SC defines the role of a Constitutional Court in monitoring investigations in a continuing mandamus.

Today, i.e. on 12.11.2018, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Lourembam Deban Singh & Ors. versus Union of India & Ors. etc. pronounced the purpose of a continuing mandamus is only to ensure that there is no interference during the course of investigations from anybody, whether due to political pressure or executive pressure or any other pressure (including,  ‘judicial pressure’) that could compromise the investigations. Ergo, a continuous mandamus ensures that Investigating Officer or the Investigating Team (as the case may be) does not deviate from the natural course of investigations for whatever reason, either due to pressure or due to a misdirection or some other extraneous reason. This is the limited role of a Constitutional Court in monitoring investigations in a continuing mandamus which was defined by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its judgement today.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, among other things observed:

In any event, we make it clear that the law of the land is quite explicit that no one, and that means no one, can interfere in the investigations being carried out by the Investigating Officer or an Investigating Team. (Para 23)

The purpose of a continuing mandamus is only to ensure that there is no interference during the course of investigations from anybody, whether due to political pressure or executive pressure or any other pressure (including, as it seems, ‘judicial pressure’) that could compromise the investigations. It is only when the Investigating Officer or the Investigating Team is given a free hand that the investigations will be meaningful, fair and with integrity. (Para 23)

Yet another purpose of a continuing mandamus is to ensure that the Investigating Officer or the Investigating Team (as the case may be) does not deviate from the natural course of investigations for whatever reason, either due to pressure or due to a misdirection or some other extraneous reason. This is the limited role of a Constitutional Court in monitoring investigations in a continuing mandamus. (Para 24)

It is equally clear that once the judicial process has begun with the filing of the final report or charge sheet as the case may be, the concerned court is in complete charge and full control of the proceedings. No one, and that again means no one, can interfere in the course of judicial proceedings otherwise it would amount to interference in the due course of justice or the administration of justice. It is for this reason that when investigations are complete and a final report or charge sheet is filed, the Constitutional Court keeps its hands off any further progress in the matter. We are fortunate to have an independent judiciary. (Para 26)

There can be no interference in investigations and the courts cannot brook any interference in the judicial process. An exception may occur, when there is an unjustified deviation from the natural course of investigations or illegal interference in the judicial process. Such a situation would be rare and would have to be dealt with on a case by case basis and it is to pre- empt this that the Constitutional Courts monitor investigations on extraordinary occasions. (Para 27)

It should be clear to everyone that officers and personnel of the Indian Army, paramilitary forces and the State Police are made of much sterner stuff than is sought to be projected and they can hardly be demoralised by observations said to have been made by anybody. (Para 30)

Copy of judgement : Judgement 12-Nov-2018

-Tushar Kaushik

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *