Procedural law





The genesis of the Criminal Trial is created by investigation and charge sheet. The charge sheet is the product of the inquiry. The investigative protocol in criminal cases has been introduced under Section 157 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Which includes the disclosure of details on the commission of a crime to the police officer.

The approach discussed below is the one for cognizable offences. All the activities conducted by the police officer under the Code for the processing of evidence are included in the inquiry. A police officer who has been assigned to the case can conduct the investigation.

Any other person may also be allowed by the Magistrate to perform the investigation on his behalf. Upon review of the facts of the case, the police on registration of the FIR shall determine the line of inquiry, i.e., whether circumstantial proof or eyewitnesses exist.

Circumstantial evidence is the something which is a chain of events that contribute to the crime for example past hostility, intimidation, last seen theory. It is essentially a connection between different situations and crime. In the other side, eyewitnesses are those who have witnessed the incident taking place.

In order to be produced at three separate stages of the investigation, three types of reports are required:

A preliminary report to the Magistrate under Section 157 from the officer-in-charge of the police station.

Section 168 includes the submission to the officer in charge of the station of a report from a subordinate officer.

Section 173 demands that, as soon as the investigation is finished, a final report be presented to the Magistrate.

The investigation of a crime starts after the preliminary report is submitted by the police officer to the Magistrate.

Sending the Magistrate’s Report:

The report sent to the Magistrate is known as a report by the police. This is conveyed to the Judge by the police officer. This is the Preliminary Report which tells the Magistrate that that particular case is to be investigated by a police officer.

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Section 158 of the Code of Criminal Procedure applies to the submission of the Magistrate’s report. It is done so that, if necessary, the Magistrate can monitor the investigation process and include any orders under Section 159 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The orders were the directions given to the police officer for the investigation to be conducted. If the police officer is not pursuing the case further, the report to be submitted to the judge must state this.

Without any delay, report to be submitted

The report needs to be sent without delay to the magistrate. The Madras High Court had to acquit a person accused of murder in Nalli v. State on the grounds that there was an unexplained and disproportionate delay in sending the first information report to the Magistrate, but the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Ombir Singh V. Uttar Pradesh and Another State held on 26/5/2020 that mere delay in sending FIR to the Magistrate alone is not a basis for acquiring FIR It is necessary to submit the report within a reasonable period of time, i.e. 24 hours.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Alla China Apparao v. State of Andhra Pradesh clarified the usage of the word immediately in Section 157(1) by stating that the phrase immediately would undoubtedly mean within a reasonable time and without an unreasonable day. If any delay in submitting the report is induced, it should be adequately clarified, citing the reasons for the report.

The Inquiry Order by The Magistrate

The Magistrate was granted the powers to direct an inquiry into the case under Section 159 of the Code. If, upon receipt of the report, the Magistrate finds it reasonable that an investigation is required, he shall direct the subordinate magistrate to perform a preliminary investigation.

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If appropriate grounds are not present, the magistrate may also dismiss the case in the manner given by the Code.

However, after the initiation of the same inquiry, the Magistrate was not empowered to stop the investigation. The Supreme Court held in S.N. Sharma v. Bipen Kumar that the Magistrate has no power to stop the investigation and direct magisterial investigation.

Procedure Concerning Witnesses

Witnesses’ presence

The police officer who is conducting the investigation is allowed to require witness attendance. The witnesses must be those who are conscious of the facts and circumstances of the case. Under Section 160 of the Code, powers have been conferred.

It is specifically mentioned in the provisions of Section 160 of the Code that no male under the age of fifteen or woman shall be called to attend any place other than the place where she resides.

Pursuant to Section 174 of the Code, non-compliance with the summons referred to in Section 160 of the Code is punishable.

The person who is required to appear when the summons is issued shall be liable for simple imprisonment of up to one month or a fine of up to INR 500 or both. The section only includes the presence of witnesses and the provision of relevant information concerning them.

The police officer is unable to demand that the witnesses show the papers before him. The order that involves a person’s presence needs to be in written form.

Witnesses’ review

The interview of witnesses is the most important aspect of the investigation. A individual may be held guilty by the argument made by them. The police officer investigating the case was empowered to perform a witness interview. The witnesses are obliged to answer questions that are actually relevant to the case. Section 161 sets down the procedure for the police to question witnesses.

The person who is aware of the facts of the case shall be investigated by the investigating officer. It is the responsibility of the investigating officer to record without any hesitation the statements of the eyewitnesses. After examining the witnesses, the police officer is expected to write down the declaration made by the witness. There should be no hesitation in examining the witnesses on the part of the police officer investigating the case.

In the event of a pause in questioning a witness, the investigating officer is responsible for explaining the reasons for the delay. There was an unexplained delay for ten days in a case before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, and there were some inconsistencies as well, the Supreme Court held that the evidence was suspected due to the delay.

Whereas, until the delay has been sufficiently clarified, the possible value of a specific witness is not adversely affected.

When interviewing the witnesses, the police officer is not obliged to minimize the claims made in writing.

It is preferred that the claims be written or that at least the content of the entire test be written down.

It is important to remember the reported statements in the case diary maintained under Section 172 of the Code.

Statements to the police that should not be signed.

The witness who makes such a statement has to sign the statements made by the witnesses during the investigation. The claims made in this manner shall not be used for other purposes.


It is possible to use claims made under Section 161 to refute

The person who is familiar with the facts of the case is required by Section 161 of the Code to make statements to the police.

Such declarations can be used by the prosecutor or the accused for the intent of inconsistency. For example, if a witness in court says:

I saw Mahesh running from her home with a knife covered in blood, this assertion may be refuted by the statement that I didn’t see Mahesh running from her home with a knife covered in blood.

Recording of a declaration pursuant to Section 164 Cr.P.C.

Section 164 of the Code envisages the arrangements for the recording of statements in the presence of a Magistrate. In the course of the investigation, the confession has to be registered. No confession by a police officer shall be registered.

Alert to the convict or the person making a confession

It needs to be clarified to the person making the confession before recording the confession that he is not obligated to make a confession. And, if he does so, it can also be used against him as evidence. With his permission, and willingly, the declaration made by a person should be registered. It is a contractual duty which is imposed by the Code on the Magistrate to make the accused aware of his rights.

In addition, a person will not be held in custody if he indicates that he does not want to do so before recording the declaration.

Recording of the argument when the Magistrate does not have jurisdiction

A declaration of the witness may be registered by the magistrate even though he does not have jurisdiction in the case. The Magistrate who has registered this confession shall relay the same details to the Magistrate by whom the case is to be examined.

Under the Code, the power to record confessions is solely vested in the Judicial Magistrate.

In addition, the admissions reported under this section must be in the sense of an investigation.

The accused’s signature on the confession

The confession made by the defendant should be properly signed by him. If a confession has not been signed, the testimony is not admissible. Obtaining the signature of the accused is completely mandatory.

A confession under this section should be made either during the investigation or before the investigation or trial starts.


There is an extremely rigorous investigative process involved in criminal crimes. This requires several processes that need to be met with due diligence. One error and that can lead to an offender’s acquittal. When investigating the crime, the police left no stones unturned. The inquiry begins from the knowledge of the crime to the submission before the Magistrate of the report under section 173. After his trial is over, the culprit will be convicted and the Court finds evidence that he has committed the crime.



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