Section 2.(h) of Criminal Procedure Code provides- “investigation” includes all the proceedings under this Code for the collection of evidence conducted by a police officer or by any person (other than a Magistrate) who is authorized by a Magistrate in this behalf;
Section 2(h) CrPC defines “investigation” and it includes all the proceedings under the Code for the collection of evidence conducted by a police officer or by any person (other than a Magistrate) who is authorised by a Magistrate in this behalf. It ends with the formation of the opinion as to whether on the material collected, there is a case to place the accused before a Magistrate for trial and if so, taking the necessary steps for the same by filing of a charge-sheet under Section 173. Union of India v. Prakash P. Hinduja .
A three Judge Bench in H.N. Rishbud v. State of Delhi , while dealing with investigation, has stated that under the Code, investigation consists generally of the following steps:
(a) Proceeding to the spot,
(b) Ascertainment of the facts and circumstances of the case,
(c) Discovery and arrest of the suspected offender,
(d) Collection of evidence relating to the commission of the offence which may consist of:
(i) The examination of various persons (including the accused) and the reduction of their statements into writing, if the officer thinks fit,
(ii) The search of places or seizure of things considered necessary for the investigation and to be produced at the trial, and
(e) Formation of the opinion as to whether on the material collected there is a case to place the accused before a Magistrate for trial and if so taking the necessary steps for the same by the filing of a chargesheet under Section 173.
In Adri Dharan Das v. State of W.B. , it has been opined that:
“arrest is a part of the process of investigation intended to secure several purposes. The accused may have to be questioned in detail regarding various facets of motive, preparation, commission and aftermath of the crime and connection of other persons, if any, in the crime.”
In Niranjan Singh v. State of U.P. , it has been laid down that investigation is not an inquiry or trial before the Court and that is why the Legislature did not contemplate any irregularity in investigation as of sufficient importance to vitiate or otherwise form any infirmity in the inquiry or trial. In S.N.Sharma v. Bipen Kumar Tiwari , it has been observed that the power of police to investigate is independent of any control by the Magistrate. In State of Bihar v. J.A.C. Saldanha , it has been observed that there is a clear cut and well demarcated sphere of activity in the field of crime detection and crime punishment and further investigation of an offence is the field exclusively reserved for the executive in the Police Department. Manubhai Ratilal Patel v. State of Gujarat and Others,(2013) 1 SCC 314.
The mere undertaking of a further investigation either by the investigating officer on his own or upon the directions of the superior police officer or pursuant to a direction by the Magistrate concerned to whom the report is forwarded does not mean that the report submitted under Section 173 (2) is abandoned or rejected. It is only that either the investigating agency or the court concerned is not completely satisfied with the material collected by the investigating agency and is of the opinion that possibly some more material is required to be collected in order to sustain the allegations of the commission of the offence indicated in the report. Vipul Shital Prasad Agarwal v. State of Gujarat and another, (2013) 1 SCC 197.
Investigation includes all the proceedings under the CrPC for the collection of evidence conducted by a police officer or any person, other than a Magistrate, who is authorised by a Magistrate.
The Supreme Court has viewed an investigation as consisting of:
- Proceeding to the spot
- Ascertaining facts and circumstances of the case
- Discovery and arrest of the suspected offender
- Collection of evidence related to the offence – examination of persons related to the case including the written statements; search and seizure of things that may be necessary for the investigation or at the trial stage
- Forming an opinion about whether there is a case that can be presented before a Magistrate for trial based on the materials collected.
FIR – Section 154 of CrPC
Contradiction– Section 157 of IEA
Corroborations– Section 145 of IEA
Cross- examination – Section 145 of IEA
Dying declaration – Section 32 of IEA
The basic objective of the FIR is to set criminal law in motion through the agency of the police and to furnish to the police early information of any alleged criminal activity.
