the reason that when the deceased was hit
against the wall, with the left side of her head hitting the wall,
there was a possibility of a contusion being caused on the left
temporo parietal region; in the process there was also a possibility
of injuries being caused on the left side of both the upper and
lower lips; the possibility of injuries to both the left side upper and
lower lips, with corresponding internal injuries being caused, when
the face of the deceased was pressed down against the pillow, and
her being throttled and suffocated, could not be ruled out; had the
deceased been hit on the head with M.O.7, there may not be any
possibility of existence of blood marks on the built-in almirah
portion of the wall, and similarly it was highly improbable for the
deceased to receive injuries on the upper and lower lips; the
probability of the assailant hitting the head of the deceased against
the wall and throttling her against the pillow, leading to profuse
bleeding through the nose, could not be ruled out.

It is evident from the aforesaid observations of the Division
Bench that the earlier investigation was extremely shoddy.
In
Zahira Habibulla H. Sheikh v. State of Gujarat , the Supreme
Court held that, if one even cursorily glances through the records
of the case, one got the feeling that the justice-delivery system was
being taken for a ride and literally allowed to be abused, misused
and mutilated by subterfuge; the investigation appeared to be
perfunctory and anything but impartial, without any definite object
of finding out the truth and bringing to book those who were
responsible for the crime; all this sadly reflected on the quality of
determination exhibited by the State; Judicial criminal
administration system must be kept clean and beyond the reach of
whimsical political will or agenda, and properly insulated from
discriminatory standards or yardsticks of the type prohibited by
the mandate of the Constitution.

Keeping in view the peculiar circumstances of the case, and
the ample evidence on record glaringly demonstrating subversion
of justice delivery system with no congenial and conducive
atmosphere still prevailing, the Supreme Court, in
Pooja Pal v.
Union of India , directed that retrial should be conducted.

That the earlier investigation was unfair and was more an
attempt to make Sri Satyam Babu a scapegoat, than to bring the
guilty to book, is evident from the failure of police officials to take
the investigation to its logical conclusion. In this context, the
Division Bench held that, in its earliest opinion, the Police had
suspected a sole offender but, on further investigation, they
suspected the involvement of more than one offender in the
commission of offence, and that the death must have occurred
either by smothering or by hitting the head of the deceased against
the wall corner edge; as per the evidence of P.W.32, during
investigation, more than 120 persons were suspected, and he had
subjected them to different types of tests like polygraphy,
handwriting, footprints etc; PW.32 admitted that the Police initially
suspected P.W.6-the hostel warden, and P.W.7-her husband; he
also admitted that he suspected the inmates of the hostel, as they
may have known what exactly happened on that day; he also
deposed that he was certain that Guruvindar Singh was involved
in the offence, and had opposed his bail application as there was
prima facie evidence against him; PW.30, the Inspector of Police,
had deposed that, as per the instructions of P.W.32, he had
collected blood samples of eight suspects through doctors, and
their names were Ravi Maniraj, Abburi Ganesh, Ravi Dhiraj,
Nellajarla Kishore, Mohammed Khaja, Jalaga Pavankumar,
Inampudi Venkata Siva Ramakrishna and Peetha Siva Anjaneyulu
(cook); and he admitted that PW.32 may have suspected these
eight persons, and had therefore instructed him to send their
blood samples.

