This article has been written by Diksha Paliwal, a practising advocate in the High Court of Indore and a student of LLM (Constitutional Law). This article provides in-depth knowledge regarding the role of police in investigating a crime along with the procedure and guidelines to be followed by the police when an investigation is being done. Before talking about the police’s role, the article briefly discusses what an investigation means. 

It has been published by Rachit Garg.


The term ‘Police’ in a general sense is associated with the maintenance of public order and the protection of citizens from crimes and other dangerous incidents that are unlawful. Police constitute the third most important pillar of the criminal justice system, while the judiciary and prosecution are the other two pillars. Police play a crucial role in the investigation of a crime, and customarily it is the police that first come in contact with the witnesses, victims and accused. To be more specific, police is the one that mainly identifies the accused and helps the prosecution prove the guilt of the accused in the criminal trials, and this is why mainly an investigation is done.

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The police have been assigned multifold duties that it has to perform throughout the criminal case. The police are required to hunt for the truth and act in an impartial way to do the same. This article tries to explain the role of police in crime investigation and before that, the article sheds light on what is meant by the term investigation, and thereafter the procedure of the investigation. 

As per the criminal law of India, the police is empowered to investigate cognizable offences (Section 2(c), Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973) without permission of the Magistrate, and for the investigation of non-cognizable offences (Section 2(l) of the Code of Criminal Procedure1973), police must first take permission from the Magistrate. 

What is investigation 

Etymologically the term ‘investigation’ connotes the careful examination of something or the search for information to discover facts about a particular situation or circumstance. It is the examination of relevant facts that establishes whether something unlawful has happened, and, the person responsible for such misconduct. 

The prime objective behind conducting the investigation is to examine the allegations and shreds of evidence regarding a certain act of misconduct. The investigation further examines whether something beyond the knowledge about the alleged happening of misconduct has happened. The Allahabad High Court in State of U.P v. Sant Prakash (1976) held that investigation is mainly conducted for the collection of evidence, and it must necessarily be conducted by the police officer or any other person authorised by the Magistrate.

“Investigation” is defined under Section 2(h) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (hereinafter referred to as CrPC), 1973. However, Section 2(h) does not provide an exhaustive definition. It states that the word is to include all the proceedings under the CrPC about the collection of evidence. The police officer or any other person authorised by the Magistrate conducts these proceedings referred to in Section 2(h). Provided, the Magistrate shall not himself conduct these proceedings. In a circumstance where any authority is given the power to deal with an offence (within the authority’s jurisdiction), in the exercise of such power, the authority is also empowered to investigate the offence, because the term “dealing with an offence” is to include the power of investigation also.  The four elements of the investigation are; case diaries, spot visits, collection of evidence, and, searches and seizures. 

Arrest and detention of persons, examination of witnesses, medical examination of the arrested persons, searches conducted for the collection of evidence, and arrangements of raids, all these form part of the investigation. It is important to note that the process of the investigation comes exclusively under the police’s domain. The Magistrate does not have control over it but may ask for a case diary at a later stage if deemed necessary. The investigation is the first stage of a criminal case. While conducting the investigation if the police find out that no offence has been committed, they report it to the Magistrate and the case proceedings come to an end. However, if the police find something, then the second stage of a criminal case begins, i.e., the inquiry, followed by the third stage, the trial.  

When does the investigation start 

The starting of an investigation clarifies the activities or further steps to be taken to conclude the alleged happening of misconduct. Gathering of evidence, analysis of the information available, arrest and charging of a suspect, are all a part of the investigation process. 

The process of investigation in a cognizable offence begins as soon as police find a reason to suspect the alleged commission of an offence, either based on an FIR or any other suspectable information received by police. The CrPC contains provisions that direct the police to investigate and also lays down the complete procedure for an investigation. 

