Mst. Anjuara Khanam @ Anju Vs. The State and another 2016 (2) LNJ 1

Case No: Criminal Miscellaneous Case No. 11456 of 2015

Judge: M. Moazzam Husain,

Court: High Court Division,,

Advocate: Mr. M. Masud Alam Chowdhury,Mr. Raquibul Haque Mia,Md. Mazedul Islam Patwary,Mr. Md. Harun-ar-Rashid,Mr. M. A. Qumrul Hasan Khan,,

Citation: 2016 (2) LNJ 1

Case Year: 2016

Appellant: Mst. Anjuara Khanam @ Anju

Respondent: The State and another 2016 (2) LNJ 1

Subject: Criminal Law,

Delivery Date: 2015-07-08

Mst. Anjuara Khanam @ Anju Vs. The State and another 2016 (2) LNJ 1
 
HIGH COURT DIVISION
(CRIMINAL MISCELLANEOUS JURISDICTION)
 
 M. Moazzam Husain, J.
And
 Md. Ruhul Quddus, J
And
Md. Badruzzaman, J
Judgment on
08.07.2015
  Mst. Anjuara Khanam @ Anju
.. Accused-Petitioner
-Versus-
The State and another
... Opposite parties
 
Words and Phrases
Naraji
Naraji is largely a sub-continental phenomenon which owes its origin to the ever declining public confidence in police investigation and  found favour with the courts as a document specially focused on the flaws in investigation indicating possible ways to set things right.   . . . (12)
Words and Phrases
Naraji
Naraji petition, almost without exception, is filed by the informant of a case against the final report recommending release of any or all of the accused named in the first information report as a protest indicating flaws in the investigation and asking either for further investigation or judicial inquiry. Naraji, thus, came to be recognized by courts as a safeguard against ill-attempts directed to screening offenders upon extraneous considerations or against an inefficient and perfunctory investigation leaving scope for the criminals to go scot-free and gradually assumed the status of a fresh complaint by consistent judicial expositions with all the attendant formalities of a complaint petition contemplated in the Code.     ...(13)
Words and Phrases
Naraji
Naraji is not to be confused with a partisan document by reason merely of the fact that it owes its origin in the grievance of a party. It is a document that works in aid of the court in its efforts to ascertain the nature and magnitude of the flaws, if any, in investigation and suggests the next course of action in detection mechanism. Naraji thus has turned into an instrumentality of justice germane to criminal jurisprudence. Curtailing the power of the court to take notice of naraji cannot, therefore, be possible without significantly impairing the power of a court to prevent investigation being misdirected with ulterior motive or flawed by inefficiency or inexperience. . . . (14)
Words and Phrases
Naraji
The Ain has made the Code applicable to filing, investigation, trial and disposal of the nari-o-shishu nirjatan cases and as abundant caution has equipped Tribunal with all the powers of the Court of Session in matters of trial of offences under the Ain. Nothing is there indicating exclusion of naraji rather the  Tribunal is obviously better placed  than the Court of Session in matters of control and supervision of investigation  so that it enjoys an additional power to take steps for changing the investigating officer on the basis of an application, irrespective of naraji, or on information received from any source whatsoever.  . . . (20)
Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain (VIII of 2000)
Section 27
A plain reading of the section suggests that cognizance can be taken through two procedures: one upon report submitted by ‘police’ or by ‘an authorized person’ and another upon inquiry- report submitted by the ‘Magistrate’ or ‘any other person’ assigned by the Tribunal so to do. Within the scheme of section 27 a proceedings under the Ain should ordinarily be initiated by lodging information in the police station. The second or, more appropriately, the alternative procedure sets in by default with a complaint-petition directly filed in the Tribunal subject to refusal by a police officer to accept the same. . . . (22)
Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain (VIII of 2000)
Section 27
Sub-section (1) and (1Ga) of section 27 read with section 18 goes to show that the Tribunal is further equipped with power more robust than that of an ordinary criminal court in taking cognizance absolutely on its own satisfaction, albeit by assigning reason, gathered from any materials, irrespective of naraji, or information received in disregard of the final report submitted by police or the person authorized by the Government in this behalf. The enormously unqualified power of the Tribunal to take cognizance of offences on its own satisfaction in total disregard of everything means by necessary implication that the Tribunal enjoys power to take into consideration anything including the naraji-petition for its satisfaction without any formality attached to it in general law.                                                               . . . (22)
Words and Phrases
Naraji
Naraji, in the circumstances, remains to be the most crucial document for the Tribunal to test the credibility of the inquiry-report. Strict literal interpretation of a contextually inconsistent provision and/or expression seeking to exclude naraji is, therefore, too ingenious to be accepted.    . . . (29)
 
Constitution of Bangladesh, 1972
Article 31
In our jurisdiction Constitution is supreme and every piece of legislation made by Parliament must follow the parameters of the American due process principles enshrined in Art.31, in order to qualify as law as well as being enforceable by the Supreme Court. Law, therefore, cannot travel far beyond its context and afford to be arbitrary, discriminatory or unreasonable yielding absurd and illogical consequences.  When purpose of the enactment is clear strained construction may legitimately be put to any expression or phrase used inadvertently.                                                          . . . (32)
Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain (VIII of 2000)
Section 27(1)
The language of clauses (1Ka) and (1Kha) must, therefore, be harmonized with the rest of the statute and be construed to include power not only co-equal with powers   provided by section 27(1) but also the Tribunal must be taken to include powers to take notice of naraji as well as   all other powers incidental to carrying out the purpose of the Ain.                                         . . . (32)
Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain (VIII of 2000)
Section 27 Clause (1ga)
Words and Phrases
Naraji
The controversy is set at naught by clause (1Ga) of section 27 which spelt out in no uncertain terms that notwithstanding any recommendation made in the report submitted either by police/authorized person or by Magistrate/any other person as contemplated in sub-section (1) and clause (1Ka) respectively, not sending the accused for trial, the Tribunal, if considers proper for ends of justice, may take cognizance of the offence against the accused assigning its reasons thereof.  The language of the law leaves no doubt that the Tribunal, as distinguished from the Court of Session or the Magistrate, enjoys an added statutory power to reject the investigation/ inquiry report and take cognizance on its own satisfaction. It follows, by parity of reasoning, that the Tribunal which is free to take cognizance regardless of the nature of the report is free to take into notice any information supplied under any name, naraji or otherwise, if the same proves to be of use in testing the veracity of the report and by necessary implication enjoined with power to direct a further investigation or inquiry (where practicable) regardless of how the proceedings was started, upon FIR or complaint.        . . . (33)
Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain (VIII of 2000)
Section 27
Words and Phrases
Naraji
It logically follows that Tribunal is well within its competence to entertain naraji leaving no room for argument that there is no scope of naraji petition in the scheme of section 27 of the Ain.       . . . (34)
 
