Can Magistrate order to investigate after the Chargsheet is filed?

Mar 15, 2021

The issue under the watchful eye of the court was whether after a charge sheet is recorded, the magistrate has the ability to arrange further examination and if indeed, up to what exactly phase of criminal proceeding.

After a thorough assessment of legal points of reference and legal arrangements of the Code of Criminal Procedure[hereinafter, "Code"], and setting a hefty dependence on the protected assurance of a 'fair, just and reasonable' trial, the bench held that the judge is so enabled. Otherwise, this will be deemed to deny the soul and the idea behind the code.

Vinubhai Haribhai Malaviya v State of Gujarat

Date - October 16, 2019
Judgement Name - Vinubhai Haribhai Malaviya Vs. State of Gujarat
Bench - Nariman, Surya Kant, V Ramasubramaniam

Issues framed -
Constitutional issue – There was no constitutional issue as such however the court considered A20(3) and A21 to be the facet of fair trial and Speedy trial, relied on Pooja Pal v UoI (2016)

Issues related to branch of law – Related to CrPC, S156(3), 173(8).

1. Whether after the chargesheet is filed by the police, the Magistrate has a power to order “further investigation” u/s 156(3) and 173(8) and if so then up to what stage of a criminal proceeding?

Which all judgements discussed – Hasanbhai Valibhai Quereshi (2004)

Which judgement overturned – Amruthbhani Shambubhai Patel, Athul rao, Bikash Ranjan Rout, Randhir Singh Rana, Reeta Nag v State of WB

Ratio of the case –
Decided on the doctrine of precedent
Investigative agencies applied and understood the principle
The power to order further investigation is available at all stages of the progress of a criminal case before the trial actually commences.
Power can be exercised suo-moto by the Magistrate, and he can order further investigation if fresh facts come to light u/s 173(6). Relied on Bhagwant Singh v Commr. Of Police (1985) 2 SCC 537

Trial – When the person is made aware of what charges or the case is against him and at this stage of framing of the charges that the court informs him of the same, the trial commences only on charges framed. So, trial does not commence on cognizance being taken.

Bhagwant Singh v Commr. Of Police (1985) 2 SCC 537 – Distinguishes between “further-investigation” and re-investigation

Superior court can order investigation de-novo
Magistrate power only to “further-investigation”
Magistrate no power to direct “re-investigation” or “fresh investigation” (de novo) in the case initiated on the basis of police report.
Vinubhai referred Hardeep Singh v State of Punjab (Constitutional Bench) which discussed power u/s 319 of CrPC with respect to A20 and A21 of the constitution.
CrPC does not say that the investigating officer needs to seek permission of the court to file supplementary charge sheet u/s 173(8). But it has been the practice that the police as well, seeks permission of the court to file the supplementary report. By this judgment the court applying the doctrine of precedent have made the above provision as law.

Important note
FIR (154(1) police station/ 154(3) SP office/ 156(3) Court or Magistrate)-> Investigation -> Police report (charge sheet 173(6)/ supplementary report 173(8) -> Cognizance taking S190/ Magistrate may accept police report or conduct enquiry on his own -> Issue of process S204-> Appearance -> Supply of police papers -> Framing of charges -> Trial