Information to a police officer

The investigation starts as soon as the police officer receives information. Section 154 of CrPC talks about providing information to a police officer in cases of cognizable offences. This Section provides that every piece of information received by the officer in charge whether in writing or orally shall be noted down by the police officer. The written information should also be provided to the one who has been informed about the commission of the offence. The information that has been provided shall then be attached to the book of records. If any person feels aggrieved that the officer in charge is not accepting such information then he can send it directly to the Superintendent of Police. The investigation starts by making entries in the book of records as prescribed by the government. 

The objective of this Section is to inform the Magistrate who has jurisdiction over that particular area and the District Superintendent of Police about the commission of the offence as they are the ones responsible for the maintenance of safety and peace. Another objective is to acquaint the judicial officers with the facts and evidence available, in front of whom the case will be tried ultimately. This Section also safeguards the accused against further variations and additions, as sometimes done by the prosecution. As held in the case of Ashok Kumar Todi v. Kishwar Jahan (2011), registration of the FIR should be treated as a condition precedent to the starting of the investigation.

The information regarding the commission of a cognizable offence given to the police or officer in charge of the police station is called a First Information Report (FIR). It is the information given to the police about the commission of the cognizable offence. This is the base from which the investigation of a case starts. This information received by the police officer when reduced in writing becomes First Information Report. Although FIR is nowhere defined in the code, the same is recorded under Section 154 of CrPC. FIR stands as the commencement of the investigation in  cases of cognizable offence. The police in charge is obligated to record the information provided to him if such information relates to the commission of the cognizable offence. As held in the case of State of U.P. v. Mukesh (2013) FIR is an intimation regarding the happening of an event. It is to be noted that only the main information received needs to be mentioned in the regular diary. Also, this information shall not be considered the source of every fact. 

Generally, the FIR is lodged at the police station that has jurisdiction over the area where the incident happened. However, this is not a mandatory provision, and if the circumstances demand it, it can also be lodged elsewhere. To put it simply, it can be stated that even if the police do not have territorial jurisdiction over the place of crime, the FIR can still be lodged at that police station. If the police deny lodging an FIR, then this pertains to wrongful conduct by the police and is regarded as dereliction of duty. The FIR that is lodged irrespective of where the incident happened is termed a “Zero FIR.” The idea of a “zero” FIR was inserted into the criminal law after the unfortunate incident of the Nirbhaya gang rape case, on the recommendation of Justice Verma’s Committee. In a zero FIR, the police lodge the complaint and later on transfer it to the police station, which has territorial jurisdiction over the place of incidence. 

The objective behind the concept of zero FIR is the prompt lodging of FIR, thereby avoiding any unnecessary delay. In such circumstances, the police are duty-bound to register the FIR, irrespective of the fact of the place of the incident. 

The purpose of providing the provision of lodging FIR promptly is that it helps in gaining information on circumstances in which a crime has been committed on an early basis. The lack of timely lodging of FIR hinders the spontaneity of the investigation. Also, this may result in hampering the true evidence and facts. In cases where FIR is reduced to writing after the preparation of an inquest report then it hampers the authenticity of FIR. In a situation where the police start the investigation based on the oral information received by the informant and after that reduce the oral information in writing then the same must be considered as a statement under Section 161 of the CrPC and not an FIR. Under no circumstance can the second piece of information received be treated as FIR. 

It is to be noted that FIR does not mandate that it must contain minute-to-minute information about the commission of the cognizable offence. Even a simple message that the police received on phone can be mentioned in the station diary and can be treated as an FIR. In the case of Tapinder Singh v. State of Punjab (1970), it was held that where the information is anonymously given via telephonic message and it does not clarify a cognizable offence, then it cannot be treated as an FIR. Just because the information received in the station is first in point of time will not solely give it the meaning of FIR. The information reduced in writing must mention at least the penal provisions to facilitate a lawful investigation. 