The characteristics of an FIR are:
- It must disclose the commission of a cognizable offence
- It should be given to the officer-in-charge of a police station
- It should be at the earliest point in time
If the above conditions are satisfied, the information lodged with the police and recorded under Section 154 CrPC can be treated as an FIR.
Other features of FIRs:
- In writing
- If orally given, reduced to writing by the police officer
- Signed by the person giving it
- A copy should be delivered to the informant free of charge
- It can be made by any person irrespective of whether he/she has first-hand knowledge of the crime (except in certain cases)
- Any delay in making the FIR must be mentioned and explained in the FIR itself
- Telegrams and telephonic messages cannot be treated as an FIR because they are not given in writing signed by the informant; neither are they reduced to writing by the police and read back to the informant. There is also no guarantee of their authenticity.
The value of the FIR can be explained in the following:
- Gives the earliest version of the occurrence
- Not a substantive piece of evidence
- It can be used for corroboration under Section 157 of the Evidence Act
- If the maker is if a witness, it can corroborate his testimony (FIRs are recorded before the investigation and so do not come under the purview of Section 162of the CrPC.)
- It can be used to contradict the author under Section 145 of the Evidence Act.
Special uses of an FIR:
- As a conduct under 8 of the Evidence Act if lodged by the accused
- As an admission under 21 of the Evidence Act if lodged by the accused
- As a dying declaration, if lodged by the deceased whose death is in the issue
- As an entry by a public servant in the discharge of his official duties under 35 of the Evidence Act
S.180 of the IPC punishes refusal by the informant to sign the FIR.
If the police refuses to record the FIR, the remedy is provided by S.154(3) of the CrPC.
Facts: Tapinder Singh fired 5 shots of bullets on his wife’s sister’s husband. The man was taken to a hospital. There was a phone call made to the police station (anonymous). A dying declaration was also taken from the deceased.
- Whether the telephonic conversation was the FIR
- Whether the dying declaration was the FIR
- The telephonic conversation is not an FIR as it did not in terms clearly specify a cognizable offense and cannot be treated as an FIR. The conversation merely informed the police about the happening of an event, so that further action can be taken.
|Dying declaration can be recorded by the Executive Magistrate or any other person in a particular format. Even if it is not in a particular format it would not be in violation to § 162.|
- The dying declaration was taken as the FIR. The importance of it being taken as an FIR is that now it could be corroborated with other evidence. Thus, making the case stronger.
Aphren Joesph v. State of Kerala
The principal contention on behalf of the appellants (accused) was that there was a major delay in the lodging of the FIR and therefore that itself was sufficient to destroy the credibility of the prosecution case. Therefore, they also alleged that the complaint was not lodged as the prosecution witnesses took that time to concoct the story and they were not actually present at the sight of the crime.
Ratio of the case (majority opinion):
FIR, relating to the commission of an offence, is not a condition precedent to setting in motion of a criminal investigation. Nor does the statute provide that such information report can only be made by on eyewitness. F.I.R. is not even considered a substantive piece of evidence. It can only be used to corroborate or contradict the informant’s evidence in court. But this information when recorded is the basis of the case set up by the informant. It is very useful if recorded before there is time and opportunity to embellish, or before the informants’ memory fades.
Undue or unreasonable delay lodging the F.I.R., therefore, gives rise to suspicion, which put the Court on guard to look for the possible motive and the explanation for the delay and consider its effect on the trustworthiness of the prosecution version. No duration of time in the abstract can be fixed as reasonably for giving information of a crime to the police, the question of reasonable time being a matter for determination by the court in each case.
In the present case, the eye-witnesses were afraid to go to the police station during night time and their evidence could not be shaken in cross-examination Keeping in view the local tense atmosphere and the effect of the ghastly murder on the eye-witnesses, their strong disinclination to go and lodge the report during the night after the alleged occurrence, which seems quite normal, cannot by itself arouse any suspicion about the prosecution case. Further, both the Courts below have also accepted the prosecution version as a whole, for reasons, which cannot be said to be unsound or implausible. Therefore, the delay in making the F.I.R. has reasonably been explained by the prosecution witnesses.
