An investigation is an important segment of criminal procedure. The first
step after a crime is committed or information received by a police officer
about the commission of an offence is investigation
. The purpose is to
identify the offender and proceed him for trial so as to serve him with
punishment as per the provisions of the Code. Section 156 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure confers powers on police officers to investigate cognizable
In Non Cognizable cases, the police officer has no authority to investigate
without warrant and has to obtain a warrant under Section 155 (2) of the Code.
The term “investigation” has been defined in section 2(h) of the Code. Chapter
XII (Sections 154 to 176) of the Code deals with information to police and their
powers to investigate.
Meaning and Definition
The term ‘investigation’ has been defined in Section 2(h) of the Code of
Criminal procedure, Investigation includes all the proceedings under this Code
for the collection of evidence conducted by a police officer or by any person
(other than a Magistrate) who is authorized by a Magistrate in this behalf.
The investigation of an offence consists of:
- Proceeding to the spot
- Ascertainment of facts and circumstances of the case.
- Discovery and arrest of the suspect.
Collection of evidence which may include:
- Examination of persons concerned and reducing their statement to writing
- Search and seizure of places and things respectively considered
- Formation of opinion as to whether there is a case for trial, and taking
necessary steps accordingly.
Overview of Procedure of Investigation:
- Cognizable and Non-Cognizable Offence
The cognizable offence has been defined in Section 2(C) of the Code, wherein
a Police officer can arrest without warrant. The offence is of serious
nature and is a public wrong, where the prosecution is done at the
discretion of the state. Punishment is given with imprisonment of 3 years or
more and with or without fine. Example – Dowry, Rape, Murder, etc.
Non Cognizable offence and case have been defined in Section 2 (l) of the
Code, wherein the police cannot arrest without warrant. The offence is less
serious in nature and the prosecution is done at the initiative of the
parties. Punishment may be given not exceeding 3 years of imprisonment.
Example – Assault, Forgery, Defamation, etc
- Information to the Police Officer
Section 154 of the code talks about when information is given as a
cognizable offence. The information must be given by the informant to the
officer in charge of a police station in writing or must be reduced into
writing by the officer in charge of the police station. The written
information has to be read over to the informant and be signed by him, which
is called “First Information Report.” When the information is given by a
woman against whom any of the offences under Sections 326-A, 326-B, 354,
354-A to 354-D, 376, 376-A to 376-E or 509 IPC is alleged to have been
committed or attempted, such statement shall be recorded by a woman police
After the information has been received by the police officer, he shall
start his investigation, provided he has reasons to suspect that a
cognizable offence has been committed.
- Power of Police to Investigate
Section 156 of the code empowers the officer in charge of a police station
to investigate a case in his territorial jurisdiction without the order of
the Magistrate if the offence is cognizable in nature. The officer may also
initiate an investigation on the orders of the Magistrate empowered under
Cases consisting of both Cognizable and Non-Cognizable Offences
According to Section 155(4), when two or more offences are there in a case,
of which at least one is of cognizable nature, and other of non-cognizable
nature, then the entire case has to be dealt as a cognizable case, and the
investigating officer will have all the powers and authority as he has in
investigating a cognizable case.
- Procedure of Investigation
Section 157 of the Code lays down the procedure of investigation to be
followed by the police, for collection of evidence. The investigation of a
cognizable case begins when a police officer in charge of a police station
has reason to suspect the commission of a cognizable offence on the basis of
FIR or any other information so received. It requires that prompt intimation
of the FIR be sent to the Magistrate. The officer shall then proceed in
person to the spot for investigation of facts and circumstances, or shall
depute one of his subordinate officers for the same, and if required,
measures for the discovery and arrest of the person shall be taken.
When the information received by the police officer is not of serious
nature, the officer need not proceed in person or depute some subordinate
officer to investigate on the spot. And if no sufficient ground exists for
entering on an investigation, he shall not investigate the case. And shall
state in its report for not complying with the requirements of this section,
and notify the informant that he will not investigate the case or cause it
to be investigated.
He shall then send this report to the Magistrate empowered to take
cognizance of such offence
- Sending a Report to the Magistrate (Section 158)
A report is sent to the Magistrate which is called the police report. It is
sent by the superior police officer, so as to make the Magistrate aware that
a particular case is being investigated by a police officer. The main
objective of sending a report is to enable the Magistrate to control the
investigation and give directions if required under Section 159 of the Code.
The report should be sent to the Magistrate without any delay. In Swati Ram
v. State of Rajasthan, it was held that mere delay in sending the report
does not throw away the prosecution case in its entirety.
At different stages of an investigation, different reports are to be
submitted by the police to the Magistrate. These reports are:
Section 157 of the CrPC requires the officer in charge of the police station
to submit a report to the Magistrate, called a preliminary report.
Section 168 of the CrPC requires a subordinate officer to submit a report to
the officer in charge of the police station.
