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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sec.36 and sec. 173 of Cr.P.C. - Whether the station officer alone has got right to submit final report under sec.173 (2) but not other superior officers ? = STATE OF BIHAR & ANR. … APPELLANTS VERSUS LALU SINGH …RESPONDENT = Reported in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=40913

Sec.36 and sec. 173 of Cr.P.C. - Whether the station officer alone has got right to submit final report under sec.173 (2) but not other superior officers  ? Apex court held wrong and set aside this observation made by high court  and distinguished the  observation made by Apex court judgement M.C.Mehta  (Taj Corridor Scam) v. Union of India,(2007) 1 SCC 110.  that it is the officer-in-charge of the police station, who is competent  to  form  final  opinion. as there is a conflict to come to final conclusion between officer but not in this case =

The observations made read as follows:
             “I have no doubt in taking this view that under Section 36  of
             the Code of Criminal Procedure, the  higher  police  officials
             have got same powers as available to the officer-in-charge  of
             a police station under them but the power  is  available  only
             with respect to supervising the investigation or participating
             into the investigation to some extent but under section 173(2)
             of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the  final  view  over  the
             investigation of a case with regard to filing charge sheet  or
             final form has to be taken by the concerned  officer-in-charge
             only and he only has the authority to file the charge sheet in
             the case” =

 The case in  hand
is not one of those cases where the officer-in-charge of the police  station
had deputed the Inspector of C.I.D. to conduct some steps  necessary  during
the course of investigation. 
Rather, in the present case, the  investigation
itself was entrusted to  the  Inspector  of  C.I.D.  by  the  order  of  the
Director General of Police.  
In  such  circumstances,  in  our  opinion,  it
shall not be necessary for the officer-in-charge of the  police  station  to
submit the report under Section 173(2) of the Code.   
The  formation  of  an
opinion as to whether or not there is a case  to  forward  the  accused  for
trial shall always be with the officer-in-charge of the  police  station  or
the officers superior in rank to them, but in a  case  investigated  by  the
Inspector of C.I.D., all these powers have to be performed by the  Inspector
himself or the officer superior to him.  
In view of what we  have  discussed
above, the observations made by the High Court in the impugned  judgment  is
erroneous and deserve to be set aside.


        The High Court while coming to the aforesaid conclusion has greatly
been swayed by the observation of this Court in the case of  M.C.Mehta  (Taj
Corridor Scam) v. Union of India,(2007) 1 SCC 110.  
In that case  the  Court
was considering the  scope  of  Section  173(2)  of  the  Code  in  case  of
difference of opinion between the team of  investigating  officers  and  the
law officers on one hand  and  the  Director  of  Prosecution  of  the  same
investigating agency i.e. C.B.I., on the other hand, 
on the question  as  to
whether there exist adequate materials for  judicial  scrutiny  against  the
accused persons.  
In this background this Court held that it is the officer-
in-charge of the police station, who is competent  to  form  final  opinion.
In this connection, it has been observed as follows:

                 “31. As stated above, 
the formation of the opinion, whether
             or not there is a case to place the accused on  trial,  should
             be that of the officer in charge of  the  police  station  and
             none else. 
Under the CBI Manual, the officer in charge of  the
             police station  is  the  SP.  
In  this  connection,  we  quote
             hereinbelow the CBI Manual, which though not binding  on  this
             Court in Supreme Court monitored cases, nonetheless, the  said
             Manual throws light on the controversy in hand.”

        In the case in hand, there is no such controversy.   
The  case  was
transferred to the C.I.D. and it  was  entrusted  for  investigation  by an Inspector of C.I.D., 
who possesses a rank superior to  an officer-in-charge of the police station as per Rule 431(b)  extracted  above  and,  therefore, competent to form opinion in terms of Section 173(2) of  the  Code,  subject of course to the power of superior officer.


      In  the  result,  we  allow  this  appeal,  set  aside  the   impugned
observations, but without any order as to the costs.


                                                                 REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1883 OF 2013
(@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO. 7066 OF 2009)


STATE OF BIHAR & ANR.                        … APPELLANTS

                                   VERSUS

LALU SINGH                                    …RESPONDENT


                               J U D G M E N T


CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD, J.


        While dismissing  the  Writ  Petition,  the  High  Court  has  made
observations which have far reaching consequences and accordingly the  State
of Bihar, aggrieved by the same has preferred this Special  Leave  Petition.
The observations made read as follows:
             “I have no doubt in taking this view that under Section 36  of
             the Code of Criminal Procedure, the  higher  police  officials
             have got same powers as available to the officer-in-charge  of
             a police station under them but the power  is  available  only
             with respect to supervising the investigation or participating
             into the investigation to some extent but under section 173(2)
             of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the  final  view  over  the
             investigation of a case with regard to filing charge sheet  or
             final form has to be taken by the concerned  officer-in-charge
             only and he only has the authority to file the charge sheet in
             the case”


        While doing so, however, the High Court has not quashed the  report
submitted by the Inspector of the Criminal Investigation Department  of  the
State Government.


