The word investigation traces its origin from the Latin word “investigatio”. It means a careful search or examination to discover facts. An Investigation is an important part of the criminal procedure. After the crime is committed or information is received by the police officer about the commission of an offence, the next step is the stage of the investigation.
The objective of the investigation is to find the one who is guilty of that offence and proceed him for trial so that the court can charge him under the specified provisions under the law.
Criminal investigations can include the acts of searching, interrogations, interviews, evidence collection and preservation etc. The investigation is mostly done by the government police officials whereas private investigators are also hired sometimes to complete or assist in the investigation.
The investigating officials are required to find the following information to find the offender –
- The Motive of the crime
- Means to commit the crime
- Crime scene findings
- List out the suspects
Offences are categorized under two heads i.e. –
- The Cognizable offence is defined in section 2(c) of CrPC. These offences are serious. e.g. Dowry death, waging war, rape etc
ARREST BY POLICE
Section 41 states the exceptions where a police officer can arrest without a warrant and order of Magistrate. such as when there is a commission of a cognizable offence.
POWER TO INVESTIGATE COGNIZABLE CASES
Section 156CrPC empowers the police officer to investigate a cognizable case without the order of the Magistrate. The case must be within the jurisdiction as mentioned in clause 1.
- The non-cognizable offence is defined under Section 2 (l) of CrPC. These offences are not much of a serious nature. e.g. Cheating, forgery etc.
ARREST BY POLICE
In the cases of anon-cognizable offence, the police are not entitled to arrest without the warrant and the order of Magistrate.
POWER TO INVESTIGATE NON-COGNIZABLE CASES
Section 155 states the powers of a police officer to investigate a non-cognizable offence when prior order has been given by the Magistrate.
LAWS UNDER CrPC FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
The stages of the criminal investigation are as follows –
For any kind of investigation to take place whether it be civil or criminal there has to be a crime first. A crime/ offence can be different types such as –
- Cognizable or non-cognizable offence
- Bailable or non- bailable offence
- Compoundable or non-compoundable offence
Section 154 states about the information given to the police officer regarding cognizable crime. FIR is not a proof of case but it is a piece of evidence which could be used for corroborating the case of the prosecution.
In the stances of a cognizable offence, the police officer needs to reduce all the information given to him in writing and the copy of the same should be given free of cost to the informant. The FIR should be signed by the informant and entered into the book as the state may prescribe.
Section 155 states that the information given by informant regarding a non-cognizable offence should be entered in the book kept by the officer.
- Record statements
The police officer needs to decide if it is suspected that there is a commission of an offence which empowers him to investigate under Section 156 or not.
Under Section 157a “Preliminary Report” is given to the magistrate by the investigating officer.
Section 160states that the police officer has the power to require the attendance of persons who they believe to be witnesses as in they are acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case etcand Section 161states the procedure of examination of witnesses by the police. The officer will examine the witnesses orally and may also write a statement made to him which seems relevant to the case.
- Collect evidence
The police officers have the power to search over the crime scene for the pieces of evidence relevant for helping them to solve the case. The evidence may include photographs, measurements, fingerprints etc. The evidence collected by the police officer must be properly recorded and documented. the evidence collected must be properly preserved otherwise the chain of custody will not be properly maintained.
- Record confession or statements before the magistrate
Under Section 164 the statements and confession of the accused are recorded by the magistrate or judicial magistrate. The confession or statement recorded must be signed by the person appearing before a magistrate.
The confession or statement made before the police officer is not admissible in the court as evidence.
- Closure report
Section 169 states that when the evidence is deficient or there is no reasonable ground of suspicion against the accused then the accused is released by the magistrate on bond with or without sureties. This is referred to as a closure report.
- Final report
The police report or final report is a conclusion by the investigating officer what he draws on the materials collected during the investigation. Under Section 173 the police officer is required to prepare a final report after his investigation ends and forward the same to the magistrate to take cognizance of the offence.