Code of Criminal Procedure (V of 1898)
Sections 200 and 561A
Words and Phrases
Naraji
In the realm of almost unqualified power directed to achieving the object of law, naraji stands to lose its ordinary legal signification and is relegated merely to the status of a document supplying important information indicating flaws in the investig-ation or inquiry making the formalities in taking notice of it totally redundant. There is, therefore, no scope in the Ain, to ascribe the status of fresh complaint to naraji-petition.  In the same vein, examination or non-examination of the informant/ complainant under section 200 for taking naraji-petition into consideration is of no consequence.  Examination of complainant, thus, being unnecessary, non-examination under section 200 does not furnish any ground for quashing.
. . . (36)
Words and Phrases
Naraji
An inquiry within the meaning of the Code, especially when follows a naraji petition,  is generally an indoor activity of quasi judicial nature conducted by a Magistrate or court that includes recording of oral evidence   adduced by a handful of witnesses, in most cases selected by the informant, in order to examine whether there is prima facie materials to justify cognizance which has nothing to do with visiting place of occurrence, search, seizure, detection and tracking down accused, arrest, interrogation, collection of  evidence on ground-level including expert opinion etc. as is done during investigation.. (39)
Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain (VIII of 2000)
Section 27 (1Ka)(Ka)
“Inquiry” as contemplated under section 27(1Ka)(Ka) may fairly be construed to include spot- visit and  recording statements of witnesses at the field level before  preparing a report to be submitted in the Tribunal. Here the inquiry- officer is either a Magistrate or ‘any other person’ assigned so to do by the Tribunal. It is knowledge a priori that a Magistrate is not a professional investigator. So is the case with the persons generally assigned by the Tribunal to make the inquiry, such as, the local Upa-Zila Chairman, Vice-Chairman (as is the case here) or a Government officer.  Furthermore, it is difficult to ascribe an extended meaning to the phrase, “any other person” so as to include an officer belonging to police or any other investigating agencies for the simple reason that had the legislature, by the phrase, meant to include any officer belonging to any of those agencies it had no reason not to specify the name of the agency. More importantly, if it is an ‘inquiry’ with its legal import as aforesaid, persons assigned matters a little because of the fact that inquiry made even by a member of an investigating agency is an ‘inquiry’ not ‘investigation’ and being circumscribed by its inherent limitations is incapable of making any significant difference.. . . (40)
Words and Phrases
Inquiry and investigation
The words ‘inquiry’ and ‘investigation’ are not words meant to bear the same connota-tions in the Code as well as in the Ain. They finally remain to be distinctly different in connotations to be taken recourse to by the Magistrate or the Tribunal according as the nature of a particular case, they respectively sit on, permits.    . . . (41)
Words and Phrases
Investigation
Investigation is an independent discipline to be mastered by long training and experience, adequate knowledge of criminal law, law of evidence, forensic science, art of tracking down the suspects and of interrogation and priorities in collection of evidence (material, documentary and oral) including expert-opinion enough to establish interlinkage between the offence and the offender. Investigation may be hidden or open unbounded by territorial limits involving various scientific methods, instruments and devices to be used in order to unearth the secret behind the crime.  Investigation knows no time limit except sheer professionalism of performance and untiring efforts of the investigating officer directed to discovering the truth behind a crime, often clueless and shrouded with mystery.                                                          . . . (42)
Words and Phrases
Investigation
Investigation is a goal- oriented mission, like a tiger chasing a deer, not to stop short of the target and must be allowed exactly as much time as it needs in its bid to reach the target. Statutory limitation giving deadline for the report is, therefore, bound to produce abortive and distorted result to the advantage of the true offenders. Investigation being a process that follows its own rules must be allowed to go unhindered unless its goal is reached. What is important is not to squeeze a report within a deadline but constant vigilance by the supervisory authority to see whether the investigation is going in right order and in right pace and take drastic measures against the  investigating officer should any  laches, negligence or foul-play on his part  is noticed.   . . . (43)
Words and Phrases
Investigation
Investigation must be directed to be carried out either by police or by any other specialized agency where facts of a particular case requires the Tribunal so to do. A police officer is not police. Refusal by him to accept the complaint need not be construed as refusal by police. If in the peculiar facts of a case Tribunal is satisfied that nothing less than a threadbare investigation is needed for detection of the crime and the criminals it has no choice but to exercise its inherent power and send back the complaint- petition to the police station with direction to treat the same as an FIR and cause investigation to be made by any competent police officer (other than the one who refused to accept the complaint) or by an officer belonging to any other specialized investigating agency. The power to make such direction must not be limited to any stage or difference of title of the information upon which the proceedings was started, FIR or complaint precisely for the reason that justice is the raison d’ệtre of a court or tribunal and no law, however clear in meaning, seeking to deter the court/tribunal in passing any order for securing ends of justice can stand without being indicted. Direction may be made on receipt of the complaint-petition or even after receiving inquiry- report if the report, in the opinion of the Tribunal, suggests that the facts are not as obvious and plain as is narrated in the complaint petition and the inquiry-report is not enough to support a fruitful prosecution.         . . . (44)
Nair-o-Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain (VIII of 2000)
Section 19(1)
Police is duty bound to receive complaint alleging commission of cognizable offence and cannot refuse it without lawful excuse. Since all the offences under the Ain are cognizable arbitrary refusal by police to accept the complaint alleging commission of any of them amounts to misconduct. It is an absurd proposition to suppose that mere refusal by a police officer or in other words, dereliction of duty of a police officer or for that matter an authorized person may be taken to create a legal binding upon the Tribunal to take recourse to inquiry-procedure although, in its opinion, investigation should be directed in the peculiar facts of the case.  This is a proposition which militates against the ultimate authority of the Tribunal to take its own decision and runs contrary to the ‘last say’ doctrine.                                   . . . (45)
Words and Phrases
Investigation
It may not be out of place to mention here that a Magistrate or ‘any other person’ for that matter a Judge, how high soever, is not an expert in investigation. They are not persons, merely because of their higher credibility in the society, to act as a substitute for a competent police officer or a member of other investigating agencies nor a direction for inquiry by one or more of them may be given interchangeably with investigation regardless of the nature of the case.                               ...(46)
Abdul Halim (Md) Vs. State, 60 DLR 393; Ruma Khatun Vs. Md. Abdun Noor (unreported), Cr. Appeal No. 7782 of 2011; Hafizur Rahman Vs. State, (unreported), Cr. Miscellaneous Case No.27249 of 2013; Attorney General for Canada Vs. Hallet &Carey Ltd. [1952] AC 427; SA Haroon Vs. Collector of Customs, 11 DLR (SC) 200; K Anbazhagan Vs. Superintendent of Police, AIR 2004 SC 524; Sutherland Publishing Co. Vs. Caxton Publishing Co. [1938] ch 174 and Sirajul Islam Vs. State 17 BLC 740 ref.
Criminal Miscellaneous Case No. 11456 of 2015


Mr. Raquibul Haque Mia with
Md. Mazedul Islam Patwary, Advocate
...For the petitioner