        It is the aforesaid observation, which is  the  subject  matter  of
this special leave petition.


        Leave granted.


        Facts lie in a narrow compass:
        On the basis of an oral statement made by  one  Shail  Kumari  Devi
before the officer-in-charge of  Marhaura  Police  Station,  Marhaura,  P.S.
Case No. 148 of 2004 was registered  under  Section  302/34  of  the  Indian
Penal Code and Section 27 of the Arms Act.   The  officer-in-charge  of  the
Police Station took up the investigation, but before he could  complete  the
same, and submit report in terms of Section 173  of  the  Code  of  Criminal
Procedure (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), the Director  General  of
Police  entrusted  the   investigation   to   the   Criminal   Investigation
Department,  (hereinafter  referred  to  as  “C.I.D.”)  and  the  task   for
conducting the investigation was assigned to an  Inspector.   The  Inspector
of  C.I.D.  conducted  the  investigation  and  submitted  the  charge-sheet
against the accused persons.  On consideration of the charge-sheet  and  the
materials collected during the course of investigation, the  Chief  Judicial
Magistrate, Saran took cognizance of the offence and directed  for  issuance
of process.  One of the accused, namely Lalu Singh, aggrieved by  the  same,
preferred writ petition before the High Court for quashing the  prosecution,
 inter alia, on the ground that under Section 173(2) of  the  Code  only  an
officer in-charge of a Police station has the  authority  to  do  that  and,
therefore, the charge-sheet submitted by the Inspector, C.I.D. is fit to  be
quashed.


        The High Court considered the aforesaid submission  and  though  it
declined to quash the charge-sheet, it made  the  observation  quoted  above
and held that it is the officer-in-charge only  who  can  file  the  charge-
sheet.


        We have heard Mr. Manish Kumar, learned Counsel for the  appellants
and Mr. Nagendra Rai, learned Senior Counsel for the respondent.


        Mr. Kumar contends that the Inspector of C.I.D. possesses the power
to submit report under Section 173(2) of the Code and the  observation  made
by the High Court is erroneous.  Mr.  Rai,  however,  submits  that  in  the
facts of the present case, the  High  court  was  justified  in  making  the
observations as quoted above.


        In view of the rival submissions, we deem it expedient  to  analyse
the scheme of the Code and the  provisions  of   the  Bihar  Police  Manual.
Section 173 of the Code contemplates submission of report on  completion  of
investigation.  Section 173(2)  of  the  Code  which  is  relevant  for  the
purpose reads as follows:
             “173 – Report of police officer on completion of investigation-




             (1)   xxx      xxx         xxx


             (2)(i) As soon as it is completed, the officer  in  charge  of
             the police station shall forward to a Magistrate empowered  to
             take cognizance of the offence on a police report, a report in
             the form prescribed by the State Government, 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,  if  so,
                 whether with or without sureties;


                 (g) whether he has been forwarded in custody under  section
                 170;


                 (h) whether the report of the medical  examination  of  the
                 woman has been attached where investigation relates  to  an
                 offence under section 376, 376A, 376B, 376C or 376D of  the
                 Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).


             (ii) The officer shall also communicate, in such manner as may
             be prescribed by the State Government,  the  action  taken  by
             him, to the person, if any, by whom the  information  relating
             to the commission of the offence was first given.


                       xxx         xxx        xxx”




        From a plain reading of the aforesaid provision, it is evident that
it is the officer-in-charge  of  a  police  station  who  is  authorized  to
forward report in the prescribed form to the Magistrate  empowered  to  take
cognizance.  Section 36 of  the  Code  deals  with  the  power  of  superior
officers of police with reference  to  the  officer-in-charge  of  a  police
station, same reads as follows:


             “36. Powers of superior officers of police.-  Police  officers
             superior in rank to an officer in charge of a  police  station
             may exercise the same powers, throughout  the  local  area  to
             which they are appointed, as may be exercised by such  officer
             within the limits of his station.”


        Therefore, under the scheme of the Code the power to submit  report
in terms of Section 173(2) of the Code is with the officer-in-charge of  the
police station. Further, in view of Section 36 of the Code, police  officers
superior in rank to an officer-in-charge of the  police  station  throughout
the local area have been conferred with the authority to exercise  the  same
power as that of officer-in-charge of police station. In the  present  case,
the investigation has been conducted by  Inspector  of  C.I.D.  and  he  had
submitted the report under Section  173(2)  of  the  Code.   Therefore,  the
question is as to whether the Inspector of C.I.D. can be treated in  law  as
the officer-in-charge of the police station for the  purpose  of  submitting
the report contemplated  under  Section  173(2)  of  the  Code.   The  State
Government, in exercise of the powers under Sections 7 and 12 of the  Police
Act, 1861, has framed the Bihar Police Manual.   Chapter  15  thereof  deals
with  the  constitution  and  functions  of   the   Criminal   Investigation
Department.  Rule 431, with which we are concerned in  the  present  appeal,
reads as follows:
                 “431.(a)  Sub-Inspectors  of  the  department  deputed   to
             districts have not the powers of an officer  in  charge  of  a
             police-station nor of the  subordinate  of  such  an  officer,
             unless they are posted to a police-station for the purpose  of
             exercising such powers.  It follows that unless so posted they
             have not the powers of investigation conferred by Chapter XII,
             Cr.P.C. and their functions are  confined  to  supervising  or
             advising the local officers concerned.  If for any  reason  it
             be deemed advisable that a  Sub-Inspector  of  the  department
             should conduct an investigation in person, the orders  of  the
             Inspector-General shall be taken to post  him  to  a  district
             where he shall be  appointed  by  the  Superintendent  to  the
             police-station concerned.  Such a necessity will not arise  in
             case of Inspectors of C.I.D. as given in sub-rule (b) below.


