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Further Investigation Under Section 173 (8) CrPC

According to Section 173(8) of the CrPC, 'Further Investigation' is the process by which the Investigating Officer collects additional oral or documentary evidence after submitting the Final Report in the form of Charge Sheet /Mistake of Fact/ Mistake of Law/True/False/Non-Cog to the Court. This serves as a continuation of the initial investigation, with the aim of uncovering more evidence to present the true facts to the Court, even if it is discovered after the primary investigation. This type of inquiry, also known as a 'supplementary inquiry', supplements the original investigation without disregarding its conclusions.

It is different from reinvestigation, as it builds upon the existing foundation by finding new evidence related to the same offence or events. This involves exploring new avenues, collecting supplementary information, and using various investigative techniques to gain a more thorough understanding of the matter. This may include interviewing new witnesses, examining additional documents or data sources, and implementing alternative investigative methods to reveal new perspectives.

Court Judgments:
Magistrate Cannot on His Own Direct Further Investigation:
The Honourable Supreme Court examined the matter of Randhir Singh Rana v. State (Delhi Admn.) (1997) 1 SCC 361, and deliberated whether the Court had the power to independently call for further investigation if necessary for a just decision, while also discussing if the police should regularly obtain formal court approval for such actions. After careful consideration, the Supreme Court ruled that, in the unclear circumstances cited, a Magistrate does not possess the jurisdiction to unilaterally direct further investigation.

State Government Can Seek Further Investigation of a Case:
The State Government through the police department and public prosecutor under its control can seek further investigation of a case by asking them to submit prayer for further investigation to the concerned Magistrate having jurisdiction if it is considered essential to provide a fair trial or present the case correctly before the court. The Central Government can also seek further investigation of a case under the jurisdiction of the State Government by moving the concerned High Court or Supreme Court with the help of central investigative agencies.

Further Investigation is Supplemental Investigation:
According to the ruling in Rama Chaudhary v. State of Bihar (2009) 6 SCC 346, the Supreme Court declared that the term 'Further Investigation' as defined in Section 173(8) of the CrPC refers to an additional, supplementary, or supplemental investigation. Thus, it is a continuation of the previous investigation and not a new or separate investigation that disregards the earlier one.

Delay Cannot Hinder Further Investigation:
As stated in the case of Hasanbhai Valibhai Qureshi v. State of Gujarat (2004) 5 SCC 347, the foremost factor for conducting further investigation is to uncover the truth and ensure fair and substantial justice. The investigating agency should not be hindered from conducting further investigation solely due to delay. In simpler terms, the potential delay in concluding the trial should not impede the possibility of further investigation if it would aid the court in uncovering the truth and delivering effective and meaningful justice.

Further Investigation Can Be Held Even After Taking Cognizance by The Court:
The verdict in the case of Sri Bhagwan Samardha Sreepada Vallabha Venkata Vishwanandha Maharaj v. State of A.P. (1999) 5 SCC 740 stated that the Supreme Court determined that the police can continue their investigation even after the court has taken cognizance of an offence based on the initial police report.

Further Investigation Can Be Held During or After Trial:
The relevant case in which this issue was addressed is J. Prabhavathiamma v. State of Kerala, (2008) 1 KLJ9. It was held that even though the trial was nearing its conclusion, further investigation under Section 173(8) of the Criminal Procedure Code could still be carried out. This suggests that if additional investigation can be conducted after the court has taken cognizance of the case, there is no justification for it not to be ordered during or after the trial.

Further Investigation Can Be Held Based on The Protest Petition of the De Facto Complainant:
The Kolkata High Court addressed the case of Sumanta Sinha v. State of W.B. SCC Online Cal 23010, and highlighted the following principle. Referring to the ruling of a three-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court in Bhagwant Singh v. Commissioner of Police (1985) 2 SCC 537, the High Court affirmed that it is permissible to consider a protest petition and order further investigation, as demonstrated in the case of the de-facto complainant. Therefore, it can be concluded that the decision of the learned Magistrate to authorize further investigation based on the protest petition filed by the de-facto complainant was not incorrect.

Police To Conduct Further Investigation After Taking Formal Permission from The Court:
According to Section 173(8) of the CrPC, the police are authorized to conduct further investigation after submitting the final report. This applies even after the Court has taken cognizance of an offense based on the initial police report, as the police maintain the right to carry out further investigation at their discretion. In the case of Ram Lal Narang v. State (Delhi Admn.) (1979) 2 SCC 322, the Court reaffirmed this principle. However, as per the aforementioned ruling, it is recommended that the police inform the Court and obtain formal permission before proceeding with any additional investigation.