Mr. Md. Harun-ar-Rashid with
Mr. M. Masud Alam Chowdhury, A.A.G.
Mr. M. A. Qumrul Hasan Khan, AAG
...For the State
JUDGMENT
M. Moazzam Husain, J:
This Rule, at the instance of one of the accused,  was issued calling in question the legality  of the proceedings in Petition  (Nari-o-Shishu)  Case No.71 of 2014 u/s 7, 9(1) read with section 30 of the Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Damon Ain, 2000, as amended up-to-date now pending in the Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Damon Tribunal No.1, Lalmonirhat. At the opening of the hearing  of the Rule before a Division Bench it appeared that the basic question upon which the proceedings was challenged is the question of maintainability of a naraji petition within the scheme of section 27 of the Nari-o-Shishu Nirjaton Damon Ain, 2000. Since the question already gave rise to conflicting decisions the matter was referred to the Hon’ble Chief Justice for constituting a Full  Bench as per Rule 1 of Chapter VII of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh (High Court Division) Rules, 1973 so that the issue may be settled along with other related issues raised by the petitioner. Hon’ble Chief Justice in his turn was pleased to constitute this Bench for the purpose. 
  1. Back on facts, it appears that a victim of rape is the complainant. She first approached the local thana in order to lodge a complaint but having been refused therefrom took recourse to the second option and filed the instant complaint-petition in the Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Damon Tribunal (hereafter referred to as “the Tribunal”) No.1, Lamonirhat. In the complaint-petition she said, inter alia, that she was a student of Haziganj BM College. On 10.6.2014 after attending classes she made a detour to visit the house of her friend Hosne Ara. On her way back home present petitioner Anjuara took her to Lalmonirhat by persuasion and from there to an unknown house at Rangpur. Other accused including accused Bipul Chandra Barmon, the principal accused, joined them on the way. At Rangpur accused Anju (present petitioner) compelled the victim under threat to stay with accused Bipul in a room at night. As the night advanced Bipul insisted her to have sex with him but failed at the face of resistance. As the night advanced the victim got growingly tired and exhausted under persistent pressure meted out to her. Taking the advantage Bipul finally overpowered and raped her at late hours of the night. Accused Bipul thereafter stayed in the same room with her following three nights and raped her on several occasions. On 13.6.2014 Bipul went away and remained untraced. He came back on 15.6.14 and took the victim to Dhaka and stayed there in a rented house with the victim as husband and wife. The victim gradually accepted the incident as fait accompli but kept pressing the accused to complete the formality of marriage. As the pressure mounted accused Bipul suddenly disappeared leaving her alone in the house. On 15.8.2014 the victim was recovered by her brother from there and brought back home.
  2. The Tribunal having received the complaint- petition sent the same to the Upa Zila Vice-Chairman to inquire and submit report. The Vice-Chairman inquired into and submitted his report against five out of the six persons against whom, according to him, a prima facie case was found established. The sixth one is the petitioner whose release from the case was recommended. Soon thereafter a naraji petition was filed by the complainant. Learned Judge having heard the parties and perusing the records found a prima facie case against the petitioner also. He accordingly rejected the recommendation for release and   took cognizance of offence against all the six accused persons named in the complaint petition including this petitioner. Learned Judge while taking cognizance against all the accused made the following observations:
   ুনথি পর্যালোচনায় ও সার্বিক বিবেচনায় দেখা যায় যে তদমত্ম প্রতিবেদনে মামলার বাদিণীর অভিযোগের বাসত্মব প্রতিফলন ঘটে নাই। এইর্রদ অবস্থায় অত্র ট্রাইবুনালের নিকট সমেত্মাসজনক প্রতীয়মান না হওয়ায় তদমত্মকারী কর্মকর্তা কর্তৃক দাখিলী  আসামী আনজুয়ারাকে মামলার দায় হইতে অব্যহতির  সুপারিশ সম্বলিত অংশটুকু অগ্রাহ্য করা হইল। ’’
  1. The petitioner being the person grossly affected by the order obtained this Rule. The petitioner, in her bid to get the proceedings quashed raised basically three contentions. First, there is no scope for naraji petition within the scheme of section 27 of the Nari-o-Shishu Nirjaton Damon Ain, 2000 (hereinafter referred to as the Ain”), therefore,  the learned Judge, in taking cognizance of the offence on naraji petition committed an error of law occasioning failure of justice. Second, naraji petition is, for all practical purposes, a fresh complaint, therefore, taking cognizance without examining the complainant u/s 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (hereinafter referred to as “the Code”) is illegal.  Third, had there been scope under clause (1Ka) of section 27(1) for investigation by police or any other specialized agencies having knowledge and experience of investigation truth behind the allegation could have been discovered on sufficient materials and the learned judge would have been satisfied about the innocence of the petitioner and finally, the complaint petition does not disclose any offence, hence, initiation and continuation of the proceeding is nothing but an abuse of the process of court.
  2. Before we embark upon the merit of the contentions it would be apt to turn back on three of the series of decisions handed down by different Benches of this Division touching upon various questions-all, someway or other, relatable to  naraji.
  3. In Abdul Halim (Md) v State, 60 DLR 393, the victim lodged an information with the local police station  alleging commission of rape. After investigation police submitted ‘final report’ (Referred to as such in the Police Regulations Bengal, 1943, when the investigation officer submits report recommending release of any or all of the accused having found no prima facie case justifying a sent-up for trial ). The informant filed a naraji petition against the final report. Learned Judge of the Tribunal accepted the naraji petition and took cognizance of the offence. Trial was held and the accused was found guilty of the offence and accordingly sentenced to suffer imprisonment. In appeal no question of legality as to cognizance taken on naraji was directly raised. A Division Bench of this Division while deciding the appeal in the positive did not see anything wrong in naraji petition filed in a Nari-o-Shishu Case rather explained the position of final report and naraji petition by reference to a number of cases (mostly under  the Penal Code decided in the context of the Code of Criminal Procedure) and held that ‘on receipt of naraji petition the Tribunal may take cognizance of the offence if it is found reasonable and proper or direct further investigation.  (Underlines are mine)
  4. Next comes the case of Ruma Khatun v Md. Abdun Noor (unreported), Cr. Appeal No. 7782 of 2011, a case of rape. The victim having failed to persuade the local thana to accept her complaint filed a petition of complaint in the Nari-o-Shishu Nirjaton Damon Tribunal. The Tribunal sent the petition back to the police station for investigation. The investigation yielded negative report recommending release of the accused. The report was responded by a naraji petition. Upon the naraji petition further investigation  was directed. Further inquiry yielded the same result recommending release of the accused.  Naraji petition was also filed against the second final report.  This time the Tribunal rejected the naraji petition and accepted the final report consequently the accused was discharged. A Division Bench of this Division, while disposing of the appeal that was preferred by the complainant, took no exception of naraji petition rather in view of the facts disclosed in the naraji petition was satisfied about existence of a prima facie case to be tried and held  that the Tribunal rejected the naraji petition mechanically on the report tainted with bias and  in total disregard of the facts that there were enough materials on records, namely, medical report and affidavits sworn by the witnesses in support of the case. (Underlines are mine.)
  5. In both the cases courts appear to have dealt with naraji-petitions in a manner as if the same were filed in a case under the Penal Code leaving an impression that, so far naraji petition is concerned, there is no difference between cases under the Penal Code and under a special law like Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Damon Ain.  Naraji, in nari-o-shishu cases, has thus derived indirect approval in almost all the cases decided by different Benches of this Court as the question of maintainability of naraji never came up directly as an issue in the context of the Ain, as it did, in the case of Hafizur Rahman (infra).
