SECTION 173 | REPORT OF POLICE OFFICER ON COMPLETION OF INVESTIGATION
Section 173 deals with the report of police officer on completion of investigation. This would be “final” or “last report” or “Completion Report” which should be submitted “as soon as” the police investigation is completed.
SCOPE OF SECTION 173
This section is applicable to both investigation of cognizable case as well as to non-cognizable case. Until filing of report, the investigation is said to be pending.
This section commands investigating authority to complete the investigation expeditiously without unnecessary delay and after completion, police report (in the form prescribed by state government) shall be forwarded to magistrate, who is empowered to take cognizance of offence. [ Sidhartha Vashisht v State (NCT of Delhi), AIR 2010 SC 2352 ] Magistrate cannot compel the police officer to submit the charge-sheet. [ Abhinandan Jha v. Dinesh Mishra, AIR 1968 SC 117]
Once the investigating agency completes their function of investigating into the offences it is the Court in which the charge-sheet is filed which is to deal with all matters relating to the trial of the accused including matters falling within the scope of section 173(8) of the Code.[ Narmada Bai v State of Gujarat, 2011 Cr LJ 2651 (2666)]
Police report under Section 173 contains facts and conclusions drawn by investigating officer. Magistrate is not bound by the conclusions drawn by investigating officer. In case final report is filed the court should scrutinize the final report and take a decision either to accept or reject it.[ Sampat Singh v. State of Haryana, (1993) 1SCC 561]
Once a charge-sheet is filed under section 173(2), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and either charge is framed or the accused are discharged, the Magistrate may, on the basis of a protest petition, take cognizance of the offence complained of or on the application made by the Investigating Authorities permit further investigation under section 173(8). The Magistrate cannot suo motu direct a further investigation under section 173(8), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or direct a re-investigation into a case on account of the bar of section 167(2) of the Code.[ Reeta Nag v State of WB, 2010 Cr LJ 2245 (2249) (SC)]
The Magistrate may decide to take cognizance and issue process even if police has recommended that there is no sufficient ground to proceed. If the Magistrate decides to drop the proceedings on filing of final report then he sends a notice to the informant. A protest petition can be filed by informant.[ Bhagwant Singh v.Commissioner of Police,(1985) 2 SCC 537]
The taking of cognizance by the court on basis of a police report is a judicial discretion, and when the complainant raises objection to the acceptance of police report, and if the court the overrules such objections, then it has to record the reason for the same. Else it would be aside[ Rupan Deol Bajaj v KPS Gill, AIR 1996 SC 309 ].
Once a Report under section 173(2) of the Code has been filed, it can only be cancelled, proceeded further or the case may be closed by the Court of competent jurisdiction and that too in accordance with law. Neither the Police nor a specialised investigating agency has any right to cancel the said Report.
Section 173 (1) provides that every investigation must be completed without unnecessary delay. Inordinate delay in submitting final report may lead to the grievance that investigation is carried on unfairly or with any ulterior motive.[ Kapur RP v State of Punjab, AIR 1960 SC 866 ]
Section 173 (1-A) (inserted by Cr. P.C. (Amendment) Act, 2008) provides that investigation in relation to rape of child may be completed within 2 months from the date on which First Information Report was recorded.
Section 173(2) provides that police report is forwarded to the Magistrate who is empowered to take cognizance of the offence, by the officer-in-charge of a police station.
A police report must state the following particulars: (1) Name of the parties (1) Nature of information (11) Names of the persons acquainted with the circumstances of the case. (iv) Whether any offence appears to have been committed and if so, by whom. (v) Whether the accused has been arrested. (vi) Whether the accused has been released on his bond & if so whether with or without sureties. (vii) Whether he has been forwarded in custody under Section 170 (viii) In case of offence under Section 376, 376-A-D of Indian Penal Code, whether medical report of the woman has been attached. The officer-in-charge of police station should also communicate the action taken by him to the person by whom the information was first given.
The Magistrate is competent to direct further investigation even after taking cognizance of offence on the basis of police report under section 173(2).[ Shaji Raghavan Pillai v State of Kerala, 2004 Cr LJ 187 (Ker)]
Where a superior police officer is appointed under Section 158 the report shall be submitted through that officer (if the State Government so directs) and pending the order of the Magistrate, such superior officer may direct the officer-in-charge of police station to make further investigation.
The magistrate should in all cases scrutinize the facts given in the final report carefully and read the police diary etc, and if it appears to him that there is scope for further investigation he may decline to accept the final report and direct the police to make further investigation under section 156(3) but he cannot impinge upon the jurisdiction of the police by compelling them to change their opinion and to submit a charge-sheet so as to accord with his opinion.[ Abhinandan Jha v Dinesh Mishra, AIR 1968 SC 117]
Section 173 (5) the police officer is under a duty to forward to Magistrate along with his report: (1) all documents and relevant extracts. (2) the statements recorded under Section 161. If police officer investigating the case finds in convenient to do so he may furnish to the accused copies of all any of the documents.
Section 173(8) permits further investigation by the investigation officer. Even without the order of Magistrate investigating officer is free to conduct further investigation. Such investigation can be con ducted even if police report is submitted under Section 173(2). Neither the prosecution nor the informant can claim as a matter of right a direction for further investigation.
Satish Kumar Nyalchand Shah v. State of Gujarat, AIR 2020 SC : The Supreme Court has reiterated that, court is not obliged to hear the accused before any direction for further investigation is made under Section 173(8) of the Code.
The submission of report under Section 173 (2) does not preclude further investigation under Section 173(8).[ Dinesh Dalmia v. CBI, (2007) 8 SCC 413]
Can a magistrate order investigation by any different agency like CBI?
In Chandra Babu v. State (2015) 8 SCC 774, it was held that superior courts have been empowered to order investigation by any other agency or can transfer investigation from one agency to another, but magistrate has no such powers.