Introduction In India, the first step towards criminal proceedings is methods of Police Investigation. The investigation is an exclusive domain of police and cannot be ever curtailed in normal circumstances. The main purpose behind the methods of Police Investigation is the identification of the offender so as to serve him/her with the punishment for the crime done by… Read More »

Introduction In India, the first step towards criminal proceedings is methods of Police Investigation. The investigation is an exclusive domain of police and cannot be ever curtailed in normal circumstances. The main purpose behind the methods of Police Investigation is the identification of the offender so as to serve him/her with the punishment for the crime done by the accused in accordance with the provisions embedded under the law of the land. [1] As per section 156 of the Code of...

Introduction

In India, the first step towards criminal proceedings is methods of Police Investigation. The investigation is an exclusive domain of police and cannot be ever curtailed in normal circumstances. The main purpose behind the methods of Police Investigation is the identification of the offender so as to serve him/her with the punishment for the crime done by the accused in accordance with the provisions embedded under the law of the land. [1]

As per section 156 of the Code of criminal procedure, the police have unfettered powers to investigate any cognizable offense. The two significant steps in the process of investigation are the discovery and arrest of the suspect and the search and seizure of all the material evidence which are essential for the trial before the court of law.

Information to the police as per the cognizable offenses

Section 154 of the code of criminal procedure contains provisions requiring the registration of every information relating to the commission of an offense which is informed to the police. The section mandates that all information pertaining to the cognizable offenses should be noted down in writing by the police officers in charge or by any other person under his direction.

All such information which is written down should be read out in signed by the person who gives the information to police at the first instances. The information which is thus reduced to writing is called as first information and the full-fledged report produced eventually would be called the First information report (FIR).

The objective of FIR

From the point of view of the complainant, is to set the criminal law in motion and it may be called the step first ahead towards obtaining justice. Whereas, from the point of view of the investigating authorities and officers, it is the first instance that sets the investigating agencies in the movement for carrying out the process of investigation. [2]

Evidentiary value of FIR

It has high evidentiary value during the cognizance of the offense and during the time of initiation of investigation about the information furnished in Section 154 and Section 155 of the Code of criminal procedure. However, FIR cannot be considered as a substantial piece of evidence but can surely be regarded as a vital piece of corroborative evidence.

Section 155 of the code of criminal procedure deals with the information in events of non-cognizable offenses and the manner in which investigation is to be carried out in the same. According to the provisions of section 155, all the information which is received by the police must be recorded by them in such official records as may be prescribed by the appropriate government under which the police station lies.

Section 155(2) of the code states that the investigation related to the non-cognizable offenses can never be started by the police without the prior permission of the magistrate who has the power to investigate.

According to Section 2(h), the term investigations contains within its ambit all the proceedings which are undertaken by the police or any other person authorized by the magistrate to carry on the investigation with a view to gathering the evidence on the case which has been reported. The person who carries on the process of investigation in a criminal case is referred to as the criminal investigator.

CrPC contains provisions that direct the police when to initiate an investigation in a particular case. Some of the sections which come under this subject matter purview are Sections 154, 155, 156, 157. [3]

Police power to attain the attendance of witnesses

Section 160 of the code of criminal procedure directs the police officers who investigate a particular case to have the power to require the attendance of the witnesses.[4]

Section 161 of the CRPC deals with the oral examination of the witnesses by the police and recording the use of the statements which are made by the witnesses to the police. According to Section 162 of the code, the purpose and the manner in which the police investigation has to be conducted under section 161 of the code shall mandatorily be recorded and can be used during the trial. The main objective behind Section 161 of CrPC is to obtain the information pertaining to the facts and circumstances of the cases.

When a crime is committed there might be many people who might be aware of the facts and circumstances of the case. Statement f these witnesses are recorded in order to get a clear picture of the crime and to adjudicate the accused in the case.

Any statement or confession made to the police should never be admissible as evidence as most of the statements which are made in front of police are made under first or second-degree torture. Since most of the statements are made to avoid the pain and torture meted out to them. It is in the interest of justice to not rely on such police custody statements.

Torture during the investigation

Allegation of torture is imposed against the policeman from time immemorial. Torture has not been defined in the constitution or any other penal laws. Whereas it has been defined in the dictionary as the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or in order to force them to do or say something. According to the Indian scenario the police resort to torture in order to extract a confession for the ease of police to save time and energy while investigating the matter in issue. [5]

It is not legal for the police to use force or to torture an accused person for obtaining false confession regarding the commission of an offense. Article 21 and 20 of the Indian constitution prohibits any person including a police officer to use force or any degree method for obtaining a confession from the accused person.

As per the research done, if there is a third-degree there must be the happening of first and second degrees.