Conclusion: There is no automatic presumption of lack of credibility of prosecution’s case in the event of a delay in lodging of an FIR. FIR is an important start to the investigatory process, but not the only one (the level of it’s importance has been elucidated above in the ratio). If a delay has occurred, the prosecution has the leeway to establish reasons for the delay and the Court can assess it’s credibility on a case to case basis.
State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal
Irregularities in the investigation do not vitiate the proceedings.
Ramsinh Bavaji Jadeja v. State of Gujarat
There were two brothers who wanted to watch a movie. The cycle stand owner, the appellants, in the theatre was charging a higher rate of 40ps. when compared to the price of other stands of 30ps hence the deceased decided to park their vehicles in a hotel adjacent to the theatre. This angered the appellants who then refused to let them enter the theatre. This led to a quarrel in which the deceased was hit.
- Whether the telephonic conversation may be treated as an FIR (as in the case of Soma Bhai State of Gujurat)?
However, it was held that in the current case, unlike in the Soma Bhai case, there was no information with regard to who the accused was amongst other details. This case is in furtherance of the Tapinder case, which held that a telephonic conversation since it did not provide proper information cannot be treated as an FIR and it was a mere information to the police of the happening of the event.
Babubhai v. State of Gujarat
Facts: FIR 1 (7/7/2008) – There is a fight which ensues between two communities. This fight further leads to massive brawl. By the time the police was informed, the crowd had dispersed. FIR 2 (8/7/2008) – At about 5.30 pm the same fight continued leading to the murder of 3 people and extensive rioting between the two communities. Some of the conspirators were common in both the FIR and the object of conspiracy in both the cases was not the same.
Issue: This Court while considering the question as to whether investigation and further proceedings on the basis of both the FIRs was permissible held that no straightjacket formula can be laid down in this regard. The only test whether two FIRs can be permitted to exist was whether the two conspiracies were identical or not.
Held: After considering the facts of the said case, the Court came to the conclusion that both conspiracies were not identical. Therefore, lodging of two FIRs was held to be permissible.
Reasoning: In T.T. Antony Vs. State of Kerala, the investigating agency has to proceed only on the information about commission of a cognizable offence which is first entered in the Police Station diary by the Officer In-charge under S.158 of CrPC and all other subsequent information would be covered by S.162 CrPC.
This is for the reason that it is the duty of the Investigating Officer not merely to investigate the cognizable offence report in the FIR but also other connected offences found to have been committed in the course of the same transaction or the same occurrence and the Investigating Officer has to file one or more reports under
Even after submission of the report under S.173(2) CrPC., if the Investigating
Officer comes across any further information pertaining to the same incident, he can make further investigation, but it is desirable that he must take the leave of the court and forward the further evidence, if any, with further report ounder S.173(8) CrPC.
There cannot be any controversy that Clause (8) of S.173 CrPC empowers the police to make further investigation, obtain further evidence (both oral and documentary) and forward a further report to the Magistrate. However, the sweeping power of investigation does not warrant subjecting a citizen each time to fresh investigation by the police in respect of the same incident, giving rise to one or more cognizable offences, consequent upon filing of successive FIRs whether before or after filing the final report under S.173(2) CrPC.
It would clearly be beyond the purview of S.154 and 156 CrPC if a case of abuse of the statutory power of investigation in a given case. In the Court’s view a case of fresh investigation based on the second or successive FIRs, not being a counter-case, filed in connection with the same or connected cognizable offence alleged to have been committed in the course of the same transaction and in respect of which pursuant to the first FIR either investigation is under way or final report under S.173(2) has been forwarded to the Magistrate, may be a fit case for exercise of power under S.482 CrPC which deals with the powers of HC to give an order necessary for securing means of justice or under Articles 226/227 of the Constitution.