Supplementary charge sheets in India are governed by Section 173(8) of the Code
of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973. This section empowers the police to conduct
further investigation and file a supplementary charge sheet when new evidence or
information comes to light after the initial charge sheet has been filed.
Section 173(8) CrPC ensures that the court is informed of all relevant
developments in the case and allows for the inclusion of additional evidence or
charges as necessary to ensure a fair and comprehensive trial.
A supplementary charge sheet, often referred to as an additional charge sheet,
is a crucial legal document used in criminal proceedings to augment the
information and evidence initially presented in the primary charge sheet. Its
purpose is to update the court on new developments that have arisen since the
filing of the initial charge sheet. These developments may include fresh
evidence, additional witnesses, or even changes to the charges brought against
Upon submission, the court carefully reviews the supplementary charge sheet,
along with the original charge sheet and other relevant documents, during the
trial proceedings. The court's role is to determine the admissibility of the new
evidence and whether any additional charges should be framed against the accused
based on this evidence. This process is essential for maintaining fairness in
the legal system, as it ensures that the accused persons are informed of new
developments and are provided with an opportunity to mount a proper defence,
ultimately contributing to a just and comprehensive adjudication of the case.
Further Investigation is when the police continue to look into a case even after
they've given a report to the court. In the old law from 1898, there was no
clear rule about this. But in 1973, they added Section 173(8) to the law, making
it a proper rule. This rule says that even after the police send a report to the
court, they can still investigate more if they find new evidence. If they do
find something new, they have to tell the court about it in a special report.
The same rules that apply to the first report they sent to the court also apply
to this new report. This rule is there to make sure the police can keep
searching for the truth in a case. Power of further investigation has been given
to the police under Section 173 (8) CrPC, whereas a magistrate can order further
investigation under Section 156 (3) CrPC.
Can Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) give order for further Investigation?
According to Section 173(8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 police have
the power to carry out further investigation, even after filing a charge sheet.
According to law it is not mandatory for carrying out further investigation, to
take prior permission from the magistrate. It is the statutory right of the
police. A Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) can give order for further
investigation under Section 173 (8) CrPC on the appearance of fresh evidence, as
per power granted to superior police officers under Section 36 CrPC.
Can an accused request the Court to order further investigation?
Yes, an accused person can request the court to order further investigation
under Section 173(8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Section 173(8)
CrPC allows for further investigation by the police if fresh evidence comes to
light or other circumstances arise which necessitate additional inquiry. While
the police can initiate further investigation on their own, the accused also has
the right to approach the court and request such an investigation if he can
furnish fresh evidence or produce important witness relating to the case, since
Section 178 (3) CrPC has not put any bar on the evidence or witness produced by
the accused person.
Here's how the process generally works:
Accused's Application: If the accused believes that there is new evidence or
information that could be crucial to their defence, they can file an application
before the court, requesting that further investigation be conducted under
Section 173(8) CrPC. This application should outline the reasons for seeking
further investigation and the nature of the evidence or circumstances that
Court's Discretion: The court has the discretion to consider the accused's
application and may order further investigation if it deems the request to be
justified and in the interest of justice. The court may also hear arguments from
both the prosecution and the defence before making a decision.
Police Action: If the court grants permission for further investigation, the
police will then conduct the additional investigation as directed by the court.
This may involve gathering new evidence, interviewing witnesses, or taking other
investigative steps as required.
Report to Court:
Once the further investigation is complete, the police will
submit a report to the court detailing their findings. This report is usually in
the form of a supplementary charge sheet.
Court's Review: The court will review the report and, based on the new evidence
or information presented, decide whether to take any further actions, such as
framing additional charges or making necessary adjustments to the case.
It's important to note that the court's decision to order further investigation
under Sections 156 (3) and 173(8) CrPC is discretionary and depends on the
specific circumstances of the case and the merits of the accused's request. The
court's primary concern is ensuring a fair and just trial, and it will consider
whether the new evidence or information is substantial and relevant to the case
before granting such requests.
Can complainant request Court for further investigation?
Yes. When a complainant believes that an injustice may occur because the real
culprits were not identified in the initial investigation or due to shortcomings
in the inquiry process, they have the right to petition the Magistrate for
redress. This petition outlines the concerns and argues that justice may be
compromised if corrective action is not taken.
The role of the Magistrate in this situation is pivotal. Upon receiving the
complainant's petition, the Magistrate carefully evaluates its contents. The
Magistrate does not conduct an exhaustive inquiry but rather makes an initial
assessment, or a prima facie conclusion, based on the provided information and
any available evidence. If the Magistrate is persuaded that there are valid
reasons to suspect that the initial investigation was deficient and might lead
to an unjust outcome, they have the authority to take action.
