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What is the complete procedure being followed after happening of a crime?

What is the complete procedure being followed after happening of a crime?

The procedure being followed by the police and the criminal courts in India (particularly in Delhi), after an offence has been committed, is as follows: w Information or complaint regarding commission of an offence or offences is given to the Officer-in-charge of the police station (commonly referred to as Station House Officer or SHO, in short).

The said information or complaint is entered in the station/general diary by the police officer on duty and a FