Intelligence Office Head Speaks If the law of investigation is not to be manipulated by the law enforcement, the court has to take its constitutional responsibility to ‘enforce’ rights of the detained persons seriously. Lack of a fixed duration of investigation does not mean the police can take as much time as they want to finalize it. Because Article 59 (2) of the Cr. Pro. C simply recognizes the right of the police to “apply” for a sufficient period of investigation,
it is the court that ultimately decides the duration that would be reasonable to complete a certain criminal investigation. The court is required and empowered to critically evaluate police application for additional time of investigation instead of routinely granting the request. The court has to ensure that its decision on duration of investigation is based on the law, evidence and facts-based arguments. Additional time for investigation is to be given only where there is a good reason to support the request.
The court should even be more critical when it comes to scrutinizing the law enforcement’s accusation for non-bailable offenses. By virtue of Article 59 (1) of the Cr. Pro. C., the court is empowered to decide whether the arrested person shall be kept in custody or released on bail. While exercising this power, the court should ensure that there is a prima facie case – a case where there is evidence indicating commission of the non-bailable crime and a reasonable link between the alleged crime and the suspect – to deny conditional release of the suspect pending a criminal proceeding.
Accusing one for a non bailable offense would be consequential. An accused charged with such offense will remain in custody until trial is completed should the law enforcement chose to pursue the criminal case, thereby resulting in irreparable damage on the accused, if wrongly made. Thus, the court should not allow the law enforcement to use mere allegation against the accused as a means to deprive the latter of their liberty without there being a good reason to justify the accusation.
In the ongoing high-profile criminal investigations, more often the police appeal to the grave nature of the crime to support their request for extended period of investigation and objection to the conditional release of the detainees. The commission of brutal crimes following Hachalu’s assassination is evident. Thus, what would be of vital importance in the criminal investigation relating to these crimes is not establishing the obvious fact of the commission of the crime but the link the detained persons have with these crimes. The court has to press the law enforcement for evidence that supports such link and that the investigation is reasonably progressing.