The Supreme Court has said that “ordinarily” the appellate court could not order re-investigation or fresh investigation into an offence and also there could not be two FIRs for the same incident.
“Unless an extraordinary case of gross abuse of power is made out by those in charge of the investigation, the court should be quite loathe to interfere with the investigation, a field of activity reserved for the police and the executive,” the court said.
The apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan, by their judgment of Aug 26 but made available Thursday, directed the Gujarat High Court to set up an independent probe team to investigate a case of clash between Bharwad and Koli Patel communities in which two people were killed and several policemen were injured.
The clash had taken place on July 7, 2008 in village Dhedol in Ahmedabad. The Gujarat police had filed two FIRs in the incident.
Ruling that the investigation was heavily loaded in favour of one community, the Gujarat High court by its Dec 22, 2009 order, while ordering the quashing of second FIR, had directed the clubbing of the investigation of quashed FIR with that of the first FIR.
The apex court judgment said that in case of a mala fide exercise of power by a police officer, the court “in exceptional circumstances” may interfere to prevent the miscarriage of criminal justice.
Referring to an earlier judgment, the court said that the investigating officer “is not to bolster up a prosecution case with such evidence as may enable the court to record conviction but to bring out the real unvarnished truth”.
The judgment held that there could not be two FIRs for the same incident. The court said that it was quite possible that more than one piece of information in respect of the same incident was available to the investigating officer. In such a case, he need not enter each piece of information in the diary.
The Court held that FIR sets the machinery of criminal law in motion and marks the commencement of the investigation and which ends with the formation of an opinion and forwarding of the police report.
The judgment said that if there are two FIRs, the court has examine the circumstances giving rise to both the FIRs and whether both the FIRs relate to the same incident or two or more parts of the same incident.
In such a situation, the second FIR was liable to be quashed, the judgment said.