Information in case of non-cognizable offences

Information to the police officer in the event of the commission of a non-cognizable offence is dealt with under Section 155 of CrPC. In a situation where the informant has provided information regarding the commission of a non-cognizable offence, the police shall enter such information in the diary maintained by the station as prescribed by the government. The police shall then refer the informant to Magistrate. It is pertinent to mention that investigation in cases of non-cognizable offence starts only after permission is granted by Magistrate, who has jurisdiction over the trial. The Section mainly forbids police from investigating a non-cognizable offence until and unless permission has been granted by the Magistrate. The powers granted to police under this Section are similar to that given to police in the cognizable offence. Provided that these powers are to be exercised after the permission granted by Magistrate and under no circumstances herein shall police arrest without warrant. 

It is important to note that where information has been received which contains more than one offence, in such a case even if one offence is cognizable then the whole case will be treated as cognizable and police may start a further investigation for the same. 

Role of police in the investigation of a crime 

The police play the most important role in the investigation of a criminal case. Police have to investigate the cognizable case and find the truth as per the provisions of Indian laws. As mentioned earlier police have the power to investigate only cognizable cases, in non-cognizable cases prior permission has to be taken from the Magistrate. Police perform myriad duties while performing investigations in a criminal case, like, making arrests, dispersing an unlawful assembly, taking preventive action and many more. The investigation by police in cognizable offences is a normal preliminary to the trial. 

The police have been empowered to investigate cognizable cases under Section 156 of CrPC. The Section states that any officer who is in charge of a police station can start investigating cases consisting of cognizable offences without the permission of the Magistrate. The police officer shall not be brought into question at any stage of ongoing trial on the ground that he was not empowered to investigate under this Section. 

The investigation once commenced will only end after the police file a report as stated under Section 173 of CrPC. Under Section 156 the police have the power to investigate a cognizable offence even without the order of a Magistrate. Also, in a situation where the police do not start the investigation by themselves then the Magistrate can order the initiation of investigation as stated under Section 190 of CrPC. The police under this Section can also initiate the investigation process in absence of FIR, provided that the offence must be cognizable. 

It is to be noted that if the police are investigating the Magistrate cannot interrupt or control the investigation process. The right provided to the police is statutory and cannot be controlled by the Court, but is at the discretion of the Court whether it takes action or not after filling out the charge sheet. However, the Court’s function does not begins until the charge sheet is filed. The police also have the power to investigate cognizable offences beyond their territorial jurisdiction as stated under Section 156(2) of CrPC. 

In the case of Prabal Dogra v. Superintendent of Police, Gwalior and State of M.P  (2018), it was held that the High Court in the exercise of powers u/s  482 of CrPC cannot order or direct the police to search for a particular point of view or in a particular direction. The Court also cannot supervise the investigation by issuing directions as it pleases to do so. It further stated that investigation exclusively comes under the domain of police and the sanctity of same should be maintained. However, in the case of T.T. Antony v. State of Kerala (2001), the Court stated that the police should not overreach and transgress the power given to them. If done so, the High Court may in the interest of justice under Section 482 of CrPC or under Article 226/ 227 of the Indian Constitution prohibit the police from conducting further investigation to prevent the abuse of power. 

The police by conducting such investigation ensure justice, as it is a well-settled principle that even the accused has a right to a fair investigation. Commencement of investigation is a crucial step to test the truthfulness and accuracy of the commission of an offence. The process of law must not be hindered in any way as it will be tantamount to the miscarriage of justice. In general, police are also empowered to start the investigation before the lodging of FIR, however, in cases of unnatural death registration of FIR is a mandate.

The provisions of the code extend to the limit that they are not inconsistent with the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. The reason behind this is that it is a special Act and hence it has a separate procedure to deal with the offences mentioned in this Act. 

Arrest of Persons

Among the several tasks that the police perform during an investigation, making arrests of persons who have committed crimes or of someone suspected of committing a cognizable offence is one such crucial function. Provisions relating to the arrest of persons are enumerated in Chapter V of CrPC. A police officer may arrest a person without an arrest warrant or prior permission of the Magistrate. The offences in which a police officer can arrest without a warrant are specified in Schedule I of CrPC. Let’s have an overview of some important powers of arrest that police have while investigating a crime.

