This article is written by Pratishtha Mandal, currently pursuing LLB from Campus Law Centre (Law faculty, Delhi University). In this article, she is going to talk about the introductory topic i.e Procedure every police report follows after the investigation is completed under the Code of Criminal Procedure (1973).
On the completion of Investigation, the police are required to follow certain procedures as laid down in Section 169 of CrPC till Section 173 of CrPC. Submission of the police report within a kind of “charge-sheet” or “challan” is the end-result of such investigation by police. Section 169 accords with the cases of lack of evidence. Section 170 with the cases where the accused is shipped up for the trial and Section 173 provides for general instructions for both the section 169 and 170. The expression “final Report” is not used in the CrPC, but the report submitted by the police officer is called the “final report”.
The investigation consists of several stages which ultimately ends in the creation of an opinion by the police, on the material or evidence covered and collected. Then a case is formed to place the accused for trial before the Magistrate and submission of a final report under Section 169 or a charge-sheet under Section 170, is dependent on the nature of the opinion which is formed by the police. The creation of the said opinion by the police is the final step in the investigation and this final step is to be taken by the police and by no other authority.
Section 2(r) of CrPC talks about the expression ‘police report’, according to which a report is forwarded by a police officer to a Magistrate under Section 173(2). The report should be in the manner that is prescribed by the State Government as per the particulars mentioned in clause (a) to (g) of sub-section(2) of Section 173. The police report submitted under this section is called the End Report. If this report constitutes an attempt of a crime by an accused person, that report is commonly called the “charge-sheet” or the “challan”.
- The charge sheet made by the Police correlates and mentions the complaint of that private individual on which the criminal proceedings have taken place. Submission of the Charge sheet by the police officer reflects that the initial investigation and preparation regarding the same case are done and now Magistrate can take offence committed under his consideration as stated in Rama Shankar v. State [AIR 1956 All 525].
- The Magistrate can not interfere in any of his judicial capacity and as a court until he receives the final report by the police officer as per Section 173. Also, there can be no occasion for the Magistrate to make any judicial order about the police investigation as stated in M.L. Sethi v. R.P. Kapur [AIR 1967 SC 528].
A Magistrate who has disposed of a police report is competent to revise his order and require the “charge-sheet”. Where the complainant and the accused filed complaints against each other, but there is no report filed by the police in the court and statements in respect of the complaint made by the accused. It was held to be a handicap to the accused in a proper projection of his defence and the accused were set at liberty.
The police “charge-sheet” correlates to the complaint made by the private individual on which criminal proceedings are initiated. When the charge sheet is sent, the initial stage of investigation along with the preparation. Upon the document provided by the police, the Magistrate can take the offence into his consideration.
When the Sub-Inspector of police after making an investigation and examining as many as ten witnesses referred in the case as “mistake of fact”, the Magistrate then by accepting the report, orders to record it as a judicial order and that the case could not be re-opened by a Police Inspector by filing a charge-sheet after re-investigation for the same.
Provisions relating to Police report
Documents and Statements to be Forwarded with Report [Section 173(5) to (7)]
According to the Section 170 of CrPC, the police officer should forward the report related to the case to the Magistrate all the documents or relevant extracts of the same (other than the extracts during an investigation already sent to the Magistrate) and also the statements recorded under Section 161 of persons, on whom the prosecution rely as per Section 173(5).
No extensive test of such documents may be suggested. It includes reports of a post-mortem examination, or chemical examiner, handwriting or fingerprint expert, etc. The accused can demand from the prosecutor copies of the statements recorded by police during the investigation and use it for his defence.
When the report is in relation of a case to which Section 170 applies i.e, a case in respect of which there is sufficient evidence for sending the accused person to a magistrate, the police officer shall forward the report to the Magistrate along with the accused:
- Police officers need to submit all the important and new documents contained after the investigation on which the prosecution claims to depend on other than old documents already sent to the magistrate at the time of the initial investigation.
- The statements which were recorded following Section 161 of all the persons whom the prosecution suggested to examine as its witnesses as per Section 173(5).
According to the Section 173(6) of Section 173 of CrPc tell us if the police officer thinks that any part of the statements made by the witnesses put forward by the prosecution is not pertinent to the subject-matter of the proceedings of the case or that its confession to the accused is not essential in the favour of justice and is inadvisable in the public interest. In such a scenario, the police officer shall indicate the part of the statement and add a note requesting the Magistrate to leave that part from the copies to be provided to the accused and mentioning his reasons for making such request.
But if the police officer finds it convenient while investigating the case to do so rather than behaving as per Section 173(7), he may provide the copies of all or any documents to the accused referred to in the Sub-section (5).
Supplementary Report on further investigation
The submission of the report by the police officer shall not prevent further investigation in respect of an offence when some additional evidence is obtained.
Section 173 says nothing as far as the investigation is concerned in respect to the offence that took place, the police officer needs to submit all the extra evidence obtained after the submission of the report if they manage to obtain any irrespective of the old evidence that already exists should be passed on to the Magistrate.
In ordering further investigation following Section 173(8) the Magistrate did not need to hear the accused about whom an investigation report under Section 173(2) has been filed in the court. However, if a witness is made accused after cognizance was taken, he should be heard by the Magistrate. Order for further investigation has been made under Section 167(b) whereas no time frame for the completion of investigation has been made will not be invalid.
It may be considered that a power to ask for further investigation has been conferred on the magistrate under Section 156(3), which can be exercised by the Magistrate even after the police officer has submitted the report. The power of the police officer is not affected by this provision to further investigate the case even after the report submission according to Section 173(8). However, the Magistrate after taking cognizance of the offence based on the police report cannot order a further investigation after the appearance of the accused. (Randhir Singh Rana v. State 1997).
