Supreme Court of India.

SC takes suo motu cognizance of Jharkhand ADJ’s killing; seeks status report of inquiry from DGP

A day after the Jharkhand High Court took suo motu cognisance of the death of an Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) following injuries caused to him after he was hit by an autorickshaw driver during his morning walk in Dhanbad, the Supreme Court also took suo motu cognisance of the incident considering its “seriousness” and larger “ramifications”.

The video of the killing went viral on social media platforms, suggesting that it was not a case of a simple road accident.

A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justice Surya Kant directed the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police(DGP) Jharkhand to jointly submit a status report of the inquiry into the killing of ASJ Uttam Anand within a week. It clarified it was not interfering with the proceedings going on before the high court.

The bench said similar incidents were happening across the country.

“Taking into consideration the duty and obligation of the State to create an environment and accord full protection to judicial officers as well as the legal fraternity so that they can perform their duties fearlessly, we deem it appropriate to take up this matter suo motu”, the top court said.

It said it would consider the desirability of issuing notice to all other States and Union Territories on the next date of hearing.

Yesterday the Jharkhand High Court directed the DGP to issue an order for constituting an SIT headed by Sanjay A. Lathkar, IPS, ADG (Operation), Jharkhand.

The high court said it wanted a speedy, fair, and professional investigation into the matter and it would monitor the progress of the case.

The high court also said the progress of the investigation would decide whether the matter would be referred to the CBI.

It directed the police to file an affidavit disclosing when the information regarding the occurrence was received by the police and the time when the FIR was registered. The court also asked for information on whether the procedure of post mortem was video-graphed.

The DGP assured the high court that the SIT would reveal what happened since two “vital” persons, who were boarding the auto-rickshaw when the incident occurred had already been apprehended. He also said a proper investigation in a professional manner would be conducted.

Click here to read the SC order

Click here to read the HC order