  6. In Hafizur Rahman v State, (unreported), Cr. Miscellaneous Case No.27249 of 2013, the victim girl approached the local police station with an allegation of rape against the accused. The Officer-in-Charge refused to record a case on the complaint. The Tribunal sent the complaint-petition  back  to police station with a direction to treat the same as first information report and investigate. Police after investigation submitted final report recommending action against the alleged victim under section 17 of the Ain. This was followed by a naraji petition filed by the informant. In this case, amongst others, the question that came to the fore is the question of maintainability of naraji petition within the scheme of section 27 of the Ain.  A Division Bench of this court upon a comprehensive discussion took the view that in cases initiated upon complaint Tribunal is not empowered to take cognizance upon naraji petition which being redundant in the context of the law. The  Court proceeded further to hold that question of examination of the complainant does not arise nor the Tribunal is empowered to send the complaint to police for inquiry and in that view the report submitted by police is no report within the meaning of section 27(1Ka) (Ka) of the Ain. No cognizance, therefore, can lawfully be taken on such report. (Underlines are mine).
  7. The cast-iron bar on the competence of the Tribunal to entertain naraji petition and of sending complaint petition to the police station with direction to record a case as put in   Hafizur Rahman has virtually denuded the Tribunal of a time-honored practice recognized by  the courts of this sub-continent as a mechanism to cure an otherwise flawed investigation and curtailed the inherent discretion of the Tribunal, as a court, to send the complaint-petition to police station for recording a regular case, should necessity arise. At the same time the judgment not being comprehensively focused on the total scheme of section 27 virtually allowed  many other questions, often raised, specially touching upon power of the Tribunal in proceedings initiated on information given to the police station and in proceedings  initiated on complaint, vis-à-vis, scope of naraji in the scheme of section 27, to remain unanswered. Such as, a)  if cognizance is taken on the report contemplated under sub-section (1) of section 27  is naraji maintainable,  b) is the Tribunal competent to reject the report as aforesaid  and direct further investigation or,  where expedient,  judicial inquiry,  c) so far as the power of the Tribunal is concerned,  is there any difference between the proceedings started on Awf‡hvM (referred to hereinafter as “FIR”) as contemplated under  sub-section (1) and the one started on Awf‡hvM  (shortly, “complaint”) contemplated under clause (1Ka) of sub-section (1), d) is  the Tribunal  powerless  in matters of sending  back the complaint   to the police station even, in its  opinion,  an investigation should be made e) in a case started upon complaint,  is the Tribunal bound to be confined to  ‘inquiry-report’  and the ‘complaint’  for taking cognizance and devoid of power to take notice of naraji
  8. The Ain is silent about the term ‘naraji’.  So is the case with the Code. But naraji is there to play its role as an important tool at the hands of the courts to test the bona fide of the police investigation and take necessary correctional measures in order that the true offenders cannot escape trial.
  9. If I am not far wrong, naraji is largely a sub-continental phenomenon which owes its origin to the ever declining public confidence in police investigation and  found favour with the courts as a document specially focused on the flaws in investigation indicating possible ways to set things right. 
  10. Naraji petition, almost without exception, is filed by the informant of a case against the final report recommending release of any or all of the accused named in the first information report as a protest indicating flaws in the investigation and asking either for further investigation or judicial inquiry. In our socio-economic reality, lack of professionalism and susceptibility of the investigating officer to undue influence seems as much likely as to make it difficult for the courts to ignore the objection raised by the informant and rely on the credibility it ideally deserves.  Naraji, thus, came to be recognized by courts as a safeguard against ill-attempts directed to screening offenders upon extraneous considerations or against an inefficient and perfunctory investigation leaving scope for the criminals to go scot-free and gradually assumed the status of a fresh complaint by consistent judicial expositions with all the attendant formalities of a complaint petition contemplated in the Code. 
  11. Naraji is not to be confused with a partisan document by reason merely of the fact that it owes its origin in the grievance of a party. It is a document that works in aid of the court in its efforts to ascertain the nature and magnitude of the flaws, if any, in investigation and suggests the next course of action in detection mechanism. Naraji thus has turned into an instrumentality of justice germane to criminal jurisprudence. Curtailing the power of the court to take notice of naraji cannot, therefore, be possible without significantly impairing the power of a court to prevent investigation being misdirected with ulterior motive or flawed by inefficiency or inexperience. 
  12. With the jurisprudence in mind, let us see whether section 27 of the Nari-o-Shishu Nirjaton Damon Ain, 2000, (as amended upto date) can be construed to exclude naraji from its scheme as is sought to be canvassed on behalf of the petitioner. But before we turn to the scheme, we need to have a look through  the preamble of the Ain and two other sections having direct bearing upon the issue.  
  13. The preamble reads as follows:
  যেহেতু নারী ও শিশু নির্যাতনমূলক অপরাধসমূহ কঠোরভাবে দমনের উদ্দেশ্যে প্রয়োজনীয় বিধান প্রণয়ন করা সমীচীন ও প্রয়োজনীয়;
  1. Section 18 of the Ain says:
১৮।  অপরাধের তদন্ত। (১) ফৌজদারি কার্যবিধিতে ভিন্নতর যাহা কিছুই থাকুক না কেন, এই আইনের অধীন কোন অপরাধের তদন্ত-
(ক) অভিযুক্ত ব্যক্তি অপরাধ সংঘটনের সময়ে হাতেনাতে পুলিশ কর্তৃক ধৃত হইলে বা অন্য কোন ব্যক্তি কর্তৃক ধৃত হইয়া পুলিশের নিকট সোপর্দ হইলে, তাহার ধৃত হইবার তারিখ হইতে পরবর্তী পনের কার্য দিবসের মধ্যে সম্পন্ন করিতে হইবে; অথবা
(খ) অভিযুক্ত ব্যক্তি অপরাধ সংঘটনের সময়ে হাতেনাতে ধৃত না হইলে তাহার অপরাধ সংঘটন সংক্রান্ত প্রাথমিক তথ্য প্রাপ্তি বা ক্ষেত্রমত, সংশ্লিষ্ট কর্মকর্তা বা তাহার নিকট হইতে ক্ষমতাপ্রাপ্ত কর্মকর্তা অথবা ট্রাইব্যুনালের নিকট হইতে তদন্তের আদেশ প্রাপ্তির তারিখ হইতে পরবর্তী ষাট কার্য দিবসের মধ্যে সম্পন্ন করিতে হইবে।
(২) কোন যুক্তিসংগত কারণে উপ-ধারা (১)-এ উল্লি­খিত সময়ের মধ্যে তদন্তকার্য সমাপ্ত করা সম্ভব না হইলে, তদন্তকারী কর্মকর্তা কারণ লিপিবদ্ধ করিয়া অতিরিক্ত ত্রিশ কার্য দিবসের মধ্যে অপরাধের তদন্ত কার্য সম্পন্ন করিবেন এবং তৎসম্পর্কে কারণ উলে­খ পূর্বক তাহার নিয়ন্ত্রণকারী কর্মকর্তা বা, ক্ষেত্রমত, তদন্তের আদেশ প্রদানকারী ট্রাইব্যুনালকে লিখিতভাবে অবহিত করিবেন।
(৩) উপ-ধারা (২)-এ উল্লি­খিত সময়সীমার মধ্যেও তদন্তকার্য সম্পন্ন না হইলে, সংশি­ষ্ট তদন্তকারী কর্মকর্তা উওু সময়সীমা অতিএুান্ত হইবার চবিবশ ঘন্টার মধ্যে উওুরুপ তদন্তকার্য সম্পন্ন না হওয়া সম্পর্কে তাহার নিয়মত্রণকারী কর্মকর্তা কিংবা তদন্তের আদেশ প্রদানকারী ট্রাইব্যুনালকে লিখিতভাবে অবহিত করিবেন।
(৪) উপ-ধারা (৩) এর অধীন তদন্তকার্য সম্পন্ন না হওয়া সম্পর্কে অবহিত হইবার পর নিয়মত্রণকারী কর্মকর্তা কিংবা, ক্ষেত্রমত, তদন্তের আদেশ প্রদানকারী ট্রাইব্যুনাল উক্ত অপরাধের তদন্তভার অন্য কোন কর্মকর্তার নিকট হস্তান্তর করিতে পারিবেন এবং উক্তরূপে কোন অপরাধের তদন্তভার হস্তান্তর করা হইলে তদন্তের ভারপ্রাপ্ত কর্মকর্তা-
(ক) অভিযুত্তু ব্যক্তি অপরাধ সংঘটনের সময় হাতেনাতে পুলিশ কর্তৃক ধৃত হইলে বা অন্য কোন ব্যক্তি কর্তৃক ধৃত হইয়া পুলিশের নিকট সোপর্দ হইলে, তদন্তের আদেশ প্রাপ্তির তারিখ হইতে পরবর্তী সাত কার্য দিবসের মধ্যে সম্পন্ন করিবেন; অথবা
(খ) অন্যান্য ক্ষেত্রে তদন্তের আদেশ প্রাপ্তির তারিখ হইতে পরবর্তী ত্রিশ কার্য দিবসের মধ্যে সম্পন্ন করিতে হইবে।
(৫) উপ-ধারা (৪) এ উলি­খিত সময়সীমার মধ্যেও তদন্তকার্য সম্পন্ন করা না হইলে, সংশি­ষ্ট তদন্তকারী কর্মকর্তা উওু সময়সীমা অতিত্রুান্ত হইবার চবিবশ ঘন্টার মধ্যে উওুরুপ তদন্তকার্য সম্পন্ন না হওয়া সম্পর্কে তাহার নিয়মত্রণকারী কর্মকর্তা কিংবা, ক্ষেত্রমত, তদন্তের আদেশ প্রদানকারী ট্রাইব্যুনালকে লিখিতভাবে অবহিত করিবেন।
(৬) উপ-ধারা (২) বা উপ-ধারা (৪)-এ উল্লি­খিত সময়সীমার মধ্যে কোন তদন্তকার্য সম্পন্ন না করার ক্ষেত্রে, তৎসম্পর্কে ব্যাখ্যা সম্বলিত প্রতিবেদন পর্যালোচনার পর নিয়মত্রণকারী কর্মকর্তা কিংবা, ক্ষেত্রমত, তদন্তের আদেশ প্রদানকারী  ট্রাইব্যুনাল যদি এই সিদ্বান্তে উপনীত হন যে, নির্ধারিত সময়ের মধ্যে তদন্ত সম্পন্ন না হওয়ার জন্য সংশি­ষ্ট তদন্তকারী কর্মকর্তাই দায়ী, তাহা হইলে উহা দায়ী ব্যওিুর  অদক্ষতা ও অসদাচরণ বলিয়া বিবেচিত হইবে এবং এই অদক্ষতা ও অসদাচরণ তাহার বার্ষিক গোপনীয় প্রতিবেদনে লিপিবদ্ধ করা হইবে এবং উপযুত্তু ক্ষেত্রে চাকরি বিধিমালা অনুযায়ী তাহার বিরুদ্ধে ব্যবসহা গ্রহণ করা যাইবে।
(৭) তদন্ত প্রতিবেদন দাখিলের পর যদি ট্রাইব্যুনাল তদন্ত সংশি­ষ্ট  তথ্যাদি পর্যালোচনা করিয়া এই মর্মে সন্তুষ্ট হয় যে, তদন্ত প্রতিবেদনে আসামী হিসাবে উল্লি­খিত কোন ব্যক্তিকে ন্যায়বিচারের স্বার্থে সাক্ষী করা বাঞ্ছনীয়, তবে উক্ত ব্যক্তিকে আসামীর পরিবর্তে সাক্ষী হিসাবে গণ্য করিবার নির্দেশ দিতে পারিবে।
(৮) যদি মামলার সাক্ষ্য গ্রহণ সমাপ্তির পর ট্রাইব্যুনালের নিকট প্রতীয়মান হয় যে, এই আইনের অধীন কোন অপরাধের তদন্তকারী কর্মকর্তা কোন ব্যওিুকে অপরাধের দায় হইতে রক্ষা করার উদ্দেশ্যে বা তদন্তকার্যে গাফিলতির মাধ্যমে অপরাধটি প্রমাণে ব্যবহারযোগ্য কোন আলামত সংগ্রহ বা বিবেচনা না করিয়া বা মামলার প্রমাণের প্রয়োজন ব্যতিরেকে উক্ত ব্যক্তিকে আসামীর পরিবর্তে সাক্ষী করিয়া বা কোন গুরুতবপূর্ণ সাক্ষীকে পরীক্ষা না করিয়া তদন্ত প্রতিবেদন দাখিল করিয়াছেন, তাহা হইলে উক্ত তদন্তকারী কর্মকর্তার বিরুদ্ধে উক্ত কার্য বা অবহেলাকে অদক্ষতা বা ক্ষেত্রমত, অসদাচরণ হিসাবে চিহিুত করিয়া ট্রাইব্যুনাল উক্ত কর্মকর্তার নিয়মত্রণকারী কর্তৃপক্ষকে তাহার বিরুদ্ধে যথাযথ আইনানুগ ব্যবসহা গ্রহণের নির্দেশ দিতে পারিবে।
(৯) ট্রাইব্যুনাল কোন আবেদনের প্রেক্ষিতে বা অন্য কোন তথ্যের ভিত্তিতে কোন তদন্তকারী কর্মকর্তার পরিবর্তে অন্য কোন Z`š—Kvix Kg©KZ©v wb‡qv‡Mi Rb¨ mswk­ó KZ©„c¶‡K wb‡`©k w`‡Z cvwi‡e| (underlines are mine).
  1. Section 25 of the Ain reads as follows:
