A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) directed the Punjab Police on Monday to discontinue the practice of submitting challans (report) under Section 512 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in cases that pertain to proclaimed offenders.
The bench headed by Justice Sohail Nasir was hearing a case against the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) in a murder case.
Justice Nasir said every challan, be it cognisable or non-cognisable offence, has to be submitted under Section 173 of the CrPC.
According to the bench, every report after the conclusion of the probe has to be submitted under Section 173 of the CrPC as Section 512 does not pertain to the submission of challans.
He said these proceedings cannot be called trial in absentia either.
The general rule is that evidence has to be recorded in the presence of the accused or in presence of his counsel.
In a comment on Section 512 of the CrPC, the LHC judge said that the proceedings under Section 512 are an exception to the rule with the sole aim to preserve the evidence.
He said that under this section evidence can be recorded in the absence of the accused with an aim to preserve the evidence which may be used against the absconder when they are apprehended and brought before the court.
The court said the copies of this order shall be sent to the Inspector General of Police and Prosecutor General of Punjab who shall circulate it to all the concerned with directions that this illegal practice to mention “Challan under section 512 Cr. PC” shall be discontinued forthwith”.
“Office is further directed to send the copies of this order to all the judicial officers of Punjab, including on ex-cadre, for their guidance and compliance in the future,” it added.