The Uttarakhand High Court has slammed the State Government over its failure to file the response to the questions posed by the Court in a bail matter.

Lamenting over the conduct of the State, the Court observed thus "The state of affairs, exhibited by the State in the instant case reflects nothing but, "chalta hai attitude", which is dangerous to the rule of law."

The Bench of Justice Ravindra Maithani made this observation while dealing with a bail application of the accused who was booked under Section 384, 323, 504, 506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

The FIR stated that the applicant got a false case of molestation lodged against the informant so as to extract money from him. The FIR records that the applicant and the woman's telephonic conversation was recorded.

The statement of the informant, revealed that an audio recording of the conversation between the applicant and the woman, who lodged false case of molestation against the informant was stored in a pen-drive and the pen-drive was given to the Investigating Officer ("IO") by the informant.

Initially, a counter affidavit was filed by one Mukesh Mishra, who was then posted as Sub Inspector.

The Court observed that there was no mention of the audio recording in the entire counter affidavit.

"Was not it a very important piece of evidence? Where is that pen-drive, which, according to the informant (statement under Section 161 of the Code) was given to the IO by the informant? Has it been sent for forensic examination? Has any certificate under Section 65 B of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 was taken by the IO? Has it been made part of the investigation? These all are not placed before the Court.", the Court had noted.

On June 30, 2022, when these issues were raised before the Court, the Court had directed the State to file a short counter affidavit.

However, the Court observed that the State did not file any short counter affidavit, as requested by the Court. Further, the Court also observed that the State was represented by different counsels on different dates of hearing of this case.

Coming down heavily on the State, the Court noted thus "This Court has umpteen times expressed concern that the State is not cooperating in the disposal of the case. State is one of the biggest hurdle in expeditious disposal in the bail matters. After 4 dates, the state failed to file short counter affidavit. There is no response as to why they failed. The transcript of the pen-drive is not on record, which is a necessary piece of evidence."

"If the pen-drive, its contents, have not been a part of evidence; if the pen-drive, which the informant allegedly gave to the IO, was not sent for forensic examination; if the IO has failed to obtain a certificate under Section 65 B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, is not it a lapse on the part of the IO? And if it is, who is observing it? Who is monitoring it? Perhaps none.", the Court expressed.

Advocate Siddhartha Sah appeared for the bail applicant whereas DAG S.S. Adhikari appeared for the State.

The Court directed the Senior Superintendent Police, Udham Singh Nagar to file a short counter affidavit personally and directed him to appear before the Court to answer the questions.

"The Court requests the Principal Secretary, Law Cum Legal Remembrancer to examine this issue and submit a report to this Court on or before the next date fixed as to what action has been taken to ensure that it is not done in the future and what action has been taken against the officer, who failed to file short counter affidavit on time. The Court expects that it should not be a mere formality. If somebody has failed, strict actions, as per law, should be taken.", the Court directed further.

Cause Title- BA1 No.64 of 2021

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