Madras High Court division bench sets aside “90% police officers are corrupt” remark by single judge

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A Division Bench of Madras High Court consisting of Justices PN Prakash and Nakkiran have passed an order expunging the remarks made by a Single Judge of the High Court against Tamil Nadu Police.

A Single Judge in the order in a contempt petition against Tamil Nadu police had recorded, “Unfortunately, as on date, the police department is running with 90% of the corrupt officers as well as the officers not having adequate capacity to do the investigation and only 10% of the officers are honest and abled officers.”

The single judge had also said that “10% of officials alone cannot do all the investigation.” In the light of the above remarks, the single judge had held that the time is right to sensitize the officials and find out to eradicate corrupt officers and give adequate training to the officers who are not corrupt but are unable to investigate.

Brief facts of the case are that a person gave a complaint to the Inspector of Police, District Crime Branch (DCB), Namakkal, against two persons. The DCB on completing the investigation, filed a closure report before the jurisdictional Magistrate, closing the case as a “mistake of fact.”

The complainant thereafter filed a protest petition against the closure report and the Magistrate on hearing the parties at length held that there is no necessity for further investigation in the case and proceeded to take up the protest application as a private complaint under Section 200 Cr.P.C. and called upon the complainant to file a list of witnesses.

The complainant then challenged the order of the Magistrate before the High Court. The single judge bench of the High Court on hearing the parties, directed the Inspector of Police, DCB, Namakkal, to conduct a fresh investigation and file a charge sheet in accordance with the law.

However, later on, the complainant alleged that the inspector of DCB failed the comply with the order therefore he filed a contempt petition. In this contempt petition, the single judge passed the impugned order while not holding the inspector guilty of contempt.

Thereafter, the Director-General of Police approached the division bench of the High Court against the above order. The division bench on hearing the parties noted that the Supreme Court has, time and again, cautioned the High Courts for making sweeping allegations against Government officials without any basis.

The division bench took note of the terms laid down in the judgment of the Supreme Court in State of UP Vs Mohammad Naim that before making such disparaging remarks, the High Courts should consider three aspects:

  1. Whether the party whose conduct is in question is before the court or has an opportunity of explaining or defending themselves;
  2. Whether there is evidence on record bearing on that conduct justifying the remarks; and
  3. Whether it is necessary for the decision of the case, as an integral part thereof, to animadvert on that conduct.

In view of the same, the division bench held that since the remarks made by the Single judge did not pass muster the aforesaid guidelines issued by the Supreme Court, it had to be set aside.

Case title: Director General of Police Vs S. Vasanthi