New Delhi — Additional chief metropolitan magistrate S. L. Khanna on Wednesday rejected the petition of Satwant Singh, accused in the Indira Gandhi assassination case, challenging the validity of the charge sheet filed by the prosecution. Mr. Khanna, however granted Satwant’s plea seeking adjournment of committal proceedings till May 6 as Mr. P. N. Lekhi, his senior counsel, was abroad.
Mr. Ashok Aggarwal, counsel for the accused, contended that the charge sheet was not signed and filed by the officer in charge of the Tughlak Road police station where the case was registered.
Counsel also contested the jurisdiction of the trial court to try a person on the basis of the ‘‘incomplete and illegal charge sheet.’’ He also challenged the appointment of Mr. S. Anand Ram, special commissioner with the powers of the commissioner, of police to inquire into the case. He also objected to Mr. D. R. Gakhar being placed at the disposal of the special investigating team by a secret order in the rank of a DCP. Counsel argued that there was no provision in law for appointing two commissioners of Delhi police and the appointment of a police officer by a secret order was not good in law. Mr. A. P. Ahluwalia, law officer, appearing for the state argued that the chargesheet was signed and filed by Mr. D. R. Gakhar, DIP, an officer superior in rank to the officer in charge of the police station and as such could exercise the powers of such an officer.
Mr. Ahluwalia also contended that the administrator of Delhi had the powers of appointing additional commissioners, deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners of Delhi police without issuing a gazette notification. He also challenged the objections raised by defense counsel regarding the appointment of Mr. S. Anand Ram and said that he was appointed as the additional commissioner of police and not as the special commissioner of police,
Miss Poonam Aggarwal advocate, had moved an application on behalf of the accused seeking adjournment of committal proceedings. Mr. Khanna while rejecting the petition of Satwant observed that the Supreme Court had laid down that illegality committed in the course of investigation did not affect the competence and jurisdiction of the court for trial. He ruled that in the light of the above ruling, the court was capable of taking cognizance of the said offense. Mr. Khanna also upheld the prosecution plea that Mr. D. R. Gakhar, DCP, was competent to file the charge sheet as he was an officer superior in rank to the officer in charge of the police station. Moreover, filing of charge sheet by him was not likely to cause any miscarriage of justice. The magistrate while agreeing with defense counsel’s argument that appointing police officers by secret orders was not good in law ruled that the administrator of Delhi might have thought it fit to do in a particular case and that he was authorized to do so.
Article extracted from this publication >> May 10, 1985