২৫। ফৌজদারী কার্যবিধির প্রয়োগ,ইত্যাদি। (১) এই আইনে ভিন্নরূপ কিছু না থাকিলে, কোন অপরাধের অভিযোগ দায়ের, তদন্ত, বিচার ও নিষ্পত্তির ক্ষেত্রে ফৌজদারী কার্যবিধির বিধানাবলী প্রযোজ্য হইবে এবং ট্রাইব্যুনাল একটি দায়রা আদালত বলিয়া গণ্য হইবে এবং এই আইনের অধীন যে কোন অপরাধ বা তদনুসারে অন্য কোন অপরাধ বিচারের ক্ষেত্রে দায়রা আদালতের সকল ক্ষমতা প্রয়োগ করিতে পারিবে।
(২)  ট্রাইব্যুনালে অভিযোগকরীর পক্ষে মামলা পরিচালনাকারী ব্যক্তি পাবলিক প্রসিকিউটর বলিয়া গণ্য হইবেন।
  1. There are in all 34 sections in the Ain out of which twelve are penal and rest is procedural. The Ain is in the sense a mixed legislation sought to be made as far as possible self-contained.  The preamble of the Ain suggests that the   law was enacted in order to effectively curb the crimes against women and children.  Under the enabling provisions of section 18(8) the Tribunal, albeit after examination of witnesses, may direct the controlling authority of the investigating officer to take necessary action against him, if it is satisfied that he, with intent to shield any offender, refrained from collecting evidence required to be collected or willfully omitted to examine any important witness. Sub-section (9) of the section empowers the Tribunal to issue direction to change the investigating officer and appoint a new one in his place if it finds expedient so to do ‘on the basis of an application’ or ‘any other information received’ from any source whatsoever.   Subject to anything   to the contrary appearing in the Ain section 25 makes the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure applicable to filing, investigation, trial and disposal of cases under the Ain. Under the section Tribunal is deemed to be a Court of Session and will have all powers of a Court of Session in matters of trial of any offence under the Ain. (Underlines are mine).
  2. The aforesaid two sections read with the preamble and limitation clauses of the Ain  makes it amply clear that the legislature while making the law has taken adequate care to devise a more effective mechanism for detection of criminals responsible for commission of offences against women and children and ensure punishment of the offenders through speedier investigation and trial.  Furthermore, the Ain has made the Code applicable to filing, investigation, trial and disposal of the nari-o-shishu nirjatan cases and as abundant caution has equipped Tribunal with all the powers of the Court of Session in matters of trial of offences under the Ain. Nothing is there indicating exclusion of naraji rather the  Tribunal is obviously better placed  than the Court of Session in matters of control and supervision of investigation  so that it enjoys an additional power to take steps for changing the investigating officer on the basis of an application, irrespective of naraji, or on information received from any source whatsoever.  
  3. Down to section 27, the centerline of the controversy. For ready reference excerpts of the section may profitably be quoted. 
   ২৭। ট্রাইব্যুনালের এখতিয়ার। (১) সাব-ইন্সপেক্টর পদমর্যাদার নিলেজ্ঝ নহেন এমন কোন পুলিশ কর্মকর্তা বা এতদুদ্দেশ্যে সরকারের নিকট হইতে সাধারণ বা বিশেষ আদেশ দ্বারা ক্ষমতাপ্রাপ্ত কোন ব্যক্তির লিখিত রিপোর্ট ব্যতিরেকে কোন ট্রাইব্যুনাল কোন অপরাধ বিচারার্থ গ্রহণ করিবেন না।
  (১ক) কোন অভিযোগকারী উপ-ধারা (১)-এর অধীন কোন পুলিশ কর্মকর্তাকে বা ক্ষমতাপ্রাপ্ত ব্যক্তিকে কোন অপরাধের অভিযোগ গ্রহণ করিবার জন্য অনুরোধ করিয়া ব্যর্থ হইয়াছেন মর্মে হলফনামা সহকারে ট্রাইব্যুনালের নিকট অভিযোগ দাখিল করিলে ট্রাইব্যুনাল অভিযোগকারীকে পরীক্ষা করিয়া-
  (ক) সন্তুষ্ট হইলে অভিযোগটি অনুসন্ধানের (রহয়ঁরৎু) জন্য কোন ম্যাজিস্ট্রেট কিংবা অন্য কোন ব্যক্তিকে নির্দেশ প্রদান করিবেন এবং অনুসন্ধানের জন্য নির্দেশপ্রাপ্ত ব্যক্তি অভিযোগটি অনুসন্ধান করিয়া সাত কার্য দিবসের মধ্যে ট্রাইব্যুনালের নিকট রিপোর্ট প্রদান করিবেন;
(খ) সন্তুষ্ট না হইলে অভিযোগটি সরাসরি নাকচ করিবেন।
(১খ) উপ-ধারা (১ক) এর অধীন রিপোর্ট প্রাপ্তির পর কোন ট্রাইব্যুনাল যদি এই মর্মে সন্তুষ্ট হয় যে,
(ক) অভিযোগকারী উপ-ধারা (১) এর অধীন কোন পুলিশ কর্মকর্তাকে বা ক্ষমতাপ্রাপ্ত ব্যওিুকে কোন অপরাধের  অভিযোগ গ্রহণ করিবার জন্য অনুরোধ করিয়া ব্যর্থ হইয়াছেন এবং অভিযোগের সমর্থনে প্রাথমিক সাক্ষ্য প্রমাণ আছে সেই ক্ষেত্রে  ট্রাইব্যুনাল উওু রিপোর্ট ও অভিযোগের ভিত্তিতে অপরাধটি বিচারার্থ গ্রহণ করিবেন;
(খ) অভিযোগকারী উপ-ধারা (১) এর অধীন কোন পুলিশ কর্মকর্তাকে বা ক্ষমতাপ্রাপ্ত ব্যওিুকে কোন অপরাধের অভিযোগ গ্রহণ করিবার জন্য অনুরোধ করিয়া ব্যর্থ হইয়াছেন মর্মে প্রমাণ পাওয়া যায় নাই কিংবা অভিযোগের সমর্থনে কোন প্রাথমিক সাক্ষ্য প্রমাণ পাওয়া যায় নাই সেই ক্ষেত্রে ট্রাইব্যুনাল অভিযোগটি নাকচ করিবেন;
(১গ) উপ-ধারা (১) এবং (১ক) এর অধীন প্রাপ্ত রিপোর্ট কোন ব্যওিুর বিরুদ্ধে অপরাধ সংঘটনের অভিযোগ বা   তৎসম্পর্কে কার্যত্রুম গ্রহণের সুপারিশ না থাকা সত্বেও ট্রাইবুানাল, যথাযথ এবং ন্যায়বিচারের স্বার্থে প্রয়োজনীয় মনে করিলে, কারণ উল্লে­খপূর্বক উওু ব্যওিুর ব্যাপারে সংশি­ষ্ট অপরাধ বিচারার্থ গ্রহণ করিতে পারিবেন।
(2) ***   ***  ***   ***  ***     ***
(3) ***  ***   ***    ***   ***    ***
(Underlines are mine)
  1. A plain reading of the section suggests that cognizance can be taken through two procedures: one upon report submitted by ‘police’ or by ‘an authorized person’ and another upon inquiry- report submitted by the ‘Magistrate’ or ‘any other person’ assigned by the Tribunal so to do. Within the scheme of section 27 a proceedings under the Ain should ordinarily be initiated by lodging information in the police station. The second or, more appropriately, the alternative procedure sets in by default with a complaint-petition directly filed in the Tribunal subject to refusal by a police officer to accept the same. Sub-section (1), providing the first procedure, read with section 25 suggests that the Tribunal has been clothed with power wide enough to cover all the power of a Magistrate and of the Sessions judge rolled together in ignoring investigation-report with concomitant power to entertain naraji and sending back the case for further investigation or, (where practicable)  judicial inquiry. Sub-section (1) and (1Ga) of section 27 read with section 18 goes to show that the Tribunal is further equipped with power more robust than that of an ordinary criminal court in taking cognizance absolutely on its own satisfaction, albeit by assigning reason, gathered from any materials, irrespective of naraji, or information received in disregard of the final report submitted by police or the person authorized by the Government in this behalf. The enormously unqualified power of the Tribunal to take cognizance of offences on its own satisfaction in total disregard of everything means by necessary implication that the Tribunal enjoys power to take into consideration anything including the naraji-petition for its satisfaction without any formality attached to it in general law.
  2. While draftsmanship went halfway through well enough in dressing-up the Tribunal with powers in keeping with legislative policy to effectively suppress the ever increasing offences against women and children the drafters suddenly  lapsed  into contextual oblivion and embarked upon a drastic cut-back on power  depriving  the Tribunal of its important armory  required for detection of crime and the criminals : a new segment of provisions including  clauses (1Ka) to (1Kha) were  engrafted in section 27  introducing procedure of cognizance to be taken on report submitted by a Magistrate or any other person assigned by the Tribunal so to do, on materials collected through ‘inquiry’ apparently leaving no scope for the Tribunal to make a direction for ‘investigation’ by police or other specialized investigating agencies, even in the peculiar facts of the case, the Tribunal is of the opinion that nothing less than an investigation is enough to discover the truth behind the offence. This paradigm shift  taken through semantically   incoherent  provisions   has practically given rise to two types of prosecutions in similar cases: one equipped with adequate materials collected through investigation conducted by professional investigators leaving the other only with a report submitted by a Magistrate or any other person assigned by the Tribunal, almost without any exception,  prepared on statements made by a handful of witnesses and the complaint, that too, if the report does support the allegations made in the complaint. In any case, if inquiry-report does not support the allegations made in the complaint the Tribunal is left with only complaint, nothing else as prosecution materials upon which trial may be held -an occasion in which success of prosecution may hardly, if ever, be expected. The textual shift or error fairly attributable to inept draftsmanship in effect divided the victims into clear two classes: fortunate and unfortunate. The victim whose case is accepted by police is fortunate as the trial, if any, would be held on enough materials collected through investigation whereas the one whose complaint was not accepted by police would have to depend on prosecution-materials at best comprising of statements of few witnesses recorded by Magistrate/ any other person and the complaint-petition, a fortiorari, if the report so submitted lends support to the complaint-version.
  3. Save as the exception made in clauses (1Ka) and (1Kha) of sub-section (1) of section 27  the phraseologies regained its contextual upbeat just from the next section, namely, section 28, which says, inter alia: ‘any party aggrieved  by an order, judgment or sentence passed by the Tribunal  may prefer an appeal in the High Court Division against the order, judgment or sentence adversely affecting him or her   which by its plain meaning suggests that the Ain, unlike the Code, did not limit  the right to  appeal only to the formal parties of the case instead has widened the same to the extent of persons directly affected by the order passed or any decision taken by the Tribunal exactly in keeping with the overriding power otherwise vested in the Tribunal.