The Division Bench concluded that the investigating
agencies had not taken the investigation to its logical end
regarding various suspects such as the cook-P.W.6, the hostel
warden-P.W.7, her husband, the eight persons who were named by
P.W.30 and from whom samples were taken, the 55 persons sent
for DNA examination, and the 39 persons sent for polygraph and
narco analysis tests; the Police could not also justify letting off
Guruvindhar Singh @ Laddu, though P.W.32 admitted that he was
certain that the said suspect was involved in the case, and there
was prima facie evidence against him; the investigating agency had
failed to subject P.Ws.2 and 3, other hostellers, and P.Ws.6 and 7
to Narco analysis test inspite of the order granted by the trial
Court, which was confirmed by the High Court; the investigating
agency, which was proceeding in one direction till the
apprehension of the accused, had taken an abrupt U turn from
then onwards; the whole concentration was focused only on the
accused based on his alleged confessional statement; P.W.1, the
mother of the accused, had stated, in her evidence, that the
investigation was not carried out on proper lines; she had
categorically stated that the cook Siva Anjaneyulu comes to the
hostel at 4.00 A.M, one key was with him and one with the warden;
the National Womens Commission had visited the scene of the
offence, and had advised that the inmates of the hostel be referred
for Narco analysis test; the footprints of Guruvindar Singh @
Laddu was matched with that found at the scene of offence; and
the then Additional Director-General of Police, Mr. A.K. Khan had
announced that one person, aged between 30 and 40 years, may
have committed the offence; and another person, by name Upendra
Singh, was also suspected to have been involved in the commission
of the offence.

The Division bench further observed that, in her evidence,
the victims mother had stated that the Police suspected Siva
Anjayaneyulu (cook), and also the maternal uncle of the deceased;
they had also suspected Guruvindar Singh (Laddu) and Upendra
Singh, before pitching on to the accused; she stated that the
investigation was not conducted on proper lines; top Police
Officials had interrogated her distant relative, and had brought
pressure on him to admit his involvement; as he refused, he was
finally handed over to their family; they had received a threatening
call that their second daughter would also be killed, as they had
killed the deceased; in that connection, she had met the Additional
Director General of Police and the Commissioner of Police; on
29.12.2007 she received a phone call from Vijayawada informing
her that the investigation in the case of their daughter was
deliberately diverted; on 26.12.2007, a party was organized in the
ground floor of the hostel; P.W.7, the husband of the hostel
warden, K. Satish, K. Suresh, Ganesh, Chinta Pavan Kumar and
Rajesh were present there; two of them went to the 2nd floor to
meet their girl friends, in the same block in which the deceased
was staying; on seeing them, the deceased had stated that she
would reveal the facts to her parents, and vacate the hostel the
next day morning; and due to that reason, the deceased was done
away with.

The Division Bench opined that the callous and casual
approach of the investigation agency, their failure to conduct
proper investigation, and instead taking the easy way out by
picking the accused and describing him as a hardcore criminal,
shocked its judicial conscience; and this was a rare case where the
victims mother had deposed in defence of the accused, and had
indicted the Police for the alleged faulty and biased investigation.

A high responsibility lies upon the investigating agency not
to conduct an investigation in a tainted or unfair manner. The
investigation should not, prima facie, be indicative of a biased
mind and every effort should be made to bring the guilty to law as
nobody stands above the law de hors his position and influence in
the society. The maxim contra veritatem lex nunquam aliquid
permittit applies to the exercise of powers by the Courts. (The law
never suffers anything contrary to the truth). It is the
responsibility of the Courts to ensure that the investigation is fair.
(Vinay Tyagi2;
Sidhartha Vashisht v. State (NCT of Delhi) ).

Any criminal offence is one against the society at large
casting an onerous responsibility on the State, as the guardian and
purveyor of human rights and protector of law, to discharge its
sacrosanct role responsibly and committedly, always accountable
to the law-abiding citizenry for any lapse. The power of the
Constitutional Court to direct reinvestigation is a dynamic
component of its jurisdiction to exercise judicial review, a basic
feature of the Constitution, and while it should be exercised with
due care and caution and informed with self-imposed restraint, the
plenitude and content thereof can neither be enervated nor
moderated by any legislation. (Pooja Pal10). The paramount
consideration of the Court is to ensure that miscarriage of justice
is prevented. (
Basappa v. State of Karnataka ; State of Punjab
v. Karnail Singh ).

