Today, i.e. on 16th April 2019, The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in the matter of Bikash Ranjan Routv. State through the Secretary (Home), Government of NCT of Delhi, New Delhi , pronounced that the Magistrate can neither suo moto direct for further investigation under Section 173(8) of the CrPC nor direct the reinvestigation into a case at the postcognizance stage, more particularly when, in exercise of powers under Section 227 of the CrPC, the Magistrate discharges the accused.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:
(Para 7) After the investigation is concluded and the report is forwarded by the police to the Magistrate under Section 173(2)(i) of the CrPC, the learned Magistrate may either :
- accept the report and take cognizance of the offence and issue process, or
- may disagree with the report and drop the proceedings, or
- may direct further investigation under Section 156(3) and require the police to make a further report.
If the Magistrate disagrees with the report and drops the proceedings, the informant is required to be given an opportunity to submit the protest application and thereafter, after giving an opportunity to the informant, the Magistrate may take a further decision whether to drop the proceedings against the accused or not.
If the learned Magistrate accepts the objections, in that case, he may issue process and/or even frame the charges against the accused.
However, it is required to be noted that all the aforesaid is required to be done at the precognizance stage.
Once the learned Magistrate takes the cognizance and, considering the materials on record submitted along with the report forwarded by the police under Section 173(2)(i) of the CrPC, learned Magistrate in exercise of the powers under Section 227 of the CrPC discharges the accused, thereafter, it will not be open for the Magistrate to suo moto order for further investigation and direct the investigating officer to submit the report. (Para 7)
There is a distinction and/or difference between the precognizance stage and postcognizance stage and the powers to be exercised by the Magistrate for further investigation at the precognizance stage and postcognizance stage. The power to order further investigation which may be available to the Magistrate at the precognizance stage may not be available to the Magistrate at the postcognizance stage, more particularly, when the accused is discharged by him. (Para 7)
(Para 7) Once the order of discharge is passed, thereafter the Magistrate has no jurisdiction to suo moto direct the investigating officer for further investigation and submit the report. In such a situation, only two remedies are available:
- a revision application can be filed against the discharge or
- the Court has to wait till the stage of Section 319 of the CrPC.
The Magistrate cannot suo moto direct for further investigation under Section 173(8) of the CrPC or direct the reinvestigation into a case at the postcognizance stage, more particularly when, in exercise of powers under Section 227 of the CrPC, the Magistrate discharges the accused. (Para 7)
It is always open for the investigating officer to apply for further investigation, even after forwarding the report under subsection (2) of Section 173 and even after the discharge of the accused. However, the aforesaid shall be at the instance of the investigating officer/police officer-in-charge and the Magistrate has no jurisdiction to suo moto pass an order for further investigation/reinvestigation after he discharges the accused. (Para 7)
Copy of judgement: Judgement_16th-Apr-2019