Arrest without warrant

A Police officer is empowered under Sections 41, 42 and 151 of CrPC to arrest a person without a warrant.

A police officer under Section 41(1) of CrPC can arrest a person without taking prior permission from the Magistrate and in without any arrest warrant, under the below-mentioned circumstances:

  • if the person has committed any cognizable offence in the sight of a police officer, or
  • if a complaint has been made against such a person, or if there is any suspicion against that person that he might have committed a cognizable offence wherein the term of imprisonment is less than seven years or which may extend up to seven years, or
  • if such a person has any stolen property if the state has declared him as a proclaimed offender, or if he has obstructed the police officials while they were discharging their duty, or if the person tries to flee from lawful custody, or if there is a reasonable suspicion against him of being a deserter from any of the Indian Army forces.

The powers of arrest granted to the police under Section 41 of CrPC are subject to certain exceptions as provided under this code and other such Acts on which this code is applicable. For instance, a police officer is not empowered to arrest a person in the commission of a non-cognizable offence without taking prior permission from the Magistrate as stated under Section 155(2) of the code. Thus, in such a case police cannot arrest under section 41(1)(d) of the code. This section is a depository of all the powers provided to the police regarding the arrest. 

The word ‘credible information’ and ‘reasonable suspicion’ used under the Section 41 connotes that wherein the arrest is made by the police based on such cases it must be based on definite facts. There must not be ambiguity in the facts of the case.  Thus under Section 41(1)(b) the police can only make arrests when they have a definite knowledge of facts or definite information.

Section 42 of CrPC talks about arrest by police wherein any person refuses to give the desired information. In such circumstances, a police officer is empowered to arrest the commission of a non-cognizable offence if the accused person denies providing his name and residence. The police can also make an arrest wherein the police suspect that the accused has provided false information regarding his name and residence. In a situation where true information of the arrested person has been ascertained, he shall be released after executing a bond with or without surety for appearing before a Magistrate. In a situation where the information has not been found in 24 hrs or such person has not executed a bond within 24 hrs then such person shall forthwith be presented before the Magistrate having jurisdiction. 

A police officer under Section 151 of CrPC can arrest without any arrest warrant to prevent the commission of a cognizable offence. However, a police officer under this Section cannot make an arrest merely on the apprehension that there has been a breach of peace. 

In the case of Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar (2014), it was held that in cases where the offence is punishable with less than 7 years, be it with a fine or without a fine, the police shall not unnecessarily arrest the accused. The Court further stated that the Magistrate must not authorise and order arrest or detention casually or mechanically. The same opinion was reiterated by the Gujrat High Court in the case of Kamuben Somaji Bhavaji Thakore v. State of Gujrat (2022).

Arrest by warrant

In cases of commission of a non-cognizable offence, police cannot arrest without a warrant or without taking prior information from the Magistrate. A warrant is issued by the Magistrate against a person who has committed any non-cognizable offence to arrest him. Section 70 of the code states that every such warrant issue shall be made in writing and shall remain in course until it is expressly cancelled by the Court. Section 70 to 81 of the code deals with the procedure for the arrest with a warrant. When a warrant in writing is issued by the Magistrate, any police officer whose name is mentioned on the warrant can make an arrest. The reasons for the arrest shall be informed to the accused and he shall be presented before the Magistrate without an unnecessary delay. 

Guidelines for the conduct of police during the investigation 

Police investigation plays a crucial role in determining the fate of a criminal trial. Although the report presented by the police is not the only source of reliance by the Court, it plays an important role in the conviction of a wrongdoer. Improper or inaccurate investigation done by police may lead to the wrongful conviction of an innocent or acquittal of the accused. Inaccuracy in the investigation will always give benefit the accused as it is the prosecution who has the burden of proof upon themselves. They are the ones who have to prove the occurrence of the crime and that the accused has done it. The defects in the investigation may result in grave injustice. Hence, proper guidelines and conduct must be followed by the police while they carry out the investigation.

