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High Court rules on powers of magistrates in ordering investigations
2/26/2024 10:09:31 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Feb 26: In a significant ruling, Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal of the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court clarified the scope of authority for magistrates in ordering investigations, distinguishing between further investigation and re-investigation.
The judgment underscored that while magistrates possess the jurisdiction to order further investigation, the power to direct re-investigation rests with higher courts, depending on the specifics of each case.
In a specific case, Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal rendered a decision allowing a petition challenging the validity of an order for re-investigation issued by the Special Judge Anti-Corruption, Doda, dated December 31, 2018. The court deemed this order unsustainable in legal terms and thus quashed it. Furthermore, the subsequent order for further investigation issued on January 30, 2023, stemming from the earlier illegal re-investigation order, was also nullified.
The judgment went on to emphasize the necessity of a fresh investigation into the case under the supervision of the Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Jammu & Kashmir. This directive aimed to ensure a fair and just investigation, preferably within a two-month timeframe. The report of this investigation is to be submitted to the Special Judge Anti-Corruption, Doda, for further legal proceedings.
The case in question involved allegations of misappropriation of funds by officials of the Rural Development Department, Block Ghat, Doda. The allegations pertained to fraudulent withdrawal of funds through non-existent projects, resulting in substantial losses to the state exchequer during the years 2009-10 and 2010-11.
The judgment stressed that the court's role was not to determine the veracity of the complaint but to ensure a thorough investigation, enabling the accused to clarify their positions without undue litigation. The manner and direction of the investigation were left to the discretion and expertise of the investigating agency.
In summary, the ruling clarified the boundaries of magisterial powers in ordering investigations while affirming the necessity of fair and impartial investigative processes to uphold the principles of justice.
This ruling marks a significant legal precedent in the administration of justice within the region, highlighting the importance of procedural clarity and adherence to legal principles.
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