Section 173 of the CrPC requires that a final report is to be submitted to
the Magistrate as after the investigation gets over.
- Order of Investigation by the Magistrate
The Magistrate, under Section 159, has been empowered, if he feels
necessary, after receiving the report to direct investigation, or to conduct
himself or direct a subordinate Magistrate to hold a preliminary inquiry.
And as held by the Supreme Court, the Magistrate has no power to stop the
investigation after it has started.
- Attendance of Witnesses
The police officer making the investigation is empowered under Section 160
to require the attendance of any person as a witness who is acquainted with
the facts and circumstances of the case. The above-mentioned section also
provides that no male person or woman who is under the age of fifteen years
shall be required to attend any place other than the one in which the male
person or women resides. The State Government shall make rules for the
payment of reasonable expenses incurred by persons for attending any place
other than their residence.
Examination of Witnesses
Any police officer who is in charge of the investigation or any other officer
who is acting on the request of an officer in charge shall and is empowered to
examine a witness or person who is acquainted or aware of the facts and
circumstances of the case put before him. Section 161 of the Code confers powers
on police to examine witnesses. The statements of witnesses are important as
they can make a person guilty or innocent.
The persons who are being
investigated are expected and bound to answer truly all the questions relating
to such cases put before them. They are not bound to truly answer the questions
which would expose them to a criminal charge or any other charge. After the
examination, the police officer making the investigation shall reduce the number
of statements given by the person in the course of the examination. And if done
so, he shall keep a separate record of the same. He is not bound to reduce the
statements into writing but it is preferred that he does so.
Statements to the Police not to be Signed
The statements made by the witnesses during examination need not be signed by
him. Neither should be used at any inquiry or trial. The statements made by the
witness can be used in the court only to contradict him, and not corroborate
him. If the witness is brought from the prosecution side, any part of his
statement if proved may be used by the accused and can be used by the
prosecution only with the Court’s permission, to contradict him. That is,
statements made under Section 161 can be used to contradict him.
However, an exception to the above section is: If any statement falls within the
provision of Section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act, or if any statement
affects the provisions of Section 27 of the Evidence Act.
Recording of Confessions and Statements
Any magistrate whether metropolitan or judicial, if he has jurisdiction or not
in the case, is empowered under Section 164 to record any statement or
confession made to him in the course of the investigation. But a police officer
on whom powers of a magistrate have been conferred for the time being is not
empowered to record the same.
The magistrate, before recording the statement is
required to explain it to the person giving the statement that he is not bound
to give it and the statements can be used as evidence against him. The
magistrate has to make sure that the person making the confession is doing it
voluntarily. The Magistrate cannot authorize the detention of that person in
police custody if the person refuses to give a statement at any time before the
confession is recorded.
Recording of Confession When Magistrate has no Jurisdiction
A Magistrate who records statements and confession when he does not have the
jurisdiction to do so, he shall forward it to the competent Magistrate who has
to inquire into the case or by whom the trial is to be done.
Admissibility of Evidence
The confession recorded under section 164 can be used as substantive evidence,
without being formally proved. Record of such confession is admissible as
evidence. Entire confession must be brought on record. The Court must carefully
weigh it with other evidence. The Court may reject part of it.. Where the
confession was found rejected, the convictions based on them could not be
Non-confessional statements recorded under section 164 is not substantive
evidence. But if the maker of the statement is called as a witness in the trial,
his earlier statement can be used for contradicting his testimony in the Court
under section 145 and 157 of the Evidence Act.
In Balak Ram v. The State of U.P.
, it was held that evidence of witness cannot
be discarded merely because their statement was recorded under section 164.
Their evidence must be approached with caution.
Search by Police Officer
A police officer is empowered under Section 165 of the Code to search for any
place which he has reasonable grounds to believe that contains something
necessary with respect to the investigation he is authorized to make.
The grounds for issuing a warrant for search are provided in Section 93(1) of
the Code The search is required to be noted in a diary which is prescribed for
this purpose, by the state government.
Procedure of Search
A police officer has to record in writing his reasons for the search, the place
to be searched and the thing that has to be searched in that place, after which
he proceeds in person. If the police officer is unable to do the search himself,
then he may, in writing, order his subordinate officer to conduct the search,
directing him to the place to be searched and the thing to be searched for. And
the subordinate officer can then conduct the search on the basis of the written
order given to him.
The officer should make a record of the search done and send
a report of the same to the nearest Magistrate who can further furnish it to the
owner/occupier of the place searched, free of cost, on application.
When Investigation is to be Done Outside India
When the investigating officer or any of his superior officer has reasons to
believe that necessary evidence may be available in a place or country outside
India, any criminal court shall issue a letter of request to the authority of
that country or place requesting to examine orally the person who is supposed to
be aware of the facts and circumstances of the case and direct him to produce
all the requisite documents in his possession relating to the case being
investigated and also require to forward all the documents and evidence to the
court issuing such letter. The provision is given under section 166.