  1. First-degree refers to legal arrest and custody.
  2. The second degree refers to the illegal arrest and custody.
  3. Third-degree refers to the physical force used on the suspect by the police to force him to tell the truth.

There is also the mention of fourth-degree which refers to the detention of relatives in order to put pressure upon the accused who is presently absconding to surrender. The Supreme Court dealt with this issue in the landmark case of Afzal v. State of Haryana (1994).

With the passage of time, a lot of positive things have occurred in the police stations but at the same time, it cannot be ruled out that in some remote corner of any state these third and fourth degrees still could be resorted. Especially the investigating officers need to know the forensic science and the scientific techniques to extract the truth from the accused to eliminate third and fourth-degree methods of investigation.

Nowadays, investigating officers are being taught in police schools about investigating methods based on forensic analysis and scientific techniques. Once the police have got the scientific evidence, the evidence holds more reliability in the court of law than the evidence received after using physical torture or any other unfair means of investigation. [6]

Encounter – the result of the brutal investigation[7]

When it comes to encounter deaths, Supreme Court has laid down some clear-cut guidelines. The apex court has said that every death at the hands of the police must be recorded and investigated by an independent agency or the police unit which is not involved in the encounter case.

Notably, the court also said that investigation into any police killings with guns must be undertaken by experienced state CID and another police station and magistrate under State human rights commission or the national human rights Commission must be alerted in any such case.

The Supreme Court bench of former CJI R.M Lodha and Justice Rohinton Nariman issued a 16 points guideline to be followed in the matters of investigating police encounters in the cases of death as the standard procedure for the thorough effective and independent investigation. [8]

In march 1997 Justice M.N Venkatachalaiah, who was then the chairperson of the national human rights commission wrote to all state chief ministers stating that the commission has received complaints from members of the general public and NGOs that the instances of fake encounters by the police were on the rise and the police kill people instead of subjecting them due process of law if they are accused of committing crimes. Justice Venkalechayya also underlined that the police have not been conferred any right to take away the life of another person.

There were only two circumstances in which such killings would not constitute an offense were

  • If the death is caused in the exercise of private defense.
  • Under Section 46 of the CRPC which authorizes the police to use force extending up to the causing of death as may be necessary to arrest the person accused of being punishable with death or imprisonment for life.

NHRC asked all states and union territories to ensure that police follow a set of guidelines in cases where death is caused in police custody or encounters. These guidelines include when the in-charge of the police station receives information about the deaths in an encounter between the police party and others.

He shall enter that information in the appropriate official register. The information as received shall be regarded sufficient to suspect the commission of a cognizable offense and immediate steps need to be taken to investigate the facts and the circumstances leading to the death to ascertain what if any offense was committed and by whom.

The question of granting compensation to the dependents of the deceased can also be considered in cases ending in conviction when police officers are prosecuted on the basis of investigation. Whenever a specific complaint is made against the police alleging the commission of a criminal act that makes out a cognizable case of culpable homicide an FIR to this effect must be registered under appropriate sections of the IPC. A magisterial inquiry must be done in all cases of death that occurs in the course of police action as expeditiously as possible preferably within three months. [9]

Conclude

The law expects that the course of investigation ought to be continued with incredible consideration and tirelessness as one wrong investigation would invalidate the whole point of examination which is the liberation of equity to the people who look for and furthermore the disclosure of the accused.

Thusly, it is normal for the police that they investigate every possibility while examining a case. As indicated by Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the investigation of the case starts from the perception of the offense to the documenting of the report before the Magistrate.

It is the required obligation of the cop to record the FIR when the data is collected. As respects to the evidentiary worth of the FIR, it is settled standard of regulation that the explanations made by an individual to the police officers are not permissible in the courtroom and thus the ascertainment of current realities by the police likewise goes under the umbrella of a significant piece of proof yet not a meaningful piece of proof.


[1]The investigation by Police, Available here

[2] First Information Report & You, by Subho S. Chatterjee, Commonwealth human rights initiative, Available here

[3]Evidentiary value of a First Information Report, Available here

[4] Section 160 of CRPC, 1973

[5]Why Police in India Use ‘Third-Degree’ Torture Methods for Interrogation, Available here

[6]Enhanced interrogation techniques, Available here

[7] Justice V. Ram Kumar, Law Relating To Encounter Killings By The Police, Available here

[8] 16 points guideline to be followed in the matters of investigating police encounters, Available here

[9]Explained: What NHRC, SC have said on encounter killings, Available here


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Updated On 17 Feb 2022 1:28 AM GMT
Dhruv Kumar

Dhruv Kumar

Dhruv has an inclination towards legal content writing. Institution: UPES Dehradun

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