Clause 7 of Section 174 states that the accused should be furnished with the copies of all or any of the documents as mentioned in clause 5.
- Charge sheet
The charge sheet is followed by the final report. the Charge sheet is submitted after completion of investigation when it is found that the offence has been committed and there is sufficient evidence against the accused or accused persons that they have committed the offence. Section 173(2) states the essentials to be mentioned in the charge sheet.
After filing the charge sheet, under Section 190 the magistrate takes cognizance upon the offence and if he finds there is sufficient ground for proceeding the magistrate will issue summons or warrant according to the case against the accused under Section 204.
Section 207 states that the accused should be supplied with a copy of the police report and other documents.
The trial will start under Section 225 against the accused. The trial could result in three situationsi.e.
- Acquittal of the accused under Section 232.
- Conviction of the accused on the plea of guilty under Section 229
- Conviction by the judgement of a court under Section 235(2).
LANDMARK CASES OF STAGES OF INVESTIGATION PROCESS
- LALITA KUMARI V. GOVT OF UP
In this case, it was held by Hon’ble Supreme Court that it is mandatory under Section 154 of CrPC to register an FIR if the offence is cognizable and preliminary inquiry is not permissible, If the information received by the police officer doesn’t depict whether it is a cognisable offence but indicates that a preliminary inquiry is necessary, then a preliminary inquiry shall be conducted to ascertain whether the offence is cognizable or not.
- SHEELA BARSE V. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in this case, stated the rules to be followed to arrest a woman such as the arrest of a woman can be done by a lady police officer only and they are to be kept separately from men, in female lock up in the police station.
Section 160(1) of CrPC states that women should not be called to the police station or any place other than their place of residence for questioning.
- DK BASU V. STATE OF WEST BENGAL
In this landmark judgement, the guidelines regarding the arrest of a person were given.
Such as the police officer carrying out an arrest or interrogation should have clear identification with their name tags and designation.
- VINUBHAI HARIBHAI MALAVIYA AND ORS V. STATE OF GUJARAT AND ANR
In this case, it was held that a power exercised by a magistrate under section 156(3) of CrPC is post-cognizance, contrary to both unambiguous statutory provisions as also established judicial precedent.
- ALLA CHINA APPARAO V. STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH
It was explained in this case that the term forthwith in section 157(1) of CrPC means within a reasonable time and without unreasonable delay.
- NALLI V. STATE
In this case, a person accused of murder was acquitted on the grounds of unexplained and inordinate delay in despatching the FIR to the magistrate.
- SASI V. STATE OF KERELA
The Supreme Court held that it is not necessary to confess to an authorised person only. the court needs to see that the person before whom such a confession is being made can be believed or not.
- SAKERI VASU V. STATE OF UP
In this case, the Apex court held that the magistrate has the right to monitor the investigation. There is no express power given to the magistrate under CrPC to monitor the investigation but the apex court stated that there is an implied power which makes the magistrate the sole authority to monitor investigation when the investigation isn’t going properly or in a fair manner.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
- Martin Luther King
The investigation plays a crucial role in getting justice and the process of investigation in criminal cases is extremely thorough. A Criminal investigation is not indivisible whole but includes different interactional stages and a lot of procedures which are needed to be followed with due diligence. The investigation has a pivotal role in determining whether an accused is guilty or not. No stones should be left unturned by the investigating officers while the investigation process.
In the case of State v. Pareshwar Ghosiit was observed by the court that the term investigation means any process that involves sifting of materials or search of relevant data for ascertainment,
From writing the FIR to filing the final report to the magistrate, every step in this process comes under the investigation. The procedure established by law should be followed strictly while investigating a crime.
(2008) 14 SCC 337
AIR 1983 SC 378
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2019 SCC Online SC 1395
2002 8 SCC 440
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Crl. MC. NO. 6780 of 2016.
 2008 2 SCC 409
AIR 1968 Ori 20