Legal Provisions Regarding Investigation under Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure

The Magistrate may then authorise the detention of the accused in such custody as the Magistrate thinks fit, for any term not exceeding 15 days in all.

However, a Magistrate may authorise the detention of the accused person otherwise than in Police custody beyond the said period of 15 days, if he is satisfied that adequate grounds exist for doing so. However, such custody cannot extend to more than 90 days, where the offence investigated is punishable with death, life-imprisonment or ten years’ imprisonment or more, and 60 days in all other cases, and on the expiry of such period, the person is to be released on bail, if he is able to furnish the same.

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S. 167 has been amended in 1978 to empower an Executive Magistrate on whom the powers of a Judicial Magistrate or Metropolitan Magistrate have been conferred to make an order for the remand of the accused for a maximum period of seven days in cases where a Judicial Magistrate is not available.

If, upon an investigation under this Chapter, it appears to the Officer- in-charge of the Police Station that there is no sufficient evidence or reasonable ground of suspicion, he must release such person from custody on his executing a bond as the Officer may direct. If, on the other hand, it does appear that there is such evidence or ground of suspicion, the Officer must send the accused under custody to a Magistrate. He must also send to such Magistrate any weapon or other articles which may have been found on the accused. (Ss. 169-170)

Moreover, no complainant or witness on his way to any Court can be required to accompany a Police Officer, or be subject to any unnecessary restraint or inconvenience, or be required to give any surety for his appearance, otherwise than his own bond. If, however, a complainant or a witness refuses to attend or to execute a bond, he may be sent in custody to the Magistrate, who may detain him in custody until he executes such a bond or until the hearing of the case is completed. (S. 171)

S. 172 deals with what is known as a Police Diary or a Special Diary or Case Diary or a Station House Report. It provides that every Police Officer making an investigation under this Chapter shall, day by day, enter his proceedings in the investigation in a Diary, stating therein the time at which information reached him, the time at which he began and closed his investigation, the place or places visited by him, and a statement of the circumstances ascertained through his investigation. Any Criminal Court can send for the Police Diary of a case, and such Diaries can be used, not as evidence in the case, but to aid the Court in such inquiry or trial.

Neither the accused nor his agent is entitled to call for such Diaries; nor are they entitled to see the Diary, merely because they are referred to by the Court. If, however, such a Diary is used by the Police Officer to refresh his memory, or if the Court uses it for contradicting the Police Officer, then the provisions of Ss. 145 and 161 of the Indian Evidence Act will apply, and the accused would be allowed to inspect the Diary. But even in such a case, he would be allowed to see only the particular entry in question.

The Supreme Court has laid down that a Judge would be in error in making use of the Police Diaries at all in his judgment, and in seeking confirmation of his opinion on the question of appreciation of evidence from statements found in such Diaries. (Habeeb Mohammad— AIR 1954 SC 51)

Moreover, it is also to be noted that such a Diary is permitted to be used by S. 172 for the limited purpose of contradicting the Police Officer, and not for the purpose of corroborating him. (Achhaibat, — 22 Cr. L.J. 374)

The Supreme Court has held that in a Police Case Diary, all entries should be made in scrupulous completeness and efficiency. (Bhagwat Sing v. Com. of Police, Delhi, 1983 Cr. L.J. 1081)

As stated above, the Special Diary, including every entry in it, is absolutely privileged from inspection by the accused or by his pleader. The reason for this is that if the accused was entitled to inspect the Diary, the Police Officer making the investigation would be tempted to omit from the Diary, all information which could prove to be injurious to the prosecution.

S. 173 provides that every investigation under this Chapter must be completed without any unnecessary delay. As soon as it is completed, the Officer-in-charge of the Police Station must forward to a Magistrate a Report in the prescribed form, stating —

(a) The names of the parties;

(b) The nature of the information;

(c) The names of the persons who appear to be acquainted with the circumstances of the case;

(d) Whether any offence appears to have been committed, and if so, by whom;

(e) Whether the accused has been arrested;

(f) Whether he has been released on his bond, and it whether with or without sureties;

(g) Whether he has been forwarded in custody under S. 170.

S. 174 then provides that if any Officer-in-charge of a Police Station receives information that a person has committed suicide, or has been killed by another or by an animal or machinery, or by an accident, or had died in such circumstances as raise a reasonable suspicion that some other person has committed an offence, he must immediately give intimation thereof to the nearest Executive Magistrate empowered to hold inquest, and must proceed to the place where the body of such deceased person is lying.

There, in the presence of two or more respectable inhabitants of the neighbourhood, he must make an investigation and draw up a Report of the apparent cause of death, describing such wounds, fractures, bruises and other marks of injury as may be found on the body, and state by what weapon or instrument, if any, such marks appear to have been inflicted. Such a Report should be signed by the Police Officer and sent immediately to the District Magistrate or the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.

In the following five cases, the Police Officer must send the dead body for examination to the nearest Civil Surgeon:

(a) If the case involves suicide by a woman within seven years of her marriage;

(b) If the case relates to the death of a woman within seven years of her marriage in suspicious circumstances;

(c) If the case related to the death of a woman within seven years of her marriage and any relative of the woman had made a request to that effect;

(d) If there is any doubt regarding the cause of death; or

(e) If the Police Officer, for any other reason, considers it expedient to do so.

Similarly, when any person dies in the custody of the Police, the nearest Magistrate empowered to hold inquest may hold an inquiry into the cause of death, either instead of, or in addition to, the investigation held by the Police Officer.

If such a Magistrate considers it expedient to make an examination on the dead body of any person who has already been interred, in order to discover the cause of his death, the Magistrate can even have the body disinterred and examined. Wherever practicable, the Magistrate must also inform the relatives of the deceased and allow them to be present at the inquiry.

The 2005 Amendment now provides that, in cases of such deaths, the body should be sent to the nearest Civil Surgeon (or other qualified medical person appointed by the State Government) within twenty-four hours of the death, unless it is not possible to do so for reasons to be recorded in writing.