Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Police Investigation and Charge Sheet

What is Charge sheet? 

When the investigation is complete, the police officer is required to submit a report under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (in short Cr PC) to the Magistrate stating the name of the parties, the nature of information, etc. This report is known as the ‘charge-sheet’ or ‘challan’ if a prima facie case is made out against the accused or ‘Final Report’ if no such case is made out. Charge-sheet forms the basis of the case in the Court.

Under Section 173 (2) (i), as soon as the investigation is completed, the officer-in-charge of the police station shall forward to a Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of the offence on a police report, a report in the prescribed form stating:

(a) the name of the parties, 
(b) the nature of the information, 
(c) the names of the persons who appear to be acquainted with the circumstances of the case, 
(d) whether any offence appears to have been committed and if so, by whom, 
(e) whether the accused has been arrested, 
(f) whether he has been released on his bond and if so, whether with or without sureties, 
(g) whether he has been forwarded in custody under Section 170, Cr PC.
(h) whether the report of medical examination of the woman has been attached where investigation relates to an offence under Sections 376, 376A, 376B, 376C or 376D of the Indian Penal Code.

Section 173 (2) (ii) provides that the officer shall also communicate, in such manner as may be prescribed by the State Government, the action taken by him, to the person, if any, by whom the information relating to the commission of the offence was first given.

According to Section 2(h) of Cr PC, 'investigation' includes all the proceedings under the Code for the collection of evidence conducted by the police officer or by any person (other than a Magistrate) who is authorised by a Magistrate in this behalf. 
The Supreme Court in H.N.Rishbud vs. State AIR 1955 SC 196, has viewed the investigation of an offence as generally consisting of- 
(i) proceeding on the spot; 

(ii) ascertainment of the facts and circumstances of the case; 

(iii) discovery and arrest of the suspected offender; 

(iv) collection of evidence relating to the commission of the offence which may consist of – 

(a) the examination of various persons (including the accused) and the reduction of their statements into writing, 
(b) the search of places or seizure of things considered necessary for the investigation or to be produced at the trail; and

(v) formation of the opinion as to whether on the materials collected there is a case to place the accused before a Magistrate for trail, and if so, taking the necessary steps for the same by the filing of a 'charge sheet’ under Section 173 Cr PC.

After the completion of the investigation, it is for the investigating police officer to form an opinion as to whether or not there is a case to place the accused before the Magistrate for trail. He would then follow the procedure laid down in Section 169 or 170 Cr PC and submit a report under Section 173 of Cr PC. The Magistrate receiving the report has no power to direct the police to submit a particular kind of report; if he considers the conclusions reached by the police officer as incorrect, he may direct the police officer to make further investigation under Section 156 of Cr PC.

The police report under Section 173, Cr PC will contain the facts and the conclusions drawn by the police there from. The Magistrate is expected to apply his judicial mind to the report and he is not bound by the conclusions drawn by the police. He may differ with the police report, be it a ‘charge-sheet’ (or ‘final report’). He may decide to issue process even if the police recommend that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding further (H.S. Bains vs. State 1981 SCR (1) 935).

In Kaptan Singh & others vs. State of M.P. (1997) 4 SC 211, the Apex Court observed : it is trite that result of investigation can never be legal evidence. Police report submitted under Section 173 Cr PC is the outcome of an investigation. The result of investigation under Chapter xii of the Criminal Procedure Code is a conclusion that an investigating officer draws on the basis of materials collected during investigating and such conclusion can only form the basis of a competent court to take cognizance thereupon under Section 190(1)(b) Cr PC and to proceed with the case for trail, where the materials collected during investigation are to be translated in to legal evidence. The trail conclusion solely on the evidence adduced during the trail; and it cannot rely on the investigation or the result thereof.  

Power of police to conduct further investigation, even after laying final report, is recognized under Section 173(8) of Cr PC (Sri BSSVVV Maharaj vs. State of UP 1999 CrLJ 3661 SC).

When a power under sub section (8) of Section 173 of Cr PC is exercised, the Court ordinarily should not interfere with the statutory powers of the investigating agency. The Court cannot issue directions to investigate the case from a particular angle or by a particular agency (Popular Muthiah vs. State 2006 (7) SCC 296).

But in State of Punjab vs. CBI and others (2011) 11 SCR 281, where the state local police was unable to carry out investigation due to involvement of state political leaders and senior police officers, the Supreme Court observed that in a case where charge sheet has been filed, Section 173(8) of Cr PC cannot limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to pass an order under Section 482 of Cr PC for fresh investigation or re-investigation if the High Court is satisfied that such fresh investigation or re-investigation is necessary to secure the ends of justice.

Disclaimer: All the contents are for general use and information. Consult your lawyer before acting.