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Do's And Don'ts Of Case Diary

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, confers authority upon the Police through Section 155 and Section 156 to undertake investigative tasks. Alongside these investigative powers, certain responsibilities are assigned to Police Officers by Section 172 of CrPC. This encompasses not only the execution of an unbiased and impartial investigation but also entails the maintenance of a chronological record called Case Diary. This record encompasses the daily actions conducted by the Police during the investigative process, the locations visited in pursuit of their objectives, and the statements documented from witnesses.

This meticulous diary serves a twofold purpose. Primarily, it substantiates the manner in which the investigation unfolds, ensuring that a comprehensive account is preserved. In situations where the Court requires insights or assistance during the course of a trial, this diary takes on a pivotal role. It serves as a repository of information, potentially illuminating the investigative process and contributing to the judicial understanding of the case.

Section 172 (1), 172 (2) and 172 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and sections 145, 159 and 161 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 cover the use of Case Diary. As per these provisions, Case Dairy can be used by the accused, the investigating officer and the criminal court within the permissible limits of these sections.

Section 172 of CrPC enjoins an Investigating Officer to maintain a Case Diary and enter all his proceedings of investigation therein day to day. The Police Regulations of the various states also enjoin the Case Diary should not only be written day to day but that it should also be submitted to the superior officer without any delay.

Even though Section 172 CrPC does not require that the Case Diary should be written on the spot as the enquiry proceeds, yet to rule out every possibility of delay and consequent opportunity of manipulation it has been enjoined in Police Regulations of Bengal, 1943, that Case Diaries shall be written up as the enquiry progresses, and not at the end of each day. The hour of each entry and name of place at which it is written shall also be given in the relevant column. A note shall be made at the end of each diary of the place from, the hour at and how it is dispatched.

The diary's contents are required to encompass every lead acquired, even if initially seeming unfruitful, and chronicle each action undertaken by the Investigating Officer. However, brevity is encouraged, maintaining conciseness while ensuring comprehensive coverage.

Supplementary Case Diary (SCD)

Each designated investigating officer, entrusted with a distinct segment of a case's investigation, is also responsible for upholding a dedicated Case Diary, denoted as the "Supplementary Case Diary" (SCD). These SCDs will be formally acknowledged by the chief investigating officer, who is mandated to incorporate the essential substance of significant facts unveiled during this particular investigation into their own Case Diary. This incorporation is to be executed in correspondence with the date when the SCD is received by the chief investigating officer.

Timely submission of SCDs is of paramount importance and any undue delay must be avoided. Notably, the chief investigating officer's submission of the Case Diary to the superior police officer or court is to consistently include the attached SCDs that have been received.

Importance of Case Diary

The writing of the Case Diary comes next in importance to the FIR and no court can look with favor at a diary which displays apathy and carelessness on the part of the Investigating Officer. No court can be blamed for taking an adverse view against the prosecution when the time of departure from the police station and arrival at the spot is not noted; the exact time when the witnesses were examined is not shown on the margin or at any other place; and no details are furnished of the important activities of the investigator during the investigation.

Case Diaries must be written legibly and carefully to help the judge and not to give him a headache. The diary should not only be written from day to day but also it should be dispatched to the higher authorities without delay. The statements of witnesses shall not be recorded in the diary, but the names of all witnesses shall be given. If the Investigating Officer has recorded the statements of the witnesses on separate sheets, the gist of the same should be mentioned in the Case Diary date wise.

Privileged Document

As per sub-section (2) of section 172 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the Case Diary holds a privileged status. Access to this document is restricted for the accused, except in instances where a police officer employs it to recall details while providing testimony, or when the court employs it to challenge the officer's statements. Prosecution too cannot use it as corroborative evidence. The police officer who prepared the Case Diary can use the diary to refresh his memory.

Enshrined within Section 145 of the Evidence Act is the provision that permits the cross-examination of a witness in relation to prior statements they have made in writing or statements that have been documented. These statements, when pertinent to the issues at hand, hold significance in the trial's proceedings. Notably, this provision harmonizes with the discretion vested in the Court by Section 172(3), enabling the utilization of the case diary to challenge the assertions made by a Police Officer.

Conversely, Section 161 of the Evidence Act presents a distinct entitlement. It bestows upon a party the right to refresh their memory by consulting written records connected to the transaction in question (Section 159). These statements, crucially, are open to cross-examination.

