A Prosecutor’s Change of Heart in a Capital Case at the Supreme Court
For the past two months, the Supreme Court of India has been hearing arguments in the case of B.M.U. vs. Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (HRC). The case deals with the legal process of granting and withdrawing bail in a case with a history of repeated delay in hearing and finally, the granting of bail to a suspect. The HRC, a government of Karnataka, filed the case against former Congress leader B.M.U., in 2002. Between 2001 and 2002, the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, formed following a complaint filed by the Karnataka HC, had conducted an inquiry into the charges under Section 498C of the Indian Penal Code and the case was referred back to the HC. The HC in 2002, held that the police action did not amount to custodial interrogation and that it was purely an investigation. In 2005, the HC in a judgment, made up of two members, held that the investigation was an arbitrary exercise of power and that it was a violation of the person’s right to be free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and that the arrest violated his right to equal protection of the laws and that it was an arbitrary exercise of power. In 2009, the HC further found that the investigation was arbitrary and unconstitutional and that it was in effect, police action amount of custodial interrogation.
The HC then referred the case to the Investigating Officer (IO), for further investigation. The IO did not take any action and after a few months, on February 15, 2005, the case was transferred to the Karnataka HC by the IO. On May 17, 2006, the HC referred the case to SC under Article 142 of the Constitution. On September 1, 2007, the HC took up the case and in 2007, the HC referred the case to the SC under Article 142 of the Constitution. On September 19, 2007, the SC also took up the case and in December 10, 2013, SC dismissed the complaint and quashed the HC’s order. The SC held that the HC and the IO had made a “grossly erroneous” allegation and that the IO had exceeded his authority. The SC further held the IO’s conduct as “unreasonable” and “impersonal,” and that his conduct was, “unwarrantedly and with unreasonable delay” (Para 3). The SC