                 Sub-Inspectors of the department shall not be  employed  to
             conduct investigations in person unless such orders have  been
             obtained.


                 (b) Under  section  36,  Cr.P.C.  Inspectors  and  superior
             officers of the C.I.D. are superior in rank to an  officer  in
             charge of a police-station and as such may exercise  the  same
             powers throughout the State as may be exercised by an  officer
             in charge  of  a  police-station  within  the  limits  of  his
             station.”






        Rule 431(b) makes the  Inspectors  and  superior  officers  of  the C.I.D. superior in rank to an officer-in-charge  of  a  police  station  and they have been conferred with the same powers as  may  be  exercised  by  an officer-in-charge of a police  station.   
This  Rule,  therefore,  envisages
that an Inspector of C.I.D. can exercise the power of  an  officer-in-charge
of a police station.
Here, in the present  case,  as  stated  earlier,  the
investigation was conducted by the Inspector of C.I.D. and it is he who  had
submitted the report in terms of Section 173 of the Code.  
In view  of  what
we have observed above, the Inspector of C.I.D. can exercise  the  power  of
an officer-in-charge of a police  station  and  once  it  is  held  so,  its
natural corollary is that the Inspector of C.I.D.  is  competent  to  submit
the report as contemplated under Section 173 of the Code.
The case in  hand
is not one of those cases where the officer-in-charge of the police  station
had deputed the Inspector of C.I.D. to conduct some steps  necessary  during
the course of investigation. 
Rather, in the present case, the  investigation
itself was entrusted to  the  Inspector  of  C.I.D.  by  the  order  of  the
Director General of Police.
In  such  circumstances,  in  our  opinion,  it
shall not be necessary for the officer-in-charge of the  police  station  to
submit the report under Section 173(2) of the Code.   
The  formation  of  an
opinion as to whether or not there is a case  to  forward  the  accused  for
trial shall always be with the officer-in-charge of the  police  station  or
the officers superior in rank to them, but in a  case  investigated  by  the
Inspector of C.I.D., all these powers have to be performed by the  Inspector
himself or the officer superior to him.  
In view of what we  have  discussed
above, the observations made by the High Court in the impugned  judgment  is
erroneous and deserve to be set aside.


        The High Court while coming to the aforesaid conclusion has greatly
been swayed by the observation of this Court in the case of  M.C.Mehta  (Taj
Corridor Scam) v. Union of India,(2007) 1 SCC 110.  
In that case  the  Court
was considering the  scope  of  Section  173(2)  of  the  Code  in  case  of
difference of opinion between the team of  investigating  officers  and  the
law officers on one hand  and  the  Director  of  Prosecution  of  the  same
investigating agency i.e. C.B.I., on the other hand, 
on the question  as  to
whether there exist adequate materials for  judicial  scrutiny  against  the
accused persons.  
In this background this Court held that it is the officer-
in-charge of the police station, who is competent  to  form  final  opinion.
In this connection, it has been observed as follows:

                 “31. As stated above, 
the formation of the opinion, whether
             or not there is a case to place the accused on  trial,  should
             be that of the officer in charge of  the  police  station  and
             none else. 
Under the CBI Manual, the officer in charge of  the
             police station  is  the  SP.  
In  this  connection,  we  quote
             hereinbelow the CBI Manual, which though not binding  on  this
             Court in Supreme Court monitored cases, nonetheless, the  said
             Manual throws light on the controversy in hand.”




        In the case in hand, there is no such controversy.   
The  case  was
transferred to the C.I.D. and it  was  entrusted  for  investigation  by an Inspector of C.I.D., 
who possesses a rank superior to  an officer-in-charge of the police station as per Rule 431(b)  extracted  above  and,  therefore, competent to form opinion in terms of Section 173(2) of  the  Code,  subject of course to the power of superior officer.


      In  the  result,  we  allow  this  appeal,  set  aside  the   impugned
observations, but without any order as to the costs.


                                                 ……………………..………………………………..J.


                          (CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD)






                                    …….….……….………………………………..J.
                                        (JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR)


NEW DELHI,
OCTOBER 29, 2013
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