Magistrate directing further investigtion

Investigation after taking cognizance

Section 156 & 173 of Cr.P.C.

The investigating agency concerned has been invested with the power to undertake further investigation desirably after informing the Court thereof, before which it had submitted its report and obtaining its approval, no such power is available therefor to the learned Magistrate after cognizance has been taken on the basis of the earlier report, process has been issued and accused has entered appearance in response thereto. At that stage, neither the learned Magistrate suo motu nor on an application filed by the complainant/informant direct further investigation. Such a course would be open only on the request of the investigating agency and that too, in circumstances warranting further investigation on the detection of material evidence only to secure fair investigation and trial, the life purpose of the adjudication in hand.

The unamended and the amended sub-Section (8) of Section 173 of the Code if read in juxtaposition, would overwhelmingly attest that by the latter, the investigating agency/officer alone has been authorized to conduct further investigation without limiting the stage of the proceedings relatable thereto. This power qua the investigating agency/officer is thus legislatively intended to be available at any stage of the proceedings.

In contradistinction, Sections 156, 190, 200, 202 and 204 of the Cr.P.C. clearly outline the powers of the Magistrate and the courses open for him to chart in the matter of directing investigation, taking of cognizance, framing of charge, etc. Though the Magistrate has the power to direct investigation under Section 156(3) at the pre-cognizance stage even after a charge-sheet or a closure report is submitted, once cognizance is taken and the accused person appears pursuant thereto, he would be bereft of any competence to direct further investigation either suo motu or acting on the request or prayer of the complainant/informant. The direction for investigation by the Magistrate under Section 202, while dealing with a complaint, though is at a post-cognizance stage, it is in the nature of an inquiry to derive satisfaction as to whether the proceedings initiated ought to be furthered or not. Such a direction for investigation is not in the nature of further investigation, as contemplated under Section 173(8) of the Code. If the power of the Magistrate, in such a scheme envisaged by the Cr.P.C. to order further investigation even after the cognizance is taken, accused persons appear and charge is framed, is acknowledged or approved, the same would be discordant with the state of law
[Source: Athul Rao vs. State of Karnataka, (SC)]

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