The botched investigation, into the gruesome murder of
Miss.Ayesha Meera, is a classic case of subversion of justice. As
the gross indifference exhibited by the investigating agency earlier
in ascertaining the truth, and in not bringing the perpetrators of
this heinous crime to justice, shocks our conscience also, we are
satisfied that this case would fall within the category of the rarest
of rare cases justifying an order being passed directing de-novo
investigation by a Special Investigating Team. As the Government
has itself constituted such a team, and the integrity of the police
officials forming part of the SIT has not been doubted before us, we
are of the view that the SIT, constituted by the Director General of
Police, A.P vide his proceedings dated 08.08.2017 pursuant to
G.O.Ms. No.132 dated 04.08.2017, be entrusted with the task of
de-novo investigation of Crime No.477 of 2007 of Ibrahimpatnam
Police Station.

The next question which necessitates examination is
whether we should, in the facts and circumstances of the present
case and as prayed for by the petitioners, also monitor the
investigation. In its judgment in Criminal Appeal No.1518 of 2010
dated 31.03.2017, the Division Bench opined that, though it was
pleaded that in order to save the real culprit belonging to an
influential political family, the Police had falsely implicated the
accused; the evidence on record was insufficient for them to
express any opinion; and not punishing the real culprits was no
less miscarriage of justice than conviction of an innocent
(Basappa12). While expressing their inability to order re-
investigation, while exercising appellate jurisdiction under
Section
374(2) CrPC because of the absence of a statutory provision, the
Division Bench opined that the truth, buried fathom deep under
the debris of faulty investigation and distortions, needed to be
extricated, and the real culprits identified and punished; and it
was, however, for public citizens to carry the issue forward availing
the appropriate legal remedies.

A fair, proper and full investigation by the investigation
agency, into every accusation, would help in retaining public
confidence in the conduct of inquiry/investigation. Court-
monitoring would help in moving the machinery of
inquiry/investigation at an appropriate pace, and its conclusion
with utmost expedition without fear or favour. (
Manohar Lal
Sharma v. Union of India ). The jurisdiction of the Superior
Court to issue a writ of continuous mandamus is only to see that
proper investigation is carried out. Once the Court satisfies itself
that a proper investigation has been carried out, it would not
venture to take over the functions of the Magistrate or pass any
order which would interfere with his judicial functions. (
Jakia
Nasim Ahesan v. State of Gujarat ;
M.C. Mehta v. Union of
India ). Once the investigating agency complete their function of
investigating into the offences, it is the Court in which the charge-
sheet would be filed, which should deal with all matters relating to
the trial of the accused. (Jakia Nasim Ahesan15;
Narmada Bai v.
State of Gujarat ).

The expression Court-monitored has sometimes been
interchangeably used with Court-supervised investigation. Once
the court supervises an investigation, there is hardly anything left
in the trial. However, investigation/inquiry monitored by the Court
does not mean that the Court supervises such
investigation/inquiry. To supervise would mean to observe and
direct the execution of a task whereas to monitor would only mean
to maintain surveillance. Under
the Code, the investigating officer
is only to form an opinion, and it is for the Court to ultimately try
the case based on the opinion formed by the investigating officer
and see whether any offence has been made out. If a Superior
Court supervises the investigation, and thus facilitates the
formulation of such opinion in the form of a report under
Section
173(2) Cr.P.C, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for the trial
court not to be influenced or bound by such opinion. Then the trial
becomes a farce. Therefore, supervision of investigation by any
court is a contradiction in terms. The Code does not envisage such
a procedure. In rare and compelling circumstances, the Superior
Courts may monitor an investigation to ensure that the
investigating agency conducts the investigation in a free, fair and
time-bound manner without any external interference. (Manohar
Lal Sharma14).