Evidently, the parameters within which the accused can cross-examine a Police Officer pertaining to the entries present in the case diary are confined by the applicability of Sections 145 and 161 of the Evidence Act, 1872.

Making False Entry into Case Diary

Committing the act of falsifying entries within Case Diaries holds legal consequences. In situations where an investigating officer intentionally fabricates information and incorporates it into a Case Diary, particularly one maintained and submitted to a superior as dictated by an official directive that the public servant is duty-bound to adhere to, an offence under Section 177 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is established. This statute addresses the act of intentionally and falsely inserting information into such a diary, establishing culpability for the public servant involved.

Investigation and Case Diary

Investigation means that the police officer proceeds on the spot, ascertain the facts, records the statement of the persons acquainted with the facts, seizes the incriminating article, obtains expert opinion, arrests the accused persons and submits the report to the Magistrate.

To make the process of investigation authentic and to fix the accountability of the investigating officer, section 172 CrPC provides for maintenance of the Case Diary by the investigating officer. Whenever a case is entrusted for investigation, the investigator shall open a Case Diary and maintain it in the following manner:
  • The diary shall be maintained on a day-to-day basis and whole day's work must be written.
  • He should mention date and time and details of the work he performed in connection with the investigation and at what time he closed the Case Diary after the day's work was over.
  • He should state the places he visited and mention the circumstances he ascertained through his investigation.
  • While concluding his investigation, he should discuss in the Case Diary all evidence he collected so far and then mention the grounds upon which his opinion is based for submitting a charge sheet or final report.
  • When he prepares the site plan on separate paper, it should be copied in the Case Diary.
  • When the seizure list is prepared, it should find mention in the Case Diary.
  • Care should be taken that the whole investigation is reduced into the Case Diary systematically so that the supervisory officers and courts are able to comprehend the process of investigation.
  • The Case Diary must be written in at least three or four copies so that if the original documents are lost or fire takes place where original papers and some copies of the Case Diary are lost, then secondary evidence may be given from any of the available four copies of the Case Diary.

Record of Investigation

A case diary is the record of investigation prescribed by section172 (1) CrPC. It enables senior officers to guide and supervise the investigation besides providing a record for the Investigating Officer's own reference. A trial court has the prerogative to utilize the Case Diary as a resource to facilitate its proceedings. In accordance with the stipulations of section 172(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), a Case Diary should encompass a comprehensive record of:
  1. The time at which the information reached the investigating officer.
  2. The time at which he began and closed his investigation every day.
  3. The place visited by him, and the steps taken by him every day.
  4. A statement of the circumstances ascertained through his investigation.

What is Investigation?

Investigation in item means all proceedings for collection of evidence conducted by a police officer [section 2(h) CrPC] and would include, in particular,

Scene of Offence and Investigation Details

  1. A description of the scene of offence;
  2. A statement of witnesses, suspects or accused examined with date and time and proper identification;
  3. the death caused or injury inflicted and action taken (inquest, post mortem, medical attention etc. as a result);
  4. A description of property stolen or damaged;
  5. The searches, seizure and arrests made with date and time and venue and further action taken; and
  6. The disposal of the case.

Departmental Requirements

  1. The sending of information, express or ordinary, to the departmental superiors under the rules;
  2. The requisition of the services of experts;
  3. The reference made to the crime records;
  4. The verification of the complicity of the possible criminals;
  5. The issue of hue and cry notices, enquiry slips, and other steps taken to obtain co-operation or help from whatever quarter;
  6. The disposal of manpower and equipment in furtherance of the investigation;
  7. The clues found at the spot and the action taken to preserve develop and submit them to expert examination;
  8. The verification of the statement made, or alibi claimed during the investigation;
  9. The theories formed after the investigation and the reason for the discard of any;
  10. The lines of further investigation proposed;
  11. The final probabilities or facts of the case as determined on conclusion of investigation.

Use of Case Diary in Court

The Trial Court can, under the provision of section 172 (2) CrPC, call for case diaries and use them as an aid to inquiry or trial. The defense has no right to see the case diary even if it is used by the Court. Case diary may also be used by the court to contradict the police officer who wrote it, but the portion of it which is so used partially loses its privilege and must be shown to the defense to enable it to cross examine the police officer within the meaning of section 145 Indian Evidence Act, 1872. During investigation, the Court can call for the Case Diary to form an opinion whether the accused person whose bail application is pending for hearing, should be released on bail. However, the Court cannot disclose the contents of the Case Diary, at the time of passing orders of bail during investigation by police.

