The reasonableness and credibility of the information is not a condition precedent to the registration of a case. The import of casting a mandatory obligation on the Officer-in-Charge of a police station to record information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence and to register a case thereon, has been emphasized in the decisions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1991 (28) ACC 111 (SC) and in Prakash Singh Badal v. State of Punjab, (2007) 1 SCC 1. At the same time arrest of an accused immediately on the registration of an FIR has been held not to be mandatory. The Criminal Procedure code confers a power upon the police to close a matter both before and after the investigation. A police officer can foreclose an FIR before an investigation under Section 157, if appears to him that there is no sufficient ground to investigate it. The police officer is empowered also to investigate the matter and file a final report under Section 173. In Lalita Kumari v.Government of Uttar Pradesh, 2014 (84) ACC 719 (SC), it was held that the police is not liable to launch an investigation in every FIR which is mandatorily registered on receiving information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence. The scheme of the Code not only ensures that the time of the police should not be wasted on false and frivolous information but also that the police should not intentionally refrain from doing its duty of investigating cognizable offences. Jagannath Verma v. State of U.P., 2015 (88) ACC 1 (FB).
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No arrest should be made only because the offence is non-bailable and cognizable and therefore, lawful for the police officers to do so. The existence of the power to arrest is one thing, the justification for the exercise of it is quite another. Apart from the power to arrest, the police officers must be able to justify the reasons thereof. No arrest can be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of commission of an offence made against a person. It would be prudent and wise for a police officer that no arrest is made without a reasonable satisfaction reached after some investigation as to the genuineness of the allegation.
A person accused of an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may be less than seven years or which may extend to seven years with or without fine, cannot be arrested by the police officer only on his satisfaction that such person had committed the offence punishable as aforesaid. A police office before arrest, in such cases has to be further satisfied that such arrest is necessary to prevent such person from committing any further offence; or for proper investigation of the case; or to prevent the accused from causing the evidence of the offence to disappear; or tampering with such evidence in any manner; or to prevent such person from making any inducement, threat or promise to a witness so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the court or the police officer; or unless such accused person is arrested, his presence in the court whenever required cannot be ensured. The law mandates the police officer to state the facts and record the reasons in writing which led him to come to a conclusion covered by any of the provisions aforesaid, while making such arrest. The law further requires the police officers to record the reasons in writing for not making the arrest.
In pith and core, the police officer before arrest must put a question to himself, why arrest? Is it really required? What purpose will it serve? What object will it achieve? It is only after these questions are addressed and one or the other conditions as enumerated above is satisfied, the power of arrest needs to be exercised. Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar and another, (2014) 8 SCC 273.
Section 2 (h) of the CRPC reads as under:
2.(h) “investigation” includes all the proceedings under this Code for the collection of evidence conducted by a police officer or by any person (other than a Magistrate) who is authorised by a Magistrate in this behalf;
Section 2(h) CrPC defines “investigation” and it includes all the proceedings under the Code for the collection of evidence conducted by a police officer or by any person (other than a Magistrate) who is authorised by a Magistrate in this behalf. It ends with the formation of the opinion as to whether on the material collected, there is a case to place the accused before a Magistrate for trial and if so, taking the necessary steps for the same by filing of a charge-sheet under Section 173. Union of India v. Prakash P. Hinduja .
A three Judge Bench in H.N. Rishbud v. State of Delhi , while dealing with investigation, has stated that under the Code, investigation consists generally of the following steps:
(a) Proceeding to the spot,
(b) Ascertainment of the facts and circumstances of the case,
(c) Discovery and arrest of the suspected offender,
(d) Collection of evidence relating to the commission of the offence which may consist of:
(i) The examination of various persons (including the accused) and the reduction of their statements into writing, if the officer thinks fit,
(ii) The search of places or seizure of things considered necessary for the investigation and to be produced at the trial, and
(e) Formation of the opinion as to whether on the material collected there is a case to place the accused before a Magistrate for trial and if so taking the necessary steps for the same by the filing of a chargesheet under Section 173.
In Adri Dharan Das v. State of W.B. , it has been opined that:
“arrest is a part of the process of investigation intended to secure several purposes. The accused may have to be questioned in detail regarding various facets of motive, preparation, commission and aftermath of the crime and connection of other persons, if any, in the crime.”
In Niranjan Singh v. State of U.P. , it has been laid down that investigation is not an inquiry or trial before the Court and that is why the Legislature did not contemplate any irregularity in investigation as of sufficient importance to vitiate or otherwise form any infirmity in the inquiry or trial. In S.N.Sharma v. Bipen Kumar Tiwari , it has been observed that the power of police to investigate is independent of any control by the Magistrate. In State of Bihar v. J.A.C. Saldanha , it has been observed that there is a clear cut and well demarcated sphere of activity in the field of crime detection and crime punishment and further investigation of an offence is the field exclusively reserved for the executive in the Police Department. Manubhai Ratilal Patel v. State of Gujarat and Others,(2013) 1 SCC 314.
The mere undertaking of a further investigation either by the investigating officer on his own or upon the directions of the superior police officer or pursuant to a direction by the Magistrate concerned to whom the report is forwarded does not mean that the report submitted under Section 173 (2) is abandoned or rejected. It is only that either the investigating agency or the court concerned is not completely satisfied with the material collected by the investigating agency and is of the opinion that possibly some more material is required to be collected in order to sustain the allegations of the commission of the offence indicated in the report. Vipul Shital Prasad Agarwal v. State of Gujarat and another, (2013) 1 SCC 197.