Procedure when Investigation cannot be Completed within 24 Hours
Section 167 deals with the procedure when investigation cannot be completed
within 24 hours. The purpose of this section is to ensure liberal democratic
ideology. The object is to protect the accused from atrocities of the police and
to give the opportunity to the Magistrate to decide the question of further
custody, to facilitate the investigation, and no detention without trial. For
this purpose, it has been provided that the accused or arrested person cannot be
detained for more than 24 hours.
Section 167 is attracted in the following
- When the accused is arrested without a warrant and is detained by the
police officer in his custody
- More than 24 hours needed for an investigation.
- There are grounds to believe that accusation or information against him
- The officer in charge of a police station or the investigating officer not below
the rank of sub-inspector forwards the accused for remand before the Magistrate.
- The judicial Magistrate to whom the accused is so forwarded may authorize the
detention of such person in such custody for a term not exceeding 15 days. If
the Magistrate does not have the jurisdiction to try the case and considers
further detention unnecessary then the accused shall be further forwarded to the
Magistrate having jurisdiction to try the case,
- The Magistrate shall authorize the detention of the accused (but not in
police custody) if he has reasons and grounds to believe the necessity of
doing so. But in any situation, the Magistrate cannot order detention for a
- 90 days, when the person is accused of an offence punishable with imprisonment
for a period not less than 10 years of imprisonment for life or death.
- 60 days, when accused of any other offence. And on the expiry of the period of
60 days or 90 days, whatever the case may be, he shall be released on bail if he
is able to furnish sureties.
- This period is to be calculated from the date of detention and not from the date
- If the Judicial Magistrate is absent, the Executive Magistrate or the
Metropolitan Magistrate on whom the powers of a Judicial Magistrate have
been conferred for the time being will act.
- The Executive Magistrate shall order for
detention for a period not exceeding 7 days. If further detention is to be made,
the accused shall be forwarded to the competent Magistrate.
- If the order is given by any Magistrate other than the Chief Judicial
Magistrate, he shall forward a copy of his orders also stating the reasons for
making so, to the Chief Judicial Magistrate.
In a Summons Case, if the investigation is not complete within 6 months, the
Magistrate is required to order to stop the investigation unless he has reasons
and grounds to believe that further investigation is necessary for the interest
of justice. If the Magistrate has ordered to stop the investigation and an
application is made to the Sessions judge against the order, then the sessions
judge is empowered under Section 167(6) to discard the order given by the
Magistrate under subsection 5, if reasonable grounds exist for doing so.
Procedure to be followed on completion of Investigation (s.169-s.173)On completion of the investigation, the following procedure is to be
Release of accused when evidence is deficientWhen there is not sufficient evidence and reasonable grounds to justify the
forwarding of the accused to the Magistrate, the police officer shall release
him on him executing a bond, with or without sureties, and may direct him to
appear before the magistrate when required.
Cases to be sent to Magistrate when evidence sufficientWhen the police officer has sufficient evidence and reasonable grounds, he shall
forward the accused to the Magistrate, so that the Magistrate can take
cognizance of the offence and try the accused or commit him for trial. If the
offence is bailable, the accused shall be given security and be released on
bail, only to appear before the Magistrate when required, and for his day to day
attendance before the Magistrate.
Diary of proceedings in an investigation (section 172)
This section relates to the contents of a case diary, which every police officer
making an investigation has to maintain. The object of this section is to enable
the Magistrate to know what was the day to day information by a police officer
who was investigating the case. Oral statements of witnesses should not be
recorded in this case diary. This diary may be used at trial or inquiry, not as
evidence, but to assist the court in proceeding with the case.
Report of police on completion of the investigation
Final report of a police officer after the completion of the investigation is to
be sent to the Magistrate under Section 173. This report is generally called a
“Chargesheet” or “Challan”.
Where a superior officer has been appointed by the State government, the report
shall be sent by him to the Magistrate. And while the orders of the Magistrate
are pending, he shall direct further investigation to the officer in charge of
the police station.
If according to the police officer, a part of the statement in the report
submitted by him is not relevant, he shall request the Magistrate to exclude
that part and not consider it. Also, further investigation can be made even
after the submission of the report to the Magistrate.
Power to Summon Persons
This section empowers the police to summon witnesses at the inquest to testify
the injuries which the investigating officer has found on the body of the
deceased person. But it is not at all necessary for him to record the statements
of the witnesses or get the inquest report signed by them. The person examined
at an inquest is bound to answer truly all the questions except those which
would be incriminating him.
Refusal to answer questions is punishable under Section 179 IPC and deliberately
giving a false answer is punishable under Section 193 of IPC. The inquest report
is not substantive evidence but may be used for corroborating the evidence given
by the police officer making the inquest report.
An investigation is an extremely thorough process in criminal law and is done in
a procedure established by law.
- The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
- H.N. Rishbud vs. State of Delhi, AIR 1955 SC 196
- S.N. Sharma v. Bipen Kumar