To Hear the Accused Before Giving Order of Further Investigation Is Not Mandatory for The Magistrate:
Section 173 (8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure does not indicate that the Court must listen to the accused before issuing any such instruction. Imposing such a duty on the Court would only add to its workload, as it would have to locate and give a chance to every possible accused to be heard. This was held in the case of Sri Bhagwan SSVV Maharaj v. State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors., 1999 SC.

Accused Can Submit Prayer to the Magistrate for Further Investigation:
In India, Section 173(8) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) confers a right on the accused person to ask for further investigation. If the police report filed under section 173(2) CrPC is incomplete or does not contain some important details that necessitate further investigation, then an accused person can make a request before a Magistrate for such additional investigation.

In turn, the magistrate has the power to either grant or deny this application depending on the nature and facts of each case. Upon approval by the Magistrate, the police shall proceed to carry out further investigations as demanded. This provision is aimed at ensuring fair and thorough investigations for the interest of justice.

Further Investigation Cannot Be Ordered by a Senior or Superior Police Officer:
In June of 2023, the Supreme Court, consisting of Justices Krishna Murari and Sanjay Karol, emphasized the importance of adhering to the legal requirement of seeking permission for further investigation or submitting a supplementary report. They clarified that in cases where a final report has been filed, the initiation of further investigation can only be authorized by a court order and not by the investigating agency.

The bench referred to previous cases, such as Minu Kumari v. State of Bihar' (2006) and 'Hemant Dhasmana v. CBI (2001), to highlight the magistrate's authority to order further investigation, while fresh investigation, reinvestigation, or de novo investigation falls under the jurisdiction of a higher court.

Public Prosecutor Can File Petition in the Court for Further Investigation:
Upon receiving a petition from the Public Prosecutor under Section 173(8) of the CrPC, the Court has the authority to grant approval for further investigation. When presented with such a petition, the Court must evaluate the necessity of exercising this power. It was held by a Bench of Justices V. K. Mohanan and B. Kemal Pasha of the Kerala High Court in the case of Abdul Latheef v. State of Kerala.

Further Investigation Can be Ordered by the Magistrate When the Investigating Officer Obtains Additional Oral or Documentary Evidence:
According to the ruling in the case of Vinay Tyagi Vs. Irshad Ali (2013) 5 SCC 762, it was determined that under Section 173(8) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), it is possible for 'further investigation' to be conducted in a scenario where the investigating officer obtains additional oral or documentary evidence after the final report has been submitted to the Court.

The CBI Can Continue with the Investigation Even After Withdrawal of Consent by the State Government:
The decision in Kazi Lhendup Dorgi v. CBI 1994 Supp (2) SCC 116 clearly states that once the CBI initiates an investigation with the consent of the concerned party under Section 6 of the DPSE Act, it must be completed irrespective of any withdrawal of consent. Any further investigation is considered an extension of the initial investigation and culminates in a subsequent police report. Therefore, if the consent is withdrawn, the state police do not have the authority to continue the investigation; only the CBI, entrusted by the state government, can do so.

Submission of Supplementary Charge Sheet After Receipt of FSL Report:
In many cases it is seen that the Investigating Officers submit charge sheet pending FSL report mentioning in the charge sheet that supplementary charge sheet will be submitted on receipt of FSL report. Here the Investigating Officers submit supplementary charge sheet after receipt of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report and the courts also accept the same without insisting for taking permission of the court before submission of supplementary charge sheet.

Courts Superior to The Magistrate's Court Can Direct Further Investigation:
In addition to the Magistrate having jurisdiction, the Courts superior to it can also direct for further investigation of the case. The High Court has the authority to order further investigation in a case, which can be done through either Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) or Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

No Restriction on The Number of Times A Complainant Can Seek Further Investigation:
In India, there is no restriction on the number of times a complainant can seek further investigation. The important point to be emphasized is that it will be at the Magistrate's discretion to decide on the request after examining its legal aspects and weighing whether further investigation is in order, taking into consideration the case particulars.

Trial Court Can Also Order Further Investigation:
In the case of Gobardhan Das v. State of Orissa 2000 Crl LJ 1641, it was held that once the Magistrate takes cognizance, reinvestigation is not prohibited. The trial court can also permit further investigation. CrPC 173(8) allows the de facto complainant to file an application at any stage of the investigation process, whether it is the pre-cognizance or post-cognizance stage or even after the trial has begun.

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

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