The Case Diary can be used by court merely as an aid to the trial or enquiry of the case in question but not as substantive evidence.

Thus the diary may be perused by the court to discover relevant evidence which it can then bring on to the record by examining necessary witnesses and if need be even under section 311 CrPC, or to put necessary question to a witness on the basis of information given in the diary, or to clear up ambiguities in evidence for the sake of justice, or to see if a witness has turned hostile, or to decide if a remand in police custody is really necessary, or to determine if bail can be granted to the accused or to see if there is at all a case against the accused which guarantees to justified framing of the charge.

In the year 2009, an important amendment was introduced. Section 172(1A) CrPC was incorporated, establishing a crucial requirement. This amendment mandates the inclusion of witness statements conducted under Section 161 into the Case Diary. This addition underscores the significance of maintaining a comprehensive record of witness testimonies within the context of the Case Diary.

By Defense

A Case Diary which does not contain any statement from witnesses is a privileged document. The defense has no right to inspect or get a copy of it unless the officer who wrote it refreshes his memory in which case the defense can also see it but not get a copy. The defense can use statements recorded under section 161 CrPC to contradict prosecution witnesses. In that case the prosecution can also use any portion of the statement in re-examination but only for the purpose of explaining away any matter referred to in his cross-examination.

By Prosecution

Section 162 CrPC permits the prosecution to use any part of the statement with the permission of the Court to contradiction a hostile witness (Section 145 Indian Evidence Act, 1872).

What not to Write in Case Diary?

A Case Diary is an important legal document that records the chronological events, actions, and decisions related to a legal case or investigation. It should be accurate, objective, and focused on relevant information. Here are some things that generally should not be included in a Case Diary:

Personal Opinions and Speculation: Case Diaries should not include personal opinions, subjective assessments, or speculative thoughts of the person maintaining the diary. The diary should stick to factual information and actions taken.

Irrelevant or Sensitive Personal Information:

Personal details that are not relevant to the case or investigation, such as personal biases, unrelated medical history, or unrelated personal circumstances, should not be included. This is to ensure the privacy and dignity of individuals involved. The identity of victim of sexual offences including those under the POCSO Act should not be revealed in the Case Diary.

Derogatory or Offensive Language:
The Case Diary should maintain a professional tone and avoid using derogatory, offensive, or inappropriate language. The purpose is to maintain the credibility and objectivity of the document.

Confidential or Classified Information:
If a piece of information is classified, confidential, or sensitive, it should not be included in the Case Diary. Sharing such information inappropriately could compromise national security, ongoing investigations, or personal privacy.

Unsubstantiated Allegations or Accusations:
Case Diaries should avoid recording unsubstantiated allegations or accusations against individuals. Only information that is supported by evidence or statements should be included.

Information Covered by Attorney-Client Privilege:
If the Case Diary is being maintained by a lawyer, it should not include information that is protected by attorney-client privilege. Such information is confidential and should not be shared without proper authorization.

Inflammatory Statements:
Avoid including statements that could be considered inflammatory, discriminatory, or incendiary. The diary should contribute to a fair and just legal process.

Excessive Detail:
While it's important to document relevant information, the case diary should avoid unnecessary or excessive detail that doesn't contribute to the understanding of the case or investigation.

Unrelated Personal Observations:
Personal anecdotes, unrelated to the case or investigation, should not be included in the diary. The focus should remain on the legal aspects of the matter.

Information that Compromises Ongoing Operations:
If a case is still under investigation, the diary should avoid disclosing information that could compromise the ongoing operations or interfere with law enforcement efforts.

Attempts to Influence the Outcome:
The case diary should be an objective record-keeping tool and should not be used to manipulate or influence the outcome of the case or investigation.

Personal and Differing Opinions to be Excluded:
Opinions held by the Investigating Officer, Supervisory Officers, and Law Officers are to be omitted. Any disagreements or differences of opinion among individuals such as the Investigating Officer, Law Officers, SP, DIG, and Head Office are not to be included. Recommendations put forth in the concluding report by the Investigating Officer, coupled with the comments of Law Officers and Supervisory Officers, are to be left out. Facts or circumstances unrelated to the case's investigation should not be incorporated.

