The court was also informed that a circular, dated January 30, was issued to all station house officers and investigating officers to file final reports in cases within the time prescribed by the law.
The Madras High Court was informed that the Tamil Nadu Police has initiated disciplinary proceedings against at least 7,324 officers for failing to file final reports within the statutory time limit which resulted in closure of over 2.14 lakh FIRs by trial courts. Filing a counter-affidavit on the interim order passed by Justice M V Muralidharan, the Director General of Police’s office magistrate courts were not maintaining registers to enable police to know about cases which were “not taken on file”. There were 1,72,602 such cases between 2010 and 2018, according to the counter affidavit, which also claimed that the lower judiciary closed FIRs for not filing of charge sheets by police.
It was also brought to the knowledge of the judge that in total between 2009 and 2014, 2,14,901 FIRs had been closed by magistrate courts. The Director General of Police (DGP) office also submitted that disciplinary action is being initiated to issue show cause notices to 7,324 investigating officers who had failed to file the final reports within the stipulated time which resulted in closure of FIRs by trial courts. The issue started during hearing of a civil appeal moved by Tirupur-based Safire Print Lab Knits and Woven Fabric against the Commissioner of Employees granting Rs 3.94lakh compensation to an employee of the firm who died in an accident while at work. When the appeal came up on December 6, Justice Muralidaran had directed the Uthukului police and the hospital management to file a report to ascertain the status of the case. The police had filed a report along with a communication, dated June 8, 2016, issued by the Avinasi judicial magistrate.
The communication stated that the FIR was closed for non-filing of charge-sheet within the prescribed time. When the court perused the communication, it came to light that the magistrate had closed 87 such FIRs registered during 2006 to 2014 on the same grounds which made the judge, Muralidaran, to call for such records. Taking serious note of the issue, the judge directed the court registry to submit details with regard to closure of such FIRs throughout the Tamil Nadu. When it was brought to the knowledge of Muralidaran that 2,14,901 FIRs had been closed by magistrate courts across the state for non-filing of charge sheet by police within the statutory time limit, that too for five years — 2009 and 2014, the judge sought for an explanation from the state home secretary and the DGP.
The court was also informed that a circular, dated January 30, was issued to all station house officers and investigating officers to file final reports in cases within the time prescribed by the law. The circular directed officers to list out cases which were not taken on file wherein final reports were filed within the prescribed time to avoid closure under Section 468 of CrPc. The judge after recording the submission reserved orders.