If the FIR or other relevant material collected by the police does not disclose any cognizable offence prima facie, then in that case, the Magistrate has no authority to investigate. In such a case the High court, the exercise of its inherent powers in Section 482 or the exercise of powers under Article 226 of the Constitution can stop and quash such an investigation. [Popular Muthiah v. State, Represented by Inspector of Police (2006) 7 SCC 296]
The fundamental idea behind Section 173(8) is that if the investigation officer finds additional evidence as to guilt or innocence of the accused person it would be presented in the favour of justice on part of the accused.
Police report on completion of the investigation
On the completion of the investigation, the police officer is required to send a report to a proficient Magistrate as per Section 173. In case the magistrate disagrees with the police and considers the evidence inadequate to put the accused person on trial, the bond is taken under Section 169 for appearance before the Magistrate would be quite relevant and useful. The police can carry on the investigation even after the release of the accused person under Section 169(a) and if sufficient evidence against the accused is found, then there will be the submission of a report by the police as per the Section 173 and the person or the accused will be again arrested for that same offence.
Police officers are expected to make three different kinds of reports at three different stages of investigation:
- Section 157 requires a preliminary report to be submitted by the officer-in-charge of a police station to the Magistrate.
- Section 168 requires a report to be submitted from a subordinate police officer to the officer-in-charge of the station.
- Section 173 requires a final report of the police officer to the Magistrate as soon as the investigation is completed.
After the completion of the investigation, it is for the investigating police officer to form an opinion as to whether or not the case allows the accused to be put before the magistrate for trial. He would then follow the procedure laid down in Section 169 or 170 and submit a report to the Magistrate having jurisprudence as per Section 173. The necessity of completing the investigation quickly is maintained by giving a general direction that every investigation shall be completed without unnecessary delay to Section 173(1). For instance- Under Sub-section 1A (inserted by 2008 Amendment), the investigation concerning the rape of a child may be completed within three months from the date on which the information was ordered by the officer-in-charge of the police station.
Particulars of the report
As soon as the investigation is completed in respect to the case, the police officer needs to submit the final report made to the authorised Magistrate who can take action on the case further. A report in the form prescribed under Section 173(2)(i) by the State Government, stating:
- The names of the parties
- The nature of the information
- The names of the persons who appear to be familiar with the circumstances of the case
- Whether any offence appears to have been committed and if so, then by whom
- Whether the accused been arrested
- Whether the accused has been released on his bond and if so, then whether with or without sureties
- Whether he has been put in custody under Section 170.
Submission of this police report is a part of the investigation.
It has been opined that the Magistrate is not entitled to order an investigation by a senior police officer in charge of the police station.
In this case, the court observed that the creation of the opinion by the police officer by whom or under whom the investigation took place, is the final step in the investigation and that final step is to be taken by the police and not by any other authority. Thus, there is no power expressly or impliedly given under the provisions to a magistrate to call upon the police to submit a charge-sheet. When the police officer has sent a report under Section 169 that there is no case can be made from the following report to send the accused for trial, in that case the charges are to be made by the Magistrate to keep in mind the report submitted by the police as per Section 228 and Section 240 of CrPC.
If the magistrate evaluates that the accused person was wrongly released, then he has the power to take cognizance of the case and can further orders to put the accused on trial for the same offence. But if he decides to drop the case and there is a ‘protest petition’ the complainant has filed, the magistrate is entitled to initiate action on the same. In this case, a senior police officer slapped a senior lady IAS officer on her posterior at a party in the presence of an elite gathering and the Magistrate accepted the final report without giving reasons, submitted by the police in the case initiated by the lady officer under the Section 354/509 of IPC. Therefore, the Supreme Court set aside the order and restored the case directing the Magistrate to continue with the case despite the criticisms made by the complainant under Section 210 of CrPC.
Section 173(2) also provides that the officer shall also communicate, in the manner recommended by the State Government. The action was taken by a Police officer to the person providing the F.I.R. in a case where the Magistrate can decide whether to take any action concerning the offence or to drop the proceedings once the report is submitted to the Magistrate. The magistrate must give notice to the witness and provide him with the chance to be heard at the time of examination of the report. But this requirement is not applicable after the Magistrate has taken cognizance in Gurcharan Singh v. Suresh Kumar Jain, 1988 Cr LJ 823 (Del).
According to Section 173 of the CrPC, the police report shall contain the facts and the conclusion traced by the police officer. When an investigation is completed into a final report as regarded under Section 173 then the competent court enjoins a duty within its authority sanctioned by the law to carefully examine the final report and support it by applying its judicial mind and take a decision either to accept or dismiss the final report. Magistrate may differ with the police report, be it a charge-sheet or be it a final report. Magistrate may decide to issue a process even if the police recommend that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding further.
But if it decides to drop the case and there is a protest petition filed by the complainant, the Magistrate is designated to initiate action on that petition. However, if there is no hint by the informant that his protest petition may be treated as a complaint and the Magistrate did not also continuously continue as in a complaint case, just filing of the protest petition would not make it compulsory for the Magistrate to treat it as a complaint case.
In the event of the Magistrate’s dropping the case despite the protest petition, the complainant should be heard by him before he drops the case. The supreme court decision to this effect has been distinguished by the Delhi High Court holding that the requirement of hearing of the complainant arises only in the cases which have been dropped before taking action. In other words, if the Magistrate had taken cognizance and then dropped the case, there is no necessity of informing the complainant.
As soon as the investigation is completed a report which is commonly called as “charge-sheet” or “challan” is to be submitted to the Magistrate that has jurisdiction. The necessity of completing the investigation on time is emphasised by giving a general direction that every investigation could be completed without unnecessary delay according to Section 173 of CrPC.
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