Case Diary and RTI Act
Across various jurisdictions, both the High Courts and the Central Information Commission have aligned in their stance regarding this matter. They concur that an individual's entitlement to obtain a copy of the Case Diary through a Right to Information (RTI) application is contingent upon the conclusion of a trial. Sanjay Kumar Sahani v. Central Public Information Officer, 2019 SCC Online CIC 3192

This collective perspective is grounded in Section 8(1)(h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, which places limitations on the disclosure of information that could potentially hinder ongoing investigative processes, the apprehension of suspects, or the prosecution of offenders. Deputy Commissioner of Police v. D.K. Sharma, 2010 SCC Online Del 4554

Evidentiary Value of Case Diary
The evidentiary value of entries in Case Diary, holds significant weight within the context of legal proceedings. These entries can provide crucial insights into the investigative process and the events surrounding a case. Here's how the evidentiary value of such entries is understood:

Primary Record of Investigation:
The Case Diary chronicles the day-to-day activities, actions, observations, and interactions of the investigating officers during the course of an investigation. As a primary source, these entries document the steps taken, places visited, evidence collected, and statements recorded. This factual account can be pivotal in corroborating the investigative narrative.

Corroboration of Testimonies:
Entries in the Case Diary can serve as corroboration for the testimonies of both witnesses and investigating officers. They can validate that specific actions were taken and that certain events occurred, lending credibility to the version of events presented in court.

Memory Aid for Witnesses:
Entries in the diary can help refresh the memory of witnesses, including police officers themselves, when they are called upon to testify in court after a significant time lapse. This ensures that accurate and consistent information is presented in court.

Contradiction and Cross-Examination:
Entries in the police diary can be used for cross-examination to challenge the credibility of the statements made by witnesses or investigating officers. If inconsistencies arise between the statements made in court and the recorded entries, it can raise questions about the accuracy of the evidence presented.

Assistance to the Court:
During trial, the court can refer to the Case Diary to gain a comprehensive understanding of the investigation's progression. This assists the court in evaluating the case, making informed decisions, and ensuring a fair trial.

Substantiating Charges:
Entries in the Case Diary can provide support for the charges filed against the accused. They can establish the link between evidence, suspects, and the events under investigation.

Determining Legality of Actions:
The diary can help assess whether the investigating officers followed legal procedures and acted within the bounds of the law. If any irregularities or violations are noted in the entries, they can impact the credibility of the investigation.

Impeachment of Credibility:
On the other hand, if entries in the police diary appear inconsistent or manipulated, they can be used to impeach the credibility of the investigation and cast doubt on the case's integrity.

Appellate Review:
In case of an appeal, entries in the police diary can be crucial in reviewing the lower court's decision. Appellate courts can assess whether proper procedures were followed and whether evidence was handled appropriately.

Court Judgments on Case Diary
The significance of the Case Diary was underscored by the Supreme Court in the case of P. Chidambaram v. Directorate of Enforcement, (2019) 9 SCC 24. In this landmark case, the Court articulated that it possesses the authority to examine the Case Diary and the evidence amassed during the investigative phase conducted by the prosecution. This prerogative is not contingent upon the commencement of the trial. It can be exercised in situations such as:

Ensuring Investigation's Correct Trajectory:
The Court's engagement with the Case Diary is aimed at validating that the investigation is progressing in the right direction, thereby ensuring the accuracy and fairness of the inquiry.

Preventing Misuse of Authority:
By examining the Case Diary, the Court acts as a safeguard against potential misuse of power by investigating agencies, thereby maintaining the integrity of the investigative process.

Deciding Bail Under Section 438 CrPC:
The Court's perusal of the Case Diary assists in making informed decisions regarding the granting or denial of bail under Section 438 of the CrPC.

It's noteworthy that the above-mentioned circumstances are not the only situations in which the Court can review the Case Diary. They serve as examples, not an exhaustive list. The Court's jurisdiction to engage with the Case Diary during the investigative phase serves broader purposes than those illustrated, ensuring the transparency, fairness, and legality of the proceedings.

In the case of Ravi Kant Sharma v. State of NCT of Delhi, (2007) 2 SCC 764, the Supreme Court conveyed that if the essence of statements recorded under Section 161(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 becomes an integral part of the Case diary, then this "essence" should be furnished to the accused. However, this provision would come into effect only subsequent to the Court's factual confirmation, after thorough scrutiny, that the information provided is genuinely nothing more than the "essence of statements."