The general conduct to be followed by police is that they must maintain impartiality while conducting the investigation and should not follow unlawful means during the investigation. The officers should try to not disturb public order and peace during the investigation. Also, the police shall not make any unnecessary delay in lodging FIR or in reducing it in writing. 

The procedure to be followed while doing an investigation is prescribed under Section 157 of CrPC. The Section provides the manner and guidelines in which the investigation is to be conducted by police. The Section further directs the police not to investigate cases which are not serious (non-cognizable cases), at least not before taking permission from the Magistrate. The main aim of the enumeration of this provision is to systematically regulate the procedure of investigation that is to be followed by police. 

The police are required to give the information that has been recorded by them on a first-hand basis to the Magistrate having jurisdiction. The delay made by the police officer in charge might point in the direction that the FIR was not reduced to writing on time This will also give sufficient time to the accused to make his case strong thereby introducing variations and embellishments. 

The failure in sending FIR by the police will affect the prosecution’s case and thus police need to make sure that this point is taken care of. Although if there is a rationale behind the delay caused or the delay is not extraordinary then it may up to some extent be taken into consideration. The same fact was established in the case of State of UP v. Gokaram and ors (1984), wherein the Court held that it cannot be said that every time a delay is caused in recording the FIR, it would necessarily point out that interference may have been done in facts and circumstances. Neither can it be stated that the investigation in such a case is not fair and forthright.

In cases where a delay has been found in sending the information to the Magistrate, the police are required to explain sufficient grounds and the reason behind the delay caused. If the Magistrate finds them convincing the delay will not affect the authenticity of the FIR. The police are required to give a reasonable and cogent reason behind the delay caused. 

Ordinarily, the police are required to start the investigation after receiving information from the informant however this is not a necessary condition before the starting of the investigation. The police can initiate an investigation into every source of information available to them. It is not a mandatory condition that only the facts and circumstances that are recorded under Section 154 of CrPC will be the basis of the investigation. The police can commence the investigation even if they suspect the happening of an offence on basis of information gained from some informal intelligence or any other source.

A police officer in charge in the normal course of discharge of his duties shall abide by the law and start an investigation receiving information from a direct informant or any other source. However, a police officer in charge is not bound to start the investigation upon receiving information if there is no prima facie case made out by the information received by them. 

Several judgements by the Apex Court and the High Courts have mentioned that noncompliance with Sections 154 and 157 might direly affect the case of the prosecution and hence they need to strictly comply with these provisions. However, it does not mean that this will destroy the investigation done by them. The interest of justice shall prevail and the case will be dealt with keeping in mind that no miscarriage of justice is done. 

As mentioned in Section 41A of the code, in situations wherein an arrest is not required under Section 41(1) of the code, the police can issue a notice to such person against whom a reasonable complaint has been made, or a reasonable suspicion is found against that person or a credible information has been found against that person for appearing before them in the place as prescribed under the notice. The person against whom such notice is issued is bound to comply with such notice. In cases where any such person does not comply with the notice issued, the police can arrest taking directions from the competent Court. In the case of Arnesh Kumar, it was held that notices under Section 41A must be issued within two weeks before the institution of the case. 

According to Section 41B of the code, every police officer while making an arrest shall positively make a memorandum of arrest along with attesting it with at least one witness. Provided such a person shall be a member belonging to the family of the arrested person. The memorandum shall also be countersigned by the arrested person. The police officer making such an arrest shall have a clear and visible identification of his name. 

A police officer as stated under Section 57 of the code, is obligated to present the arrested person before the Magistrate without any unnecessary delays. A person arrested without a warrant according to this section should not be kept in custody for more than 24 hrs. This guideline of 24 hrs cannot be extended by the police until and unless such an order is given by the Magistrate. An order for extension of the custody is given by the Magistrate in special circumstances under Section 167 of CrPC. 

