INVESTIGATION IN THE DOCK
Investigation is the legal act of finding the truth with the necessary substantiation which can withstand the test of judicial scrutiny and lead to conviction. There are other methods where the same rule applies differently, enquiry commissions, fact finding committees, court supervised investigations, arbitrations, tribunals, regulatory agencies / authorities and what not. Suffice to say, investigation of some type or the other is a part of day-to-day life and you realize its importance, if you have ever been affected by it. It is a solemn exercise, which if not done with a huge amount of conscience and propriety, might not lead to the results beneficial to the society, for which it is meant. The technical expertise, even if available in full measure, can be used in devious manner.
Going by the judicial results and the time taken in most of the investigations of various type; a suicide to a massacre, drug peddling to an act of terror, economic offence to the domestic violence etc would squarely put the investigation in the dock. If the stipulated time for different investigations are run against the time taken in under-investigation cases, the list might be endless. The number of investigations where doubts are raised might me more, compared to the ones where issues are not raised at all. Most of the time, allegations of investigative highhandedness are given a quiet burial. Don’t we deserve a constitutionally independent Investigation Commission of India, like CAG or ECI. It gives a feeling that investigation is being done in gay abandon without having any thought of the spirit of the law and the spirit constitutional and jurisprudence framework, in which we operate.
The less said as to how it impacts the victims and lots of times, the accused too. Every accused is not a diehard terrorist. What efforts and thought goes into planning and strategizing the investigation, till it reaches the final conclusion? Or is it just a mechanical exercise and so many times turf battles, to find a place in the sun. Social stigma, mental distraught, back ending political battles or forced incarcerations doesn’t seem to be playing on the minds of the investigators. We have a plethora of well known cases, where there have been endless doubts on the way it has been investigated and quite a few very blatantly. Investigation is supposedly an independent exercise as per law, where no one has the power to interfere. What is being made out of specific investigations and how is it allowed to happen, is an area investigative agencies will have to apply their minds.
Behind every investigation, we have investigators of different levels and agencies of different hues and color, and might be different flavors. All governments seem to think quite similarly regarding investigations. But for rare forced occurrences, the ruling dispensation remains in a safe zone. What glory does it bring to the police and other specialized investigative agencies and supercops / investigators? There are many who are on the run. There are agencies who deliberately miss the woods for the trees. The battle for getting important investigative wings, high profile juridictions and cases have its own way of messing up investigations. The turf wars, interpersonal rivalry, keeping the political dispensation on their side, and making their personal name, fame and glory above the organization, has come to bite the investigators / investigative agencies on their faces.
IF INVESTIGATION ITSELF IS IN THE DOCK, HOW WILL THE SEARCH FOR LEGAL TRUTH HAPPEN?