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Gross misuse of power by Police machinery: Supreme Court expresses shock over Police tutoring witnesses, asks Tamil Nadu DGP to take action against erring Police officers

The court also expressed surprise that both the trial court and the Madras High Court had overlooked that the Police had tutored the witnesses during the trial phase in this case. 

On Friday (5th April), the Supreme Court rebuked Tamil Nadu police for tutoring witnesses in a murder case, noting that this amounts to “gross misuse of power by the Police machinery”. After slamming the Police, the apex court directed Tamil Nadu’s Director General of Police (DGP) to initiate a probe and take action against the erring police officials in accordance with the law. The court asserted that the police can’t be allowed to tutor the witnesses.

The bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Pankaj Mithal made the above remarks while quashing the verdicts of the High Court and a trial court that convicted and sentenced two persons in a 2007 murder case. 

Expressing shock over Police tutoring witnesses, the bench remarked, “This kind of interference by the Police with the judicial process, to say the least, is shocking. This amounts to gross misuse of power by the Police machinery. The Police cannot be allowed to tutor the prosecution witness. This conduct becomes more serious as other eyewitnesses, though available, were withheld.” 

The court also expressed surprise that both the trial court and the Madras High Court had overlooked that the Police had tutored the witnesses during the trial phase in this case. 

It observed, “We are surprised that both the Courts overlooked this critical aspect.” 

Subsequently, the bench asked the Tamil Nadu DGP to initiate a probe against the erring Police officials. The Court ordered, “Needless to add, appropriate action shall be initiated against the erring officials in accordance with the law.” 

After examining the trial court records, the bench pointed out that a day before the testimony of five prosecution witnesses was recorded, they were called to the police station and tutored how to depose in a particular manner adding that this raised questions on the genuineness of the prosecution. 

It stated, “One can reasonably imagine the effect of ‘teaching’ the witnesses inside a Police Station. This is a blatant act by the police to tutor the material prosecution witnesses. All of them were interested witnesses. Their evidence will have to be discarded as there is a distinct possibility that the said witnesses were tutored by the police on the earlier day.”

While overturning the verdict of the lower courts, the court remarked, “Therefore, adverse inference must be drawn against the prosecution. Hence, there is a serious doubt created about the genuineness of the prosecution case.”

The case pertains to a murder case that occured in 2007. Manikandan and Sivakumar, the two suspects, were accused of murdering an individual named Balamurugan on October 4, 2007. Balamurugan was killed after a dispute erupted over the delivery of idlis at his home by Manikandan.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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