Police Investigation | Section 161 & 162 of Cr.PC, 1973

Police Investigation

Police Investigation

Police Investigation under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973 serves as the backbone of criminal justice in India, outlining the legal procedures and guidelines for the investigation and adjudication of criminal offenses.

Within this framework, police investigation plays a pivotal role in establishing the facts, gathering evidence, and ensuring a fair trial. Let’s delve into the key aspects of police investigation under the CrPC.

Initiation of Police Investigation

The process begins with the lodging of a First Information Report (FIR) with the police.

Section 154 of the Cr.P.C. mandates that an officer in charge of a police station must register an FIR upon receiving information about the commission of a cognizable offense.

The FIR serves as the foundation for the subsequent investigation.

Role of the Police Officer

After registration of FIR, the police officer in charge can exercise extensive powers to investigate the matter.

Section 156 grants the police the authority to conduct a preliminary inquiry and take necessary steps for the collection of evidence.

They can also make arrests, if required, under Section 41, provided the conditions stipulated in the section are meeting. 

Search and Seizure by Police 

To gather evidence, the police may conduct searches and seizures as per the provisions of Section 165.

However, such actions are subject to specific conditions, including the need for a search warrant unless circumstances necessitate immediate action.

The law strives to strike a balance between enabling effective investigation and safeguarding individual rights and privacy.

Recording of Statements by Police Staff

The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 emphasizes the importance of recording statements during the investigation. Sections 161 and 162 deal with the examination of witnesses and the recording of their statements.

Police can record statements during the investigation, but the accused can challenge the admissibility of such statements in court after scrutiny on various grounds.

Arrest and Detention

Arrest is a critical tool in the hands of the police during an investigation. Section 41 lays down the circumstances under which police can arrest any person without without a warrant.

Additionally, Section 167 sets a limit on the duration of police custody, mandating that police should produce the arrested person before a magistrate within 24 hours.

Role of the Magistrate

The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 incorporates a system of checks and balances by involving magistrates in the investigation process.

The magistrate acts as a supervisory authority, ensuring that police is doing the investigation within the legal framework.

Magistrates have the power to grant or deny bail, authorize searches, and provide necessary permissions for the conduct of certain investigative activities.

If any accused wants Anticipatory Bail, he can apply before Sessions Court and thereafter before High Court under Section 438.

Judicial Authority should also check that there is no Unlawful detention and arrest by Police.

Importance of Fair Investigation

Police investigation under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, should create balance between empowering law enforcement agencies to uncover the truth and protecting the fundamental rights of individuals.

The procedural safeguards built into the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 aim to prevent abuse of power, uphold the rule of law, and ensure a fair and just criminal justice system.

As society evolves, it is imperative to periodically revisit and refine these legal provisions to meet contemporary challenges while upholding the principles of justice and equity.

Power of Magistrate for Registration of FIR

In the case under reference after going through the petition of complaint under Section 156(3), if it appears that there was absolutely no averment contained in such application showing previous compliance of the provisions incorporated in Section 154(1) and 154(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 before resorting to action available under Section 156(3) of Cr.P.C.

The Magistrate must update with Law of Arrest and Bail to avoid any injustice to the accused as well as victims.

Guidelines by Supreme Court on Investigation

In the case of Narendra Kumar Surana vs. State of West Bengal (2019 Cri. L.J. 4273), the Hon’ble Supreme Court has laid down some guidelines for Judicial Magistrate while Invoking power under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 :- 

(a)    The learned Magistrate would be well advised to verify the truth and veracity of the allegation, regard being had to the nature of allegations of the case. 

(b)     There has to be prior applications under Section 154(1) and 154(3) while filing a petition under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. 

(c)    Both the aspect should be clearly spelt out in the application and necessary documents to that effect shall be filed which are the sine qua non for applicatioin under Section 156(3) of the Code. 

(d)   An application under Section 156(3) of the Code should be supported by an affidavit so that person making the application should be conscious and also endeavor to see that no false affidavit is made. 

(e)   Learned Magistrate would also be aware of the abnormal Delay in FIR in initiating criminal prosecution.