'Shocking,' SC castigates Bihar police for asking accused to prove innocence

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Court said that the approach of the police in asking the accused to produce materials to show his innocence was "shocking" and could not be countenanced

The Supreme Court has recently castigated the Bihar police for issuing a notice to an accused in a criminal case to appear before it and produce materials to prove his innocence.

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan said that the approach of the police was "shocking" and could not be countenanced.

The court ordered that the interim bail granted to the petitioner on December 6, 2023, be made absolute.

The appellant Md. Tauhid @ Kallu was called upon to join the investigation only once on January 15, 2024.

However, the court noted that the affidavit by the police stated, that further as per the order of the Supreme Court, the investigating officer had served notice to petitioner Tauhid @ Kallu, Manoj Singh on January 15, 2024, to join the investigation.

"Thereafter Tauhid @ Kallu, Manoj Singh appeared before on January 24, 2024 and on interrogation pleaded himself innocent but did not produce and material in support of his claim,” the police stated.

After going through the counter affidavit, the Top Court said, "It is obvious that the Police need the custody of the appellant-Md Tauhid @ Kallu, not for interrogation but for some other reason."

Further, the bench said, "We must also record that the approach of the Police reflected from paragraph 9 of the counter affidavit, to say the least, is shocking. The Police Officer seems to be under an impression that the accused has to appear before him and prove his innocence. Such approach cannot be countenanced".

On December 6, 2023, the Apex Court had granted pre-arrest bail to the appellant, saying he shall not be arrested in connection with FIR registered at City Police Station, District Jehanabad, Bihar subject to the condition that he will always cooperate for investigation.

The matter had been brought before the court by the appellant who challenged the Patna High Court's order of October 11, 2023, declining anticipatory bail.

Case Title: Md Tauhid @ Kallu, Manoj Singh Vs The State of Bihar