SECTION 176 | INQUIRY BY MAGISTRATE INTO CAUSE OF DEATH.
SCOPE OF SECTION 176
The nearest Magistrate empowered to hold inquests if in (i) if the case involves the suicide of woman within 7 years of marriage ; or (ii) the case relates to the death of a woman within seven years of her marriage in any circumstances raising a reasonable suspicion.
In any other case mentioned in S. 174, sub-s. (1), the Magistrate may hold an inquest either instead of, or in addition to, the investigation held by the police officer.
S.176(1-A) In custody of the police or in any other custody authorized by the Magistrate or the Court – if (a) any person dies or disappears, or (b) rape is alleged to have been committed on any woman. Then, in addition to the inquiry or investigation held by the police, an inquiry shall be held by the Judicial Magistrate or the Metropolitan Magistrate.
The Judicial Magistrate or the Metropolitan Magistrate or Executive Magistrate or police officer holding an inquiry or investigation, as the case may be, under this sub-section (1-A) shall, within twenty-four hours of the death of a person, forward the body with a view to its being examined to the nearest Civil Surgeon or other qualified medical person appointed in this behalf by the State Government, unless it is not possible to do so for reasons to be recorded in writing. [S.176(5)]
S.176(2) Magistrate can hold inquiry and record evidence and (Cl.4) should inform the relatives of the deceased and allow them to present at the inquiry.
S.176(3) Magistrate can order for examination of dead body to find cause of death and can cause the body to be disinterred and examined for this purpose.
INQUIRY UNDER SECTION 176(1-A) | KEY PRINCIPLES AS HELD Tmt R Kasthuri v State, 2015 (1) Mad LJ (Cr) 455 (Mad)
Any information relating to the death or disappearance of any person or rape of a woman while such person or woman was in the custody of the police or in any other custody authorized by a Magistrate or Court, shall be registered as a case under section154 of the Code.
Soon after the registration of the case, the Station House Officer shall forward the FIR to the jurisdictional Judicial Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrate.
The jurisdictional Magistrate shall thereafter hold an inquiry under section 176(1A) of the Code.
During such inquiry under section 176(1A) of the Code the Judicial Magistrate/Metropolitan Magistrate shall have power to record evidence on oath.
On completing the inquiry the Judicial Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrate shall draw a report and keep the statements of the witnesses, documents collected and the report drawn by him as part of case records.
The Judicial Magistrate/Metropolitan Magistrate shall furnish copies of the statements of the witnesses recorded during inquiry under section 176(1A) of the Code, the documents collected and the report drawn by him to the investigating police officer without delay.
The investigating police officer shall, without being hindered by the inquiry by the Judicial Magistrate/Metropolitan Magistrate, conduct investigation under chapter XII of the Code thoroughly and submit a final report to the jurisdictional Magistrate/Court under section 173 of the Code
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