  4. The reason for sudden exclusion of investigation and drastic curtailment of power  of the Tribunal made by clauses (1Ka) and (1Kha) is nothing but refusal of ‘a police officer’ or an authorized person to receive the complaint alleging cognizable offences (all offences under the Ain are cognizable) where such refusal by police, without lawful excuse, is itself a  misconduct. The apparent ineptitude of the drafters in harmonizing the provisions with the context even with sub-section (1) of section 27 has not only stood in contrast with the legislative intent but also begged the question mooted here and many more crowding the courts with avoidable litigations. We think it apt to carve out the exclusionary clauses  from section 27 (already quoted) and reproduce here once again for a ready glance.
(১ক) কোন অভিযোগকারী উপ-ধারা (১)-এর অধীন কোন পুলিশ কর্মকর্তাকে বা ক্ষমতাপ্রাপ্ত ব্যক্তিকে কোন অপরাধের অভিযোগ গ্রহণ করিবার জন্য অনুরোধ করিয়া ব্যর্থ হইয়াছেন মর্মে হলফনামা সহকারে ট্রাইব্যুনালের নিকট অভিযোগ দাখিল করিলে ট্রাইব্যুনাল অভিযোগকারীকে পরীক্ষা করিয়া-
(ক) সন্তুষ্ট হইলে অভিযোগটি অনুসন্ধানের (রহয়ঁরৎু) জন্য কোন ম্যাজিস্ট্রেট কিংবা অন্য কোন ব্যক্তিকে নির্দেশ প্রদান করিবেন এবং অনুসন্ধানের জন্য নির্দেশপ্রাপ্ত ব্যক্তি অভিযোগটি অনুসন্ধান করিয়া সাত কার্য দিবসের মধ্যে ট্রাইব্যুনালের নিকট রিপোর্ট প্রদান করিবেন;
(খ) সন্তুষ্ট না হইলে অভিযোগটি সরাসরি নাকচ করিবেন।
(১খ) উপ-ধারা (১ক) এর অধীন রিপোর্ট প্রাপ্তির পর কোন ট্রাইব্যুনাল যদি এই মর্মে সন্তুষ্ট হয় যে,
(ক) অভিযোগকারী উপ-ধারা (১) এর অধীন কোন পুলিশ কর্মকর্তাকে বা ক্ষমতাপ্রাপ্ত ব্যওিুকে কোন অপরাধের  অভিযোগ গ্রহণ করিবার জন্য অনুরোধ করিয়া ব্যর্থ হইয়াছেন এবং অভিযোগের সমর্থনে প্রাথমিক সাক্ষ্য প্রমাণ আছে সেই ক্ষেত্রে  ট্রাইব্যুনাল উওু রিপোর্ট ও অভিযোগের ভিত্তিতে অপরাধটি বিচারার্থ গ্রহণ করিবেন;
(খ) অভিযোগকারী উপ-ধারা (১) এর অধীন কোন পুলিশ কর্মকর্তাকে বা ক্ষমতাপ্রাপ্ত ব্যওিুকে কোন অপরাধের অভিযোগ গ্রহণ করিবার জন্য অনুরোধ করিয়া ব্যর্থ হইয়াছেন মর্মে প্রমাণ পাওয়া যায় নাই কিংবা অভিযোগের সমর্থনে কোন প্রাথমিক সাক্ষ্য প্রমাণ পাওয়া যায় নাই সেই ক্ষেত্রে ট্রাইব্যুনাল অভিযোগটি নাকচ করিবেন;
(Underlines are mine)
  1. If we take a bit of pains in reading through the provisions particularly of  sub-clauses (Ka) of both the clauses (1Ka) and (1Kha) of sub-section (1) we notice a legal obligation created for the Tribunal to take recourse to ‘inquiry’ for collection of evidence without leaving option for investigation to put in place,  in case it is needed. This means the Tribunal, which was supposed to be fortified by power more robust than usual, is relegated to a position weaker than that of a Magistrate who, in the circumstances, can direct the police to treat the complaint as first information report and investigate. The proposition upon which the   Tribunal’s discretion exercised ex debito justiciae is curtailed stands sharply opposed to criminal jurisprudence. Secondly, sub-clause (Ka) of clause (1Ka) and sub-clause (Ka) of clause (1Kha) read together may fairly be taken to mean that the Tribunal is confined to the report submitted by a Magistrate or any other person in taking cognizance and holding trial on the basis of aforesaid two documents. It is totally unclear how on earth a clueless, secret or mysterious crime which needs in-depth investigation by professional investigator or an specialized agency for detection can be detected by a Magistrate, more so, through ‘inquiry’ within the meaning of the Code and for that matter how the Tribunal, meant to be instrumental to curbing dreadful, organized and sometimes high-tech crimes against women and children, will proceed with trial depending on the meager  materials, if any,  that can be collected within the limit  of ‘inquiry’ by a Magistrate or any other lay person as indicated in the law. 
  2. The apparent power  imbalance between the  two segments of section 27 created by textual shift has made room, amongst others,  for  argument that in the scheme of section 27, at least so far as it relates to the alternative procedure, there is no scope for naraji.
  3. The Ain being a social defense legislation (as the similar statutes are often so called) the Tribunal created under it is designed to effectively curb the growing crimes against women and children by ensuring flawless investigation or (where practicable) inquiry and speedy trial. No contextually defiant and discordant phrases, expressions and terminologies found place in the law, however clear in meaning, cannot be put to strict literal construction divorced from context, without betraying the cause of the legislation. It is precisely for the reason, sub-clauses (Ka) of both clauses (1Ka) and (1Kha) need be put to strained construction so as to be synchronized with the rest of the statute for that matter the purpose of the  Ain. Any otherwise a number of absurd and illogical consequences is bound to follow.  First, if the report is in the negative the Tribunal would be left with no materials except the complaint to decide the fate of the case. Thus a hardened criminal committing the offence alleged may find an easy exit to walk away from punishment or even trial. Second, making the Tribunal confined to two documents only would invariably enhance the importance of the report and thereby render the inquiry more susceptible to undue influence often difficult to ward off resulting in miscarriage of justice.  Third, Tribunal’s power as a court to circumvent the vices of inquiry with the help of other materials, like naraji, or any information received would be significantly impaired for no good reasons. Finally, and most importantly, the opinion of the Tribunal would be subjected to the opinion of the inquiry- officer if the Tribunal is bound down to the inquiry-report-a proposition unknown to criminal jurisprudence.   
  4. Furthermore, in the alternative procedure the proceedings is basically dependant on ‘inquiry’ as against ‘investigation’ where there is no arrest, interrogation,  police dossier, case diary, alamats, expert opinion, inquest, post-mortem reports etc. Naraji, in the circumstances, remains to be the most crucial document for the Tribunal to test the credibility of the inquiry-report. Strict literal interpretation of a contextually inconsistent provision and/or expression seeking to exclude naraji is, therefore, too ingenious to be accepted.
  5. One of the basic principles of common law is, law should serve the public interest. By the same strain, Parliament, as a body representing the people, is presumed not to intend absurd or illogical result from the applications of its enactments. Consequently, interpretation of statute finally turns on discovery of the intention of legislature.  In this juncture I might well borrow the words of Fancis Bennion in Understanding Common Law Legislation: Drafting & Interpretation (First Indian Reprint, 2004, Page 39-41): ‘The historic purpose of statutory interpretation is to arrive at the presumed intention of the legislators in promulgating the enactment… The so-called literal rule of interpretation nowadays dissolves into a rule that the text is the primary indication of legislative intention.. .There are occasions when, as Baron Parke said, the language of the legislature must be modified to avoid inconsistency with its intention…There are four reasons which justify stretching the literal meaning 1) where consequences of applying a literal construction are so obviously undesirable that Parliament cannot really have intended them 2) an error in the text which falsifies Parliament’s intention 3) a repugnance between the words of the enactment and those of some other relevant enactments and 4) changes in external circumstances since the enactment was originally drafted.’ 
  6. Decisions of the superior courts of the common law world including our sub-continent reflecting the aforesaid principles abound the pages of law reports. The following are but few: 
In Attorney General for Canada v Hallet &Carey Ltd. [1952] AC 427, it is held that- ‘Of all the rules of interpretation, the paramount rule remains, laws should be construed to carry out the intention of legislature,’ and where in the ordinary grammatical meaning of the words legislative intent is missing it must be construed by reference to the context of the whole Act.  In the words of Francis Bennion occurring in ‘Understanding Common Law Legislation’ (supra, page 50):
‘Where the literal meaning of the enactment goes narrower than the object of the legislator, the court may need to apply rectifying construction widening that meaning. Nowadays it is regarded as not in accordance with legal policy to allow a drafter’s ineptitude to prevent justice (sic) being done and the legislator’s intention implemented’
         In SA Haroon v Collector of Customs, 11 DLR (SC) 200, Pakistan Supreme Court held:
“All rules of interpretation have been devised as aids to the discovery of the legislative intents behind an enactment. Where the words are plain and unambiguous, that intent can best be judged by giving full effect to the ordinary grammatical meaning of those words. But when this is not the case an attempt should be made to discover the true intent by considering the relevant provisions in the context of the whole Act in which it appears and by having regard to the circumstances in which the enactment came to be passed. The previous state of law, the mischief sought to be suppressed and the new remedy provided are relevant factors to be given due consideration
