Arrest is Matter of Discretion Of Police : Kerala HC

Today, the High Court of Kerala considered three petitions seeking proper investigation of criminal case against Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese of Catholic Church, who stands accused of raping a nun.

During hearing Adv.Sandhya Raju, the counsel for Kerala Catholic Reformation Movement, submitted that the non-arrest of Bishop, even after more than 70 days of nun’s complaint, was unusual, giving rise to strong suspicion that the investigation had been compromised. She added that in ordinary course, an accused in such a case would have been arrested long ago. At this, the Court stated that general practice of immediate arrest may not be applicable in the instant case, as the alleged incidents occurred almost two years ago.

“Arrest is a matter of discretion of police”, the bench observed. The bench added that it was only concerned with whether investigation is going on fairly, and that it cannot compel police to carry out investigation in a particular manner.

The Court recorded prima facie satisfaction of the investigation on the basis of progress report submitted by Dy.SP Vaikom, the investigating officer, and held :

“…we are of the prima facie view that the investigation is being conducted in a fair and professional manner, and at this stage, it would be inappropriate for this Court, to issue any specific direction on the conduct of the investigation”.

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