In the case of Balakram v. State of Uttarakhand, (2017) 7 SCC 668, the Supreme Court ruled that the scope of the accused's right to cross-examine a Police Officer is notably limited in its extent. Such an opportunity arises primarily when the Court employs the entries in the Case Diary to counter the statements of a Police Officer or when said officer refers to these entries to refresh his memory. Importantly, the Court highlighted that the denial of this right by the Court itself does not inherently amount to being unreasonable or arbitrary.

In the case of Shamshul Kanwar v. State of U.P., (1995) 4 SCC 430, the central concern presented to the Supreme Court was whether the accused possesses the entitlement to make use of the Case Diary. In the course of interpreting Section 172(3) CrPC, the Court held that such a right is not inherently vested in the accused. Rather, the ability to employ a Case Diary arises from the discretionary authority of the Court or the volition of the Police Officer to refresh his memory. This privilege, when granted, empowers the accused solely to use the diary for the specific purpose of cross-examining the statements made by the Police Officer.

In a judgment presided over by Justices DK Jain and RM Lodha of the Supreme Court, it was established that the utility of a Case Diary within a criminal court's proceedings is distinct in nature. The court articulated that while the Case Diary can be employed by the court to facilitate an inquiry or trial, its function as evidence is proscribed. This legal perspective finds clarity within the provisions of Section 172(2) of CrPC.

The purpose behind documenting "Case Diaries" as per section 172 CrPC is to empower courts to scrutinize the police's investigative procedures. Peary Mohan Das v. D. Weston, (1911) 16 CWN 145

Entries within a police diary must be promptly recorded, offering adequate details that encompass all crucial facts presented in a meticulous chronological sequence and with unwavering objectivity. Neglecting the systematic upkeep of a police Case Diary not only reflects poorly on those entrusted with its maintenance but also undermines the very rationale for its existence. Bhagwat Singh v. Commissioner of Police, AIR 1983 SC 826: 1983 Cr LJ 1080

The verdict of Zahiruddin v. Emperor, AIR 1947 PC 75, underscores a significant principle. It affirms that the absence of maintenance of the Case Diary in accordance with the stipulations of section 172 CrPC does not inherently render the trial invalid. However, this lapse does open the door for unfavorable assessment of the evidence presented by the investigating police officer, which could consequently diminish the credibility and weight of such evidence within the proceedings.

The Case Diary is valuable only as secondary evidence and not as substantive piece of evidence. When the primary evidence is lost or is not traceable, only then secondary evidence can be given, as per section 65 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Bhagwan Singh v. State, 1981 Cr LJ (NOC) 103

In the case of Balakram v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors (2017) 7 SCC 668, the Supreme Court ruled that under circumstances where neither the police officer has utilized the entries in the Case Diary to refresh his memory nor has the trial court utilized these entries to contest the statements made by the police officer, the accused is precluded from introducing certain pages of the Case Diary. Even if these pages were obtained through the provisions of the Right to Information Act, they cannot be introduced solely with the purpose of challenging the statements presented by the police officer.

In the case of State of Kerala v. Babu & Ors on 4 May, 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that, it is conceivable that a Case Diary from a different case, not directly associated with the ongoing trial, can be requisitioned. This action can be taken if the trial court deems it essential or advantageous for the effective conduct of the trial, under the provisions of Section 91 of the CrPC.

Case Diary is a crucial tool that ensures a transparent, accountable, and systematic approach to legal proceedings and investigations. It helps maintain the integrity of the justice system and facilitates the fair administration of justice. The key principle when maintaining a Case Diary is to provide an accurate, objective, and relevant account of the events and actions related to the legal matter.

It is essential to maintain the integrity of the document and adhere to legal and ethical standards while recording information. Any obstacle in the way of implementing different provisions of law in course of an investigation should be noted and explained in the Case Diary. In summary, entries in the police diary play a pivotal role in shaping the evidentiary landscape of a case.

They offer a record of events, actions, and statements that can aid in establishing facts, corroborating testimonies, and ensuring the integrity of the investigative and legal process. In essence, the Case Diaries are to be restricted to factual and pertinent details, ensuring that personal opinions, disagreements, recommendations, and irrelevant information do not find their way into the record.

  9. Andhra Pradesh Police Academy, First Course in Investigation.
  10. P. Venkatesh, Police Diaries, Statements, Reports and lnvesi1'gations, Premier Publishing Company, Allahabad.
  11. R. Deb, Principles of Criminology, Criminal Law and Investigation, S.C. Sarkar & Sons, Calcutta.

Written By: Md. Imran Wahab, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

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