         In a relatively recent case, K Anbazhagan v Superintendent of Police, AIR 2004 SC 524, Indian Supreme Court observed:
“Every law is designed to further the ends of justice and not to frustrate it in technicalities. The court should construe a statute to advance the cause of the statute not to defeat it.”
  1. Apart from what is said above, strict literalism, one of the principles of statutory interpretation deeply rooted into the parliamentary supremacy in England, is difficult to be fitted into our constitutional dispensation, even though the language of law is clear beyond doubt but produces absurd and illogical result.   Here in our jurisdiction Constitution is supreme and every piece of legislation made by Parliament must follow the parameters of the American due process principles enshrined in Art.31, in order to qualify as law as well as being enforceable by the Supreme Court.   Law, therefore, cannot travel far beyond its context and afford to be arbitrary, discriminatory or unreasonable yielding absurd and illogical consequences.  When purpose of the enactment is clear strained construction may legitimately be put to any expression or phrase used inadvertently. It is held in Sutherland Publishing Co. v Caxton Publishing Co. [1938] ch 174, that‘- ‘ Where the purpose of an enactment is clear, it is often legitimate, to put a strained interpretation upon some words which have been inadvertently used’.  Reverting to Bennion: “ The truth is that, sometimes the argument against a literal construction are so compelling that even though the words are not, within the rules of language, capable of another meaning they must be given one”. [Understanding Common Law Legislation, supra p 43].  Since the enactments in question apparently go narrower than the purpose of the law we have no hesitation to reject the contentions built upon strict literalism in interpretation totally isolated from the context. The language of clauses (1Ka) and (1Kha) must, therefore, be harmonized with the rest of the statute and be construed to include power not only co-equal with powers   provided by section 27(1) but also the Tribunal must be taken to include powers to take notice of naraji as well as   all other powers incidental to carrying out the purpose of the Ain.
  2. Be that as it may, the controversy is set at naught by clause (1Ga) of section 27 which spelt out in no uncertain terms that notwithstanding any recommendation made in the report submitted either by police/authorized person or by Magistrate/any other person   as contemplated in sub-section (1) and clause (1Ka) respectively, not sending the accused for trial, the Tribunal, if considers proper for ends of justice, may take cognizance of the offence against the accused assigning its reasons thereof.  The language of the law leaves no doubt that the Tribunal, as distinguished from the Court of Session or the Magistrate, enjoys an added statutory power to reject the investigation/ inquiry report and take cognizance on its own satisfaction.  It follows, by parity of reasoning, that the Tribunal which is free to take cognizance regardless of the nature of the report is free to take into notice any information supplied under any name, naraji or otherwise, if the same proves to be of use in testing the veracity of the report and by necessary implication enjoined with power to direct a further investigation or inquiry (where practicable) regardless of how the proceedings was started, upon FIR or complaint.
  3. Viewed in the light of expositions made hereinabove, it logically follows that Tribunal is well within its competence to entertain naraji leaving no room for argument that there is no scope of naraji petition in the scheme of section 27 of the Ain.
  4. Now two different but closely interrelated questions that fall to be addressed, that is, whether naraji is to be treated as a fresh complaint and if so whether the complainant is required to be examined u/s 200 of the Code when it is filed in a case under Nari-o-Shishu Nirjaton Damon Ain.
  5. The answer is not very far to seek. It is implicit in the language of sub-section (1Ga) of section 27 of the Ain. As we have already stated, the Nari-o-Shishu Nirjaton Damon Ain, 2000, is a special and stringent legislation made with intent to detect the persons alleged to have committed crimes against women and/or children and to suitably punish them   through speedier investigation, inquiry and trial. With the end in view the Ain, unlike the Code, has taken care to equip  the Tribunal, as far as possible,  with unqualified power to take cognizance of offences on its own satisfaction gathered from any materials (naraji or otherwise) regardless of what is said in the report. In the realm of almost unqualified power directed to achieving the object of law, naraji stands to lose its ordinary legal signification and is relegated merely to the status of a document supplying important information indicating flaws in the investigation or inquiry making the formalities in taking notice of it totally redundant. There is, therefore, no scope in the Ain, to ascribe the status of fresh complaint to naraji-petition.  In the same vein, examination or non-examination of the informant/complainant under section 200 for taking naraji-petition into consideration is of no consequence. Examination of complainant, thus, being unnecessary, non-examination under section 200 does not furnish any ground for quashing.
  6. The contention finally raised is whether section 27(1Ka) of the Ain takes away power of the Tribunal to send back the petition of complaint  to the police station, for recording a regular case and proceed with investigation. The issue incidentally came up and already decided down the line, however, without any special reference to the question pointedly raised. Mr. Raquibul Haque, learned Advocate, tried to argue by reference to the special wordings of  section 27(1Ka), that the section puts a clear bar on the Tribunal’s power to send back the petition to the police, as according to him, fair investigation cannot be expected from an agency that refused to accept the complaint as a case.  He sought to lend support from the case of Sirajul Islam v State reported in 17 BLC 740.
  7. No doubt the point raised demands independent treatment in view of its importance. Nevertheless, before we go for addressing the contention we need to dwell in the concept of ‘inquiry’ and ‘investigation’ at a certain length. 
  8. The Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Damon Ain, 2000, does not define any of the terms. Naturally, the pre-existing law i.e., the Code of Criminal Procedure, will come into play in filling up the gap as per settled principles of interpretation. So far as the word’ investigation’ occurring in the Ain is concerned, the Code will apply specially by virtue of section 25 of the Ain.  Section 4(k) of the Code describes ‘inquiry’ as one- ‘that includes every inquiry other than a trial conducted under the Code by a Magistrate or Court.’  Section 4(l) describes ‘investigation’ as one-‘that includes all the proceedings under the Code for the collection of evidence conducted by a police officer or by any person (other than a Magistrate) who is authorized by Magistrate in this behalf. Since the meaning of the words ‘inquiry’ and ‘investigation’ appearing in the Ain borrow their meaning from the Code there is no difference of meaning of those words occurring in the Code and in the Ain. Nevertheless, the word ‘inquiry’ appearing in section 27(1Ka) (Ka), in view of its special wordings, seems to differ, if at all, in degree from ‘inquiry’ within the scheme of the Code. An inquiry within the meaning of the Code, especially when follows a naraji petition, is generally an indoor activity of quasi judicial nature conducted by a Magistrate or court that includes recording of oral evidence adduced by a handful of witnesses, in most cases selected by the informant, in order to examine whether there is prima facie materials to justify   cognizance which has nothing to do with visiting place of occurrence, search, seizure, detection and tracking down accused, arrest, interrogation, collection of evidence on ground-level including expert opinion etc. as is done during investigation.
  9. On the other hand, “inquiry” as contemplated under section 27(1Ka)(Ka) may fairly be construed to include spot- visit and  recording statements of  witnesses at the field level  before  preparing a report to be submitted in the Tribunal. Here the inquiry- officer is either a Magistrate or ‘any other person’ assigned so to do by the Tribunal. It is knowledge a priori that a Magistrate is not a professional investigator. So is the case with the persons generally assigned by the Tribunal to make the inquiry, such as, the local Upa-Zila Chairman, Vice-Chairman (as is the case here) or a Government officerFurthermore, it is difficult to ascribe an extended meaning to the phrase, “any other person” so as to include an officer belonging to police or any other investigating agencies for the simple reason that had the legislature, by the phrase, meant to include any officer belonging to any of those agencies it had no reason not to specify the name of the agency. More importantly, if it is an ‘inquiry’ with its legal import as aforesaid, persons assigned matters a little because of the fact that inquiry made even by a member of an investigating agency is an ‘inquiry’ not ‘investigation’ and being circumscribed by its inherent limitations is incapable of making any significant difference.