Section 167 contains the procedure to be followed where the investigation has not been completed in the time of 24 hrs. According to this Section if the police officer thinks that the accusation is very well informed and the investigation has not been completed in 24 hrs in such a case the police shall transfer the case diary to the Magistrate and forward the accused before the Magistrate. In a situation where the case falls under Magistrate’s jurisdiction, he can order further detention which shall not exceed 15 days.  

A further extension can be given by the Magistrate having jurisdiction, wherein he finds that there are reasonable grounds behind this extension. The provisions for the extension of the detention period are given under Section 167(2)(a) of CrPC. An extension not exceeding 90 days can be given by the Magistrate in cases which relate to offences of heinous nature where the punishment prescribed is more than 10 years of imprisonment or the death penalty or life imprisonment. An extension of 60 days can be given by the Magistrate about other offences. The accused shall be released on bail after the completion of 60 days or 90 days as the case may be after he has furnished the surety. 

Case laws related to the role of police in criminal investigation 

Manubhai Ratilal Patel Tr. Ushaben v. State of Gujarat (2013) 

In the case of Manubhai, it was held that investigation exclusively comes under the domain of the police. Thus, it is the police that has been empowered to perform the task of investigation before the commencing of a criminal trial, thereby digging out the facts and circumstances of a criminal case. 

Lalita Kumari v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors. (2013) 

Facts of the case

A writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India was filed by the victim’s father since she was a minor at that time. The petition was filed for the issuance of a writ for the protection of his minor daughter who was kidnapped. The petitioner contended that the police did not take any action on the complaint made by him on 11.05.2008. Following this, an FIR was lodged before the Superintendent of Police who also did not take any action for finding the girl or apprehending the accused. 

Issues of the case

The Supreme Court in the case of Lalita Kumari, dealt with the issue regarding the fact that whether a police officer in charge is obligated to register an FIR upon receiving information about the commission of a cognizable offence or the lodging of an FIR can be done after the police conduct a preliminary inquiry to test the authenticity of such information received?


The Court held that the word ‘shall’ used in Section 154(1) of the code, is mandatory. The word shall clearly show the intention of the legislation and states that the police are bound to register an FIR if the information is regarding the commission of a cognizable offence. The Court also stated that the only sine qua non for registration of an FIR is that offence must be cognizable. A list of cases was also stated wherein a preliminary inquiry may be done by the police officer before registration of an FIR, which are as follows; Matrimonial disputes/Family disputes; commercial offences; Medical Negligence cases; Corruption cases; Cases of extraordinary delay in initiating criminal prosecution. However, the Court stated that the provided list is illustrative and not exhaustive. 

Hema v. State (2013)

The Apex Court in the case held that just because there have been some glitches in the period of investigation doesn’t mean that the accused will get an acquittal. There may be certain instances where the investigation conducted is highly defective. Thus although the first stage of a criminal trial is the investigation and it is after the filing of the charge sheet that further action is taken by the court, this does not mean that the court blindly relies on the investigation and charge sheet. 

Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar (2014) 

Facts of the case

The facts of the case were that the wife stated that his husband supported her mother-in-law’s demand for dowry and threatened her by saying that he will marry another woman. She said that she was moved out of her matrimonial house as she did not fulfil the demand for a dowry. However, the husband denied all the allegations and moved an application before the Sessions Court and thereafter to the High Court. His application was rejected by the High Court also. He then moved to the Supreme Court by presenting a Special Leave Petition. 

Issues of the case

In the case of Arnesh Kumar, the Court dealt with the issue of the rights of arrested persons before and after arrest along with mentioning the remedies available to a person in cases of false allegations under Section 498-A of IPC. The court further dealt with the guidelines to be followed while arresting an accused. 