Constitutional Courts monitor investigation only in public
interest. That is the leitmotif of a Constitutional Court-monitored
investigation. No Constitutional Court desires to monitor an
inquiry or an investigation (compendiously referred to hereinafter
as an investigation) nor does it encourage the monitoring of any
investigation by a police authority. Public interest is the sole
consideration, and a Constitutional Court monitors investigation
only when circumstances compel it to do so, such as (illustratively)
a lack of enthusiasm by the investigating officer or agency (due to
pressures on it) in conducting a proper investigation, or a lack of
enthusiasm by the Government concerned in assisting the
investigating authority to arrive at the truth, or a lack of interest
by the investigating authority or the Government concerned to take
investigation to its logical conclusion for whatever reason or, in
extreme cases, to hinder the investigation. (Manohar Lal
Sharma14; Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights).

Monitoring of investigations/inquiries by the Court is
intended to ensure that proper progress takes place without
directing or channelling the mode or manner of investigation. The
whole idea is to retain public confidence in the impartial
inquiry/investigation into the alleged crime; that
inquiry/investigation, into every accusation, is made on a
reasonable basis irrespective of the position and status of that
person; and the inquiry/investigation is taken to the logical
conclusion in accordance with law. The monitoring by the Court
aims to lend credence to the inquiry/investigation being
conducted, and to eliminate any impression of bias, lack of
fairness and objectivity. (Manohar Lal Sharma14). The concern
and interest of the Court in Court-directed or Court-monitored
cases is that there is no undue delay in the investigation, and the
investigation is conducted in a free and fair manner with no
external interference. In such a process, people acquainted with
the facts and circumstances of the case would also have a sense of
security and they would cooperate with the investigation, given
that the Superior Courts are seized of the matter. (Manohar Lal
Sharma14).

A cloud of suspicion hangs over, and grave and serious
doubts are cast on, the impartiality and fairness of the earlier
investigation. More than a decade has elapsed since Miss.Ayesha
Meera was killed on 27.12.2007. As the parents of the deceased
also allege that the real culprit belongs to an influential political
family, it is necessary that the SIT is protected from any form of
outside interference while undertaking de-novo investigation. This
object can only be achieved, and public confidence in the
impartiality of the re-investigation ensured, only if we monitor the
progress of the re-investigation by the SIT, and ensure that the
investigation is carried on with all earnest and with utmost
expedition without any outside pressure or influence.

We, accordingly, direct the Special Investigation Team,
constituted vide proceedings of the Director General of Police,
Andhra Pradesh dated 08.08.2017, pursuant to G.O.Ms. No.132
dated 04.08.2017, to carry out denovo investigation into Crime
No.477 of 2007 of Ibrahimpatnam Police Station with utmost
expedition. With a view to ensure the fairness and impartiality of
the investigative process, and to prevent any form of extraneous
and outside influence on the SIT, we direct that none of the officers
of the SIT shall be transferred, or relieved of their duties of re-
investigating Crime No.477 of 2007, without the prior permission
of this Court. The Government of Andhra Pradesh shall provide all
such assistance as the SIT may seek while carrying out re-
investigation into the murder of Miss.Ayesha Meera. The Deputy
Inspector General of Police, heading the SIT, shall submit
periodical reports to this Court regarding the progress of
investigation. The first of such reports of the SIT shall be filed on
or before 20.04.2018. He shall forthwith report to this Court in
case any outside influence is sought to bear upon the fair and
impartial conduct of re-investigation into the Crime.