  10. It is, thus, clear that the words ‘inquiry’ and ‘investigation’ are not words meant to bear the same connotations in the Code as well as in the Ain. They finally remain to be distinctly different in connotations to be taken recourse to   by the Magistrate or the Tribunal according as the nature of a particular case, they respectively sit on, permits.  
  11. As is suggested by its definition read with chapter XIV of the Code investigation is an independent discipline to be mastered by long training and experience, adequate knowledge of criminal law, law of evidence, forensic science, art of tracking down the suspects and of    interrogation and priorities in collection of evidence (material, documentary and oral) including expert-opinion enough to establish interlinkage between the offence and the offender. Investigation may be hidden or open unbounded by territorial limits involving various scientific methods, instruments and devices to be used in order to unearth the secret behind the crime.  Investigation knows no time limit except sheer professionalism of performance and untiring efforts of the investigating officer directed to discovering the truth behind a crime, often clueless and shrouded with mystery.  With the progress of science and technology crimes are also gaining newer and newer dimensions. Dreadful offences against women and children, including killing and grievous hurt throwing acid or other corrosive substance are being regularly recorded.  Cases of rape and gang-rape have risen to an epidemic scale. Routine rape over months under constant threat of posting nude images of young girls in the website often resulting in suicide committed by the victims has become a regular phenomenon. Women and children trafficking is now a subject of gang operation having international network. Extra-marital conception of unmarried girls, question of paternity of the baby and identification of the real criminal have posed a threat to social harmony. The offences are often so complicated, clueless and deep- rooted into influential quarters that nothing less than a full-scale investigation by a professional investigator is enough to unearth the truth behind them.
  12. Investigation is a goal- oriented mission, like a tiger chasing a deer, not to stop short of the target and must be allowed exactly as much time as it needs in its bid to reach the target. Statutory limitation giving deadline for the report is, therefore, bound to produce abortive and distorted result to the advantage of the true offenders. Investigation being a process that follows its own rules must be allowed to go unhindered unless its goal is reached. What is important is not to squeeze a report within a deadline but constant vigilance by the supervisory authority to see whether the investigation is going in right order and in right pace and take drastic measures against the  investigating officer should any laches, negligence or foul-play on his part  is noticed.
  13. The factual perspective illustrates the difference between the two terms and makes it amply clear that they are not mechanisms to be used interchangeably irrespective of the nature of the cases. Investigation must be directed to be carried out either by police or by any other specialized agency where facts of a particular case requires the Tribunal so to do. A police officer is not police. Refusal by him to accept the complaint need not be construed as refusal by police. If in the peculiar facts of a case Tribunal is satisfied that nothing less than a threadbare investigation is needed for detection of the crime and the criminals it has no choice but to exercise its inherent power and send back the complaint- petition to the police station with direction to treat the same as an FIR and cause investigation to be made by any competent police officer (other than the one who refused to accept the complaint) or by an officer belonging to any other specialized investigating agency. The power to make such direction must not be limited to any stage or difference of title of the information upon which the proceedings was started, FIR or complaint precisely for the reason that justice is the raison d’ệtre of a court or tribunal and no law, however clear in meaning, seeking to deter the court/tribunal in passing any order for securing ends of justice can stand without being indicted. Direction may be made on receipt of the complaint-petition or even after receiving inquiry- report if the report, in the opinion of the Tribunal, suggests that the facts are not as obvious and plain as is narrated in the complaint petition and the inquiry-report is not enough to support a fruitful prosecution. 
  14. Over and above, police is duty bound to receive complaint alleging commission of cognizable offence and cannot refuse it without lawful excuse. Since all the offences under the Ain are cognizable arbitrary refusal by police to accept the complaint alleging commission of any of them amounts to misconduct. It is an absurd proposition to suppose that mere refusal by a police officer or in other words, dereliction of duty of a police officer or for that matter an authorized person may be taken to create a legal binding upon the Tribunal to take recourse to inquiry-procedure although, in its opinion, investigation should be directed in the peculiar facts of the case.  This is a proposition which militates against the ultimate authority of the Tribunal to take its own decision and runs contrary to the ‘last say’ doctrine. 
  15. It may not be out of place to mention here that a Magistrate or ‘any other person’ for that matter a Judge, how high soever, is not an expert in investigation. They are not persons, merely because of their higher credibility in the society, to act as a substitute for a competent police officer or a member of other investigating agencies nor a direction for inquiry by one or more of them may be given interchangeably with investigation regardless of the nature of the case. 
  16. The case of Sirajul Islam (supra), sought to be relied upon by the learned Advocate is clearly distinguishable because the issue in that case was whether the phrase “any other person” occurring in section 27(1Ka) (Ka) includes a police officer or not and their Lordships answered the question in the negative. We see no difference between the view taken by their Lordships and the one taken by us on the point in the sense, in our view, if it is ‘inquiry’ a person merely by virtue of being a police officer is of no consequence.  Learned Advocate seemingly missed the position that here we are not on interpretation of the phrase “any other person” occurring in section 27(1Ka) (Ka) but on acceptability of the proposition that mere refusal by   a police officer leaves the Tribunal with no choice but to go for inquiry. The citation, therefore, is misplaced in the context and is of no avail for the petitioner.
  17. The last and the final contention raised as a faint attempt to show that the allegation does not constitute any offence fades away as a cry in wilderness.  We have meticulously gone through the complaint petition. Unfortunately for the petitioner, we notice her name consistently appearing throughout the complaint-petition indicating her direct involvement (true or false) in the commission of the offence. There is obviously a strong prima facie case against the petitioner to be tried.  The report submitted by the Vice-Chairman of the local Upa-Zila Parishad is clearly biased and the Tribunal has rightly taken cognizance of the offence against the petitioner by rejecting   the report. 
To sum up:
  1. Naraji petition filed by the informant/complainant or any other person aggrieved against any report within the meaning of section 27 of the Ain,   submitted by police, Magistrate or any person authorized by the Government or appointed by the Tribunal is maintainable and the Tribunal is competent to take notice of the naraji-petition for its own satisfaction about the acceptability of the investigation or inquiry-report and as an aid to the process taking cognizance. 
  2. The informant/complainant or person aggrieved filing naraji petition against investigation/inquiry report within the meaning of section 27 of the Ain is  not required to be  examined u/s 200 of the Code for any purpose.
  3. On receipt of the complaint the Tribunal may, if thinks fit, withhold direction for inquiry as contemplated under sub-clause (Ka) of section 27(1Ka) and send the complaint-petition back to the police station for recording a regular case, with direction to cause the investigation to be made by any competent police officer, other than the one who refused to accept the complaint, or direct any other investigating agency to investigate.
  4. Without prejudice to the findings made in the preceding paragraph, the Tribunal may, if it appears after receiving the inquiry-report that the facts are not as plain and obvious as narrated in the petition of complaint and an inquiry is not enough for discovery of truth behind the offence, send the complaint-petition to the local police station with direction to cause an investigation to be made by a competent police officer, other than the one who refused to accept the same, or otherwise direct any other investigating agency to investigate, and report.
For what we have stated above, we see no merit in the Rule. In the result, the Rule is discharged. The order of stay granted earlier is hereby vacated. The Tribunal is directed to proceed with the trial of the case in accordance with law.
         Communicate at once.
Ed.