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'Five plus zero' not working: Court lists steps to tackle high pendency

New Delhi: Noting that the case disposal within the 'five plus zero' policy period is not possible on account of delay by the police, a Delhi court listed out certain steps that need to be taken by the Police Commissioner for the expeditious completion of the criminal cases.

'Five plus zero' is an initiative of states to ensure that cases pending for more than five years are taken up on a priority basis and such cases brought down to zero.

Additional Sessions Judge Sunil Chaudhary passed the order after noting that the charge sheet in a five-year-old criminal conspiracy case was filed after a delay of 27 months of being forwarded by the Assistant Commissioner of Police and that no FSL report was so far available in the judicial file.

It is the expectation of the authorities to complete the trial of the criminal matter expeditiously and 'five plus zero' is the policy adopted by the State in respect of the Court matters. The disposal of the case within the policy period is not possible on account of delay in putting the report in the Courts and in the facts where the report is incomplete, the judge

stated.

The judge added, "The facts forced this Court to draw the attention of the Commissioner of Police being the head of the investigating agency in Delhi so that appropriate steps may be taken putting the report in the Court as soon as it is forwarded by the ACP concerned."

The court further said that steps are required to be taken by the Office of the Police Commissioner in respect of getting the reports from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Rohini well in time during the probe so that investigating officer (IO) submits the final report based on expert opinion.

Steps are also needed for the Commissioner of Police to allow his subordinates to get exhibits examined from some other recognized laboratory if FSL, Rohini is overburdened and unable to provide requisite report/opinion well in time, he stated in an order dated November 24.

The court had noted that in the present case the final report was signed on June 14, 2017, and forwarded by ACP Mahender Kumar Meena but the same was filed before the court on September 4,

2019.

Significantly, recently procured data through RTI showed that there was a high pendency of cases — specifically those related to crimes against women and children in 2020. In a bid to reduce this, Commissioner Rakesh Asthana had separated law and order and investigative duties in police stations.

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