Preview of Investigation Power of Police Under Criminal Code of Procedure,1973
kartik mago 31 Jan 2019

Preview of Investigation Power of Police Under Criminal Code of Procedure,1973

Investigation includes all the proceedings under the Cr.P.C for the collection of evidence conducted by the police officer or by any person (other than a Magistrate) who is authorized by a Magistrate in this behalf.

An investigation means search for material and facts in order to find out whether or not an offence has been committed. The Investigation of an offence consists of-

·       1.  Proceeding to the place of offence.

·       2.  Ascertainment of the facts and circumstances of the case

·       3.  Discovery and arrest of the suspected offender.

·         Collection of evidence relating to the commission of the offence which may consist of examination of various persons, including the accused and reduction of their statements into writing if police thinks fit. Also, the search of various places or seizure of things considered necessary for investigation.

·         Formation of the opinion as to whether the materials collected there is a case to place the accused before the Magistrate for trial and if so, taking the necessary steps for filing a charge-sheet.

Chapter XII of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) deals with the Information to the Police and their Powers to Investigate. Such powers are related to all cognizable and non-cognizable matters as well as matters related to suicide, killed by animals or accidents etc. All the powers of police are inherent and are not to have encroached through any means

The investigation power of police starts as soon as FIR is lodged under Section 154 of the Code. The first information of a cognizable offence is given to the police. FIR is in relation to the commission of a cognizable offence and which is first in point of time and on the strength of which the investigation into that offence is commenced. The FIR should be in writing and shall be signed by the informant. The main object of the FIR is to set the criminal law in the motion and to set the investigation process in reference to the alleged offence. The FIR is an essential piece of any criminal trial in order to corroborate the evidence. The statement given to police after the investigation has commenced will not be included under FIR.

Under Section 155(1) When information is given to the police regarding the commission of a non- cognizable offence, the police must enter the information in a book to be kept in prescribed form and refer the informant to the Magistrate. According to section 155 (2), a police officer is not permitted to investigate a case relating to the non-cognizable offence without the order of the Magistrate who has the power to try such cases. A police officer acquires the power to investigate as soon as he receives the order and can exercise the investigating power same as he exercises in any cognizable matter. However, no police officer has the power to arrest any person in the non-cognizable offence unless he has the warrant to arrest. And under Section 155 (4) if any case involves 2 or more offences and among all, if one is the cognizable offence, the entire case shall be deemed to be a cognizable case. No defence would lie on such cases mere on the basis that other are non-cognizable offence and the police officer will have the power to investigate the manner as prescribed for the cognizable offence. In Pravin Chandra vs State of AP[1], it was held that while investigating a cognizable offence and submitting charge-sheet for the same, the police is not debarred from investigating any non- cognizable offence arising out of the same facts and including them in their final report

Under Section 156(1), Any police officer without the order of Magistrate, investigate any cognizable case the police officer can investigate the case only where the Court has the jurisdiction over the local areas. In Sohan Lal vs State of Punjab [2]it was held that the police can investigate even without a FIR, if any police officer has reason to suspect the commission of a cognizable offence. FIR is only a report about the commission of an offence and not the substantive evidence, as the police has yet to investigate an offence. The statutory right of a police to investigate cannot be interfered or controlled by the judiciary. The Magistrate has no authority to direct investigation officer any case in a particular manner. Under Section 156(2), an irregularity in investigation does not vitiate proceedings or trials.

Section 157 provides the manner in which the investigation is to be conducted where the commission of a cognizable offence is suspected and authorizes police not to investigate if he considers that there is no sufficient ground for such investigation. Further this section requires that immediate intimation of every complaint of the commission of cognizable offence shall be sent to the Magistrate having jurisdiction. The Magistrate is empowered to take the cognizance of such offence and order to any subordinate officer to investigate the spot, facts and circumstances of the case and take necessary measures for the discovery and the arrest of the accused. The report is sent to the Magistrate as to keep him abreast of the investigation so he may give appropriate directions. Delay in sending the report to Magistrate does not render the case doubtful but would put the Court on guard. Further, in case of rape offence, the recording of the statement of the victim shall be recorded by a woman police officer. All such statements shall be recorded at the residence of the victim or the place of her choice and in the presence of his parents or guardian or near relatives or social worker.

Under Section 160 for effective investigation the police need to obtain information from persons acquainted with the facts and circumstances relevant to the commission of the offence.  Thus, the police officer making investigation by order, in writing require attendance before himself of any person if the following conditions are satisfied-

·         1.The order must be in writing

·         2.The person to whom order is made is one who appears to be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case.

·         3.Such a person is within the limits of the police station of the investigating officer.

However, the police officer has no authority to use force for compelling the attendance, nor does he have any power to arrest or detain such a person.

As per section 161 of the Code the police officer who has the power to investigate will examine the witness and reduce their statements in writing. This section also empowers to record the stamen in audio-visual electronic means. Moreover, a woman police officer is required to record the statement of the woman against whom an offence is committed.

Under Section 162(1), No statement made by any person to police shall be signed by the person making it. This checks the abuse of power by the police, as in some cases the police might obtain the signature of a witness by compulsion. As per Section 162(2), the witness is not bound to answer any such question which might expose him to criminal charge, penalty etc.  

Section 163 ensures that statements made to the police during the investigation are not affected by fear or favour. It lays down an embargo on the investigating authorities to use any inducement, threat or promise which might influence the mind of the maker of the statement and lead him to suppose that thereby he would gain any advantage or avoid any evil reference to his conduct as disclosed in the proceedings

Section 165 authorises the police officer to make a search without warrant during investigation. However, there are few pre-conditions which needs to be fulfilled are-

·        1. Search must be necessary for investigation purpose

·        2. The offence must be a cognizable offence

·        3. Reasonable ground must exist for believing that the thing required will be found in a place

A person arrested without a warrant cannot be detained by the police for more than 24 hours. However, if the police consider it necessary to detain such a person for a longer period for the purpose of the investigation, he can do so only after obtaining special order from the Magistrate under the Section 167. Police are empowered to extend the custody of the accused up to 15 days when the investigation is not completed within 24 hours. Section 167(5) lays down that if any case triable by the Magistrate as summons case, the investigation is not concluded within a period of 6 months from the date on which the accused was arrested, the Magistrate shall make an order to stopping further investigation.

Section 173 lays down that, A police officer is empowered to submit a charge sheet post investigation. It includes a copy of FIR, statement of the complainant, witnesses, panchnama, dying declaration etc.

In the case of S.N. Basak  [3], it was held that the statutory right of the police to carry on an investigation under this chapter before a prosecution is launched, cannot be interfered with by the Courts either under section 401 or Section 482.

In Kari Chaudhary v. Sita Devi[4], it was held that the object of investigation is to find out whether the alleged offence has in fact been committed, and, if so, who have committed them. However, where there is the commission of any offence which is not of serious nature there is no need to proceed with the investigation on the spot. Also, where it appears to the police officer that there no sufficient reason for the investigation, he shall not proceed with it. All such information is required to be mentioned by the police officer furnishing the report that he will not conduct any investigation

Thus, the powers of the police to take statements of accused or suspects during investigation are quite wide as they can arrest and detain any person accused of an offence, they can interrogate him and record his and other eye witnesses’ statements and seek medical examinations of such person.


[1] [AIR 1965 SC 1185]

[2] [2003 CrLj 4569(SC)]

[3] [AIR 1963 SC 447]

[4] [(2002) 1 SCC 714: AIR 2002 SC 441]

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