The High Court of Meghalaya has asked the Border Security Force (BSF) to cooperate in the investigation into the killing of a trucker by its personnel near Wahkdait village, Pynursla-Dawki Road, on May 5.
The order on Monday came on a petition challenging an order passed by the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Shillong, dated May 15 in connection with the case. The order had directed the Commandant, 4th Battalion, BSF, to hand over the accused persons (three BSF personnel) to the investigation officer for the purpose of investigation.
The petitioner, the Union of India, through the Deputy Inspector General, BSF, being aggrieved by the impugned order, accordingly approached the high court with a prayer to set aside and quash the order.
“The State respondent has resisted this petition and has consistently submitted that there is nothing wrong with the impugned order and the manner in which it was passed, and as such, the learned Magistrate has not committed any error of jurisdiction or otherwise,” the court said.
Upon hearing N Mozika, DSGI for the petitioner/Union of India, and B Bhattacharjee, AAG for the state respondent, and without the parties pressing for a resolution in their favour, the court, on mutual consent by the parties as to how the proceedings should continue without disturbing the primary intention as brought out in the impugned order but on a liberal interpretation of the same, issued the directions to the BSF.
Apart from asking the BSF to cooperate in the investigation, the court said that, to this extent, the BSF authorities are at liberty to make it convenient for the alleged accused to be questioned by the investigation officer as per his convenience.
It said the investigation officer would function within the parameters of settled and laid down procedures of law as required under the Code of Criminal Procedure and under the Border Security Force Act, 1968, and the rules thereof, in particular, may resort to complying with the provision of Section 45 Cr. P.C. as and when required.
To the extent indicated above, the impugned order (of May 15) stands modified.
Accordingly, the court said while disposing of the petition:
The background of this matter related to an incident where three BSF personnel apparently deployed for duty happened to locate, or rather, meet, a vehicle that was travelling in a suspicious manner and, according to the personnel, was suspected of carrying contraband goods or livestock.
On the vehicle being asked to stop and the driver of the vehicle failing to heed the request, it is said that the three personnel took steps to try and stop the fleeing vehicle by shooting at it, as a result of which one person was rendered injured and subsequently succumbed to his injuries.
The court noted that the procedure of law following such an incident demanded that the alleged offenders, who are BSF personnel, be taken into custody, which was done so by the BSF authorities.
An FIR was also filed in regard to the said incident before the Officer-in-Charge of Pynursla Police Station was registered and the investigation commenced.