Maintainability of Rhea Chakraborty’s plea for transfer of investigation
Updated: Aug 9, 2020
Bollywood actor Rhea Chakraborty, accused in Sushant Singh Rajput Suicide case approached the Supreme Court under Section 406 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 seeking transfer of investigation of an FIR from Patna to Mumbai. The transfer plea was heard by a single judge bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy.
The major issue that arises in this respect is whether investigation of a First Information Report can be transferred under Section 406, Code of Criminal Procedure, and if so, whether a plea filed by the accused for such transfer is tenable.
Section 406 states as under-
“Whenever it is made to appear to the Supreme Court that an order under this section is expedient for the ends of justice, it may direct that any particular case or appeal be transferred from one High Court to another High Court or from a Criminal Court subordinate to one High Court to another Criminal Court of equal or superior jurisdiction subordinate to another High Court.”
From a bare reading of Section 406 it becomes clear that this section provides for Supreme Court’s power to transfer cases and/ appeals from one High Court to another or from a criminal court in one state to a criminal court of equal or superior jurisdiction of another state. This Section can not be invoked for transfer of investigation from one state to another. In an affidavit filed by the Bihar police before the Supreme Court, in response to the transfer plea, it was contended that the objective of Section 406 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has never been to transfer investigation from one state to another.
It is a settled position of law that the accused does not have the right to approach the Court for transfer of investigation and that the accused has no choice as regards the manner of conducting investigation. In the leading case of Narmada Bai v. State of Gujrat & Ors. it was held that the accused can not choose as to which agency would investigate the offence and can not interfere in the matter of appointment of the investigating agency. In Romila Thapar v. Union of India the Supreme Court laid down that the accused can not ask for change in the investigating agency.
The accused person has no choice with respect to the manner in which the investigation is to be conducted. Thus, in view of Section 406, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the above stated judgements as well as other leading judgements of the apex court reiterating the same, it becomes clear that the petition filed by actor Rhea Chakraborty for transfer of investigation from Patna to Mumbai is untenable.