Judgement and observations

The Court allowed the application thereby granting bail to the accused on certain conditions and mentioned some guidelines of arrest to be followed by the police. Following were the guidelines furnished by the Court:

  • It stated that the arrest of a person brings humiliation and permanent scars in the life of the accused and his family. The State Government shall instruct the police that the arrest of a person should not be done casually. 
  • The police should not arrest a person directly when a case of offence u/s 498-A is registered, the requirement for the arrest only arises when the case falls under the category of Section 41 of CrPC. The Court further stated that the police need to exercise this power of arrest very carefully. 
  • It was also held that all the police officers shall be provided with a checklist as specified under Section 41 (1) (b) (ii), thereafter when a police arrests an accused he needs to mention the reasons for the same and forward it to the Magistrate. 
  • It was held that the Magistrate shall order further detention of the accused only after considering the report submitted by the police officer and shall duly record all the reasons mentioned by the police. 
  • The police shall mention the reasons for not arresting the accused and forward it to the Magistrate within two weeks of the institution of the case. 
  • The notice u/s 41-A shall be severed within two weeks of the institution of a case. 
  • The Court further held that wherein the police do not follow these guidelines it will amount to contempt of the Court. 

Naresh Kavarchand Khatri v. State of Gujarat (2008)

In the case of Naresh Kavarchand Khatri, it was held that the court’s power to interfere in the investigation is very limited. The police have also been conferred with the power to transfer cases wherein it has been found by them that the place of crime is not under their territorial jurisdiction. The case is transferred to the police station which has jurisdiction over it. 

Anjan Dasgupta v. State of West Bengal (2017)

In the case of Anjan Dasgupta, the court dealt with the matter of a reasonable delay that might be caused in registering an FIR.  The registration was done before the start of the inquest report of a dead body. The police received the information regarding the death and they arrived at the spot as soon as they received the information, that was before 17:15 hrs. The officer in charge reached the spot at 17:45 hrs and the FIR was registered at 17:30 hrs. The court held that there might have been some unintentional situations or even if there may have been other issues, in any case, the FIR doesn’t lose its authenticity. 

Shivlal and Ors. v. State of Chattisgarh (2012)

In the above case it was held that since the prosecution had not explained the delay caused in providing the copy of the FIR to the Magistrate, the prosecution’s case will suffer a backlash. Not only this, the Court further found a contradiction in the facts and statements given by available witnesses and the evidence presented by the police. Thus, due to these glitches and mistakes found on behalf of the prosecution their case became doubtful. 


The investigation in a criminal case is done to examine the facts and evidence about a certain act of misconduct. The power of investigation is only conferred with the police. Chapter XII of the CrPC talks about the provisions of the police investigation. The process of investigation can be started by the police as soon as they receive any information from the informant or they have a reason to suspect the happening of a cognizable offence. The investigation commences under Section 154 and the procedure for the same has been mentioned in Section 157 of CrPC.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Is it a mandatory condition that FIR must be lodged before starting an investigation?

Lodging of an FIR is not a mandatory condition precedent to an investigation. If the police have reasonable suspicion about the commission of a cognizable offence, they can also initiate the investigation. 

What are the consequences of delay in lodging FIR?

In cases where the delay in filing the FIR is reasonable and can be explained, it will not affect the case of the prosecution. However, if the delay is unreasonable, the prosecution’s case might be affected due to the same. 

When shall the Magistrate be given the report?

The report shall be served to the Magistrate forthwith. He must be simultaneously informed about the progress of the investigation. This will also allow the Magistrate to have a look at the investigation and suggest possible directions under Section 159 of CrPC.

Does the police have the power to conduct a further investigation?

It was held in the case of Shantibhai J. Vaghela v. State of Gujrat (2013), that the police can exercise the power of further investigation even after the filing of a charge sheet. 

What happens in case of error or irregularity in the investigation?

Even if there has been an error or irregularity in conducting the investigation, the cognizance taken by the Magistrate in such a case also cannot be set aside. This was opined by the Apex Court in the case of Union of India v. Prakash P. Hinduja (2003).


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