Bengaluru, December 24: In a rare instance, the Kalaburagi bench of the Karnataka High Court has directed the Station House Officer (SHO) of Bazaar Police Station in Kalaburagi to clean the road in front of the police station for a week ‘as community service’ for failing to register an FIR in a missing person’s case.

A division bench of Justices S Sunil Dutt Yadav and P Krishna Bhat passed the order on a habeas corpus petition filed by Tarabai (55) from Minajgi Tanda in Kalaburagi taluk, The New Indian Express reported. She had approached the High Court seeking directions to the Station Bazaar police to produce her son Suresh, who went missing on October 20. Suresh was produced before the court on November 3.

The court order, passed recently, notes that the SHO admitted that Tarabai approached him in the police station with a grievance that her son had been abducted. The officer should have registered an FIR and proceeded with the investigation. If the offence took place outside his jurisdiction, then he was obliged to transfer the FIR to the jurisdictional police station for further investigation, it said. 

However, the SHO overlooked the mandate of law and had not made an entry in the station house diary nor had he registered an FIR, which resulted in obstructing the rights of the petitioner and her son. Pointing out this, the bench questioned the conduct of the SHO who was present in the court. On his behalf, the government advocate submitted that a lenient view may be taken for the violation of procedure.

The officer is prepared to file undertaking to do some community service to atone for the lapse, he pleaded. Accepting this, the bench directed him to clean the road in front of his police station for one week. “I hereby state that, as per the direction of the Hon’ble Court, I am ready to comply with the direction by cleaning the road in front of my police station for one week. I render my conditional apology for not registering the FIR and assure the Hon’ble Court that I will not repeat the same in future,” the officer stated in his undertaking. 

The Bench noted that the entire development in the case highlights a “very disturbing facet” of the functioning of the police stations. The problem, primarily, is one of police officers not complying with the procedure prescribed under the CrPC, which places a high premium on the guarantee of liberty of the individuals, the bench noted.

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