In Kishanbhai1, the Supreme Court observed:-

..Every acquittal should be understood as a failure of the justice
delivery system, in serving the cause of justice. Likewise, every acquittal should
ordinarily lead to the inference, that an innocent person was wrongfully
prosecuted. It is therefore essential that every State should put in place a
procedural mechanism which would ensure that the cause of justice is
served, which would simultaneously ensure the safeguard of interest of
those who are innocent. In furtherance of the above purpose, it is
considered essential to direct the Home Department of every State to
examine all orders of acquittal and to record reasons for the failure of each
prosecution case. A Standing Committee of senior officers of the police and
prosecution departments should be vested with the aforesaid
responsibility. The consideration at the hands of the above Committee,
should be utilised for crystallising mistakes committed during
investigation, and/or prosecution, or both. The Home Department of every
State Government will incorporate in its existing training programmes for
junior investigation/prosecution officials course-content drawn from the
above consideration. The same should also constitute course-content of
refresher training programmes for senior investigating/prosecuting officials. The
above responsibility for preparing training programmes for officials should be
vested in the same Committee of senior officers referred to above. Judgments
like the one in hand (depicting more than ten glaring lapses in the
investigation/prosecution of the case), and similar other judgments, may also be
added to the training programmes. The course-content will be reviewed by the
above Committee annually, on the basis of fresh inputs, including emerging
scientific tools of investigation, judgments of courts, and on the basis of
experiences gained by the Standing Committee while examining failures, in
unsuccessful prosecution of cases. We further direct, that the above training
programme be put in place within 6 months. This would ensure that those
persons who handle sensitive matters concerning investigation/prosecution are
fully trained to handle the same. Thereupon, if any lapses are committed by
them, they would not be able to feign innocence when they are made liable to
suffer departmental action for their lapses.

On the culmination of a criminal case in acquittal, the
investigating/prosecuting official(s) concerned responsible for such
acquittal must necessarily be identified. A finding needs to be recorded in
each case, whether the lapse was innocent or blameworthy. Each erring
officer must suffer the consequences of his lapse, by appropriate
departmental action, whenever called for. Taking into consideration the
seriousness of the matter, the official concerned may be withdrawn from
investigative responsibilities, permanently or temporarily, depending
purely on his culpability. We also feel compelled to require the adoption of
some indispensable measures, which may reduce the malady suffered by parties
on both sides of criminal litigation. Accordingly, we direct the Home Department
of every State Government to formulate a procedure for taking action against all
erring investigating/prosecuting officials/officers. All such erring
officials/officers identified, as responsible for failure of a prosecution case,
on account of sheer negligence or because of culpable lapses, must suffer
departmental action. The above mechanism formulated would infuse
seriousness in the performance of investigating and prosecuting duties,
and would ensure that investigation and prosecution are purposeful and
decisive. The instant direction shall also be given effect to within 6
months.. (emphasis supplied).

Relying on the judgment of the Supreme Court in
Kishanbhai1, the Division Bench, in its order in Criminal Appeal
No.1518 of 2010 dated 31.03.2017, observed that the Government
of A.P. had issued G.O.Ms.No.20 dated 14.02.2017 constituting an
Apex Committee, with the Home Secretary as the Chairman, the
Law Secretary, the Director General of Police and other
functionaries as its Members, for identification of erring
investigation/prosecuting officials/officers for their failure in
prosecuting the case; and for taking departmental action against
the officials/officers in accordance with law. The State was directed
to refer the matter to the Apex Committee.

For the shoddy investigation, and as the possibility of the
earlier investigation being deliberately derailed to avoid the
powerful and the mighty being brought to justice for this heinous
crime, the Apex Committee, of which the Principal Secretary
(Home) is the Chairman, shall forthwith fix responsibility for the
shoddy investigation, and take disciplinary action against the
identified errant investigating officers in accordance with law. The
Principal Secretary (Home) shall submit a report to this Court,
regarding the action taken in this regard, by the next date of
hearing i.e., 20.04.2018.

As the three public spirited citizens have achieved their
object of invoking the extra-ordinary jurisdiction of this Court
under
Article 226 of the Constitution of India, W.P. (PIL) No.186 of
2017 is disposed of accordingly. The Miscellaneous Petitions, if any
pending, shall also stand disposed of. No costs.

The periodical reports to be submitted by the SIT, regarding
the progress of re-investigation, shall be filed in W.P. No. 25434 of
2017 which shall be listed for Orders on 20.04.2018.
_
RAMESH RANGANATHAN, ACJ
__
J. UMA DEVI, J.

date:19.01.2018.

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