Court case reveals faults of criminal justice system

Poor investigations, biased officers often lead to injustice


Rizwan Shehzad October 11, 2015
Islamabad High Court PHOTO: IHC WEBSITE

ISLAMABAD: Shortcoming in police investigation and alleged malafide on part of probing officers and medical officials often leads to injustice with either an innocent being charged or a criminal being let go. 

Many cases that frame people are later contested in court, but by the time they prove their innocence the damage has already been done.

A few days ago a case along these lines was brought before the Islamabad High Court in which a higher-ranking doctor and policeman drew ire of the court after the doctor certified a female suspect to be a ‘virgin’ and her co-accused ‘physically fit’ without following proper procedure and consequently dropping charge of prostitution and drinking against them.

Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi of the Islamabad High Court had remarked that the deputy director at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Science (Pims), Farrukh Kamal, ‘himself appears to be a criminal’ as he examined the persons without following due procedure and did not furnish his honest opinion as apparent from the record.

The judge observed that the doctor was not authorised to medically examine the female suspect, adding that the doctor did not even adopt due course while examining the male suspect. “How can he state that she is a virgin in his opinion,” Justice Qureshi had remarked. “This appears to be an attempt to prove innocence of suspects,” he added.

Subsequently, the court ordered hospital high-ups to carefully examine all certificates after investigation and furnish the report before the court.

According to the FIR, the police had arrested a girl and five men and seized a bottle of liquor from their possession during a raid at a house in Bahria Town in July this year. Ironically, it also emerged that a laboratory report has not yet been obtained.

The FIR stated that a man and the woman were ‘drunk and dancing naked in a room while the others were drinking in another room.’ The suspects had confessed that the girl was a sex worker, stated the police in the FIR.

The suspects were produced before the court, remanded, sent to jail and later released on bail in the last few months.

With the passage of time and involvement of influential people, the previous investigation officer was served a show-cause and an enquiry was initiated against him as the high-ups found ‘irregularities’ in investigation.

Later, the investigation was transferred to DSP CIA Basheer Ahmed Noon, who reinvestigated the matter, declared the suspects innocent, dropped some sections from the FIR and prepared the ‘discharge report.’

The magistrate court, however, turned down the investigation report and thus the suspects challenged it in the high court.

“This appears to be a collusive act between both the persons,” Justice Qureshi said, adding that the investigation officer dishonestly formed an opinion on the basis of a medical report. The SP Investigation was also directed to entrust the case to an honest officer.

Defective investigation in cases pertaining to narcotics is also no secret. The court has time and again reprimanded officials observing that while lodging a FIR or preparing memos of arrest and recovery, the officials deliberately leave defects in order to provide benefit to the accused.

With all the checks and balances of the criminal justice system, incompetency and defective investigation often destroys cases and minor errors in investigation lead to serious defects and acquittal of the accused. In some cases, faulty investigation and examination of the suspects show personal interest of the officers concerned. This is just one case which highlights the number of loopholes in the criminal justice system at different levels.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2015.

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