To prevent a miscarriage of justice, the Magistrate can issue an order for
further investigation. This directive empowers the police to conduct additional
inquiries, collect more evidence, re-interview witnesses, and rectify the
deficiencies in the initial investigation. The Magistrate's decision to order
further investigation ensures that all pertinent facts are examined, promoting
fairness and upholding the principles of justice.
Throughout this process, the rights of both the accused and the complainant must
be protected. The accused persons must be informed of any development and
granted an opportunity to respond, safeguarding their due process rights. The
Magistrate's role is pivotal in maintaining the integrity of the legal system,
as it allows for the correction of investigative lapses and strives to ensure
that justice prevails.
In the realm of legal principles, it is a fundamental tenet that not only must
justice be served but it must also be perceived as having been served. In
pursuit of this objective, the Court possesses the inherent authority to compel
additional investigations or re-investigations by an unbiased entity. The Code
of Criminal Procedure, 1973 provides numerous powers though not inherent power
but under Section 156(1) & (3) r/w 173(8) of CrPC to Magistrate to issue
directions even if FIR was registered by police or chargesheet was filed by
police to order further investigation.
Role of Court on receipt of Final Report
When the report forwarded by the Officer-in-charge of a police station to the
Magistrate under sub section (2) (i) of section 173 comes up for consideration
by the Magistrate, one of two different situations may arise. The report may
conclude that an offence appears to have been committed by a particular person
or persons and in such a case, the Magistrate may do one of three things:
- He may accept the report and take cognizance of the offence and issue
- He may disagree with the report and drop the proceeding or
- He may direct
further investigation under sub-section (3) of section 156 and require the
police to make a further report.
The report may on the other hand state that, in
the opinion of the police, no offence appears to have been committed and where
such a report has been made, the Magistrate again has an option to adopt one of
three courses: (1) he may accept the report and drop the proceeding or (2) he
may disagree with the report and taking the view that there is sufficient ground
for proceeding further, take cognizance of the offence and issue process or (3)
he may direct further investigation to be made by the police under sub-section
(3) of Section156.
Court Judgments on Section 173 (8) CrPC and Supplementary Charge Sheet
Further investigation can be conducted post cognizance, during or after trial.
In the case of Prabhavathiamma v. State of Kerala, (2008) 1 KLJ 9, it was clarified by the court that even if the investigation has reached its end, a further investigation under section 173 (8) of the CrPC can be conducted even at the post cognizance state. Therefore, if additional investigation is feasible after the court takes cognizance, it can also be mandated either during or after the trial proceedings. Tripaksha Litigation, 29 September, 2023
Even after completion of investigation under Section 173 (2) CrPC, the police have power to further investigate under Section 173 (8) CrPC, but not fresh investigation or de-novo or re-investigation.
In Ramachandran v. R. Udhayakumar and others, the Supreme Court held that "from a plain reading of section 173 of CrPC, it is evident that even after completion of investigation under Section 173(2) of CrPC, the police have the right to further investigate under section 173(8) CrPC and not fresh investigation or de-novo or re-investigation.
Court should not interfere with the statutory powers of the investigating agency when a power under Section 173 (8) is exercised.
In Popular Muthiah v. state, represented by Inspector of Police, it was held by the Supreme Court, when a power under section 173(8) is exercised, the court ordinarily should not interfere with the statutory powers of the investigating agency. The court lacks the authority to prescribe directives for conducting the investigation in a specific manner or through a particular agency.
When the charge sheet has been filed the same cannot affect or limit the powers of the High Court to pass an order under Section 482 of CrPC for further investigation or re-investigation in suitable cases.
In State of Punjab v. CBI, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that when the charge sheet has been filed the same cannot affect or limit the powers of the High Court to pass an order under Section 482 of CrPC for further investigation or re-investigation in order to serve the ends of justice. It was the case where senior functionaries, senior police officers, and political leaders were involved, and justice would not be served if the local police had investigated the matter. Henceforth, the High Court issued an order invoking Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to mandate a fresh investigation to be conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Lawyersclubindia.com, 1 April 2020
A Court is not required to wait for FSL result or supplementary charge-sheet if cognizance can be taken on the basis of the charge sheet filed by the police.
The Delhi High Court has elucidated that a court need not delay proceedings awaiting the results from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) or a supplementary charge-sheet, provided that it can take cognizance based on the initial charge sheet submitted by the police. A bench of Justice Mukta Gupta has passed the order in case titled Madan Lal Chowatia v. State on 27.03.2019. Latest laws, 14 April 2019
Charge Sheet and Supplementary Charge Sheet to be considered jointly.
The Supreme Court has held that while deciding whether or not an accused has committed an offense, it is necessary for the Magistrate to consider the chargesheet submitted under Section 173(2) of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) as well as the supplementary chargesheet which is submitted after further investigation in terms of Section 173(8) of CrPC. [Luckose Zachariah v. Joseph Joseph]. Barandbench.com, 2 March 2022
Further investigation within the meaning of provision of Section 173 (8) CrPC is additional; more; or supplemental not fresh investigation.
In the case of Rama Chaudhary v. State of Bihar, (2009) 6 SCC 346, it was held by the Supreme Court that 'further investigation within the meaning of provision of Section 173 (8) CrPC is additional; more; or supplemental.' Hence, it is the continuation of the earlier investigation and not a fresh investigation or reinvestigation to be started from the beginning superseding the earlier investigation altogether. Tripaksha Litigation, 29 September, 2023
Seeking permission from the Court to conduct further investigation is desirable but not mandatory.
The Orissa High Court has recently held that an order of cognizance cannot be quashed merely because the police conducted 'further investigation' under Section 173 (8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 without obtaining formal permission from the Court. According to the Court seeking permission from the Court to conduct further investigation is desirable but not mandatory. Livelaw.in, 12 September 2023
Further investigation under Section 173 (8) Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is not taken away only because cognizance was taken of an offense.
The Orissa High Court has reiterated that the power of Judicial Magistrates to order further investigation under Section 173 (8) Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is not taken away only because cognizance was taken of an offense. According to the Court, Magistrate is not barred to order further investigation after taking cognizance until trial commences. Livelaw.in, 7 December, 2022
No bar against conducting further investigation under Section 173(8) of the CrPC after the final report submitted under Section 173(2) of the CrPC has been accepted.
Further investigation is merely a continuation of the earlier investigation; hence it cannot be said that the accused are being subjected to investigation twice over.
There is nothing in the CrPC to suggest that the court is obliged to hear the accused while considering an application for further investigation under Section 173(8) of the CrPC.
Mere delay in approaching a Court of law would not by itself afford a ground for dismissing the case. Though it may be a relevant circumstance in reaching a final verdict.
The bench of Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala*, JJ of the Supreme Court has held that
there is no bar against conducting further investigation under Section 173(8) of
the CrPC after the final report submitted under Section 173(2) of the CrPC has
been accepted. Holding that even after the final report is laid before the
Magistrate and is accepted, it is permissible for the investigating agency to
carry out further investigation in the case, the Court stated that prior to
carrying out further investigation under Section 173(8) of the CrPC it is not
necessary that the order accepting the final report should be reviewed, recalled
On the issue as to whether the principle of double jeopardy would
apply to further investigation, the Court explained that "further investigation"
is merely a continuation of the earlier investigation, hence it cannot be said
that the accused are being subjected to investigation twice over. Investigation
also cannot be put at par with prosecution and punishment so as to fall within
the ambit of Clause (2) of Article 20 of the Constitution. It was also observed
that there is nothing in the CrPC to suggest that the court is obliged to hear
the accused while considering an application for further investigation under
Section 173(8) of the CrPC.
On the issue that if further investigation is
permitted after such a long lapse of time, it would result in delay in trial and
that for years to come, the sword of Damocles should not be kept hanging on the
neck of the accused persons, the Court observed that 'Mere delay in approaching
a Court of law would not by itself afford a ground for dismissing the case.
Though it may be a relevant circumstance in reaching a final verdict. SCC
Online, 2 May 2023.
Section 173(8) CrPC gives an "unfettered right" to the investigation
agency for further investigation; it is not limited till the trial begun.
The Delhi High Court has said Section 173(8) CrPC gives an "unfettered right" to
the investigation agency for further investigation "with no conditions" and it
cannot be restricted since such restrictions do not exist in the statute. The
Statute does not limit the right to investigate under Section 173(8) CrPC only
till the trial begun," said Justice Yogesh Khanna of the Delhi High Court.
Livelaw.in, 9 December 2022Conclusion
Supplementary charge sheet is normally submitted after receipt of report of
Forensic Science laboratory or Expert Opinion in a case. Polic initially
disposes of the case by submission of charge sheet or report in final form to
stave off pressure from superior police officers for disposal of pending cases
sometimes even without receipt of FSL report. Hence, on receipt of FSL report
they submit supplementary charge sheet.
Supplementary charge sheet is also
submitted after further investigation on the order of superior police officers
or by the order of the Courts. Some police officers submit charge sheet on their
own after they collect fresh evidence or find out new witnesses. In many cases FSL reports are received at the police station after the transfer of the
investigating officer and gets misplaced leading to non-submission of
supplementary charge sheet and problem during trial of the case.References:
Written By: Md. Imran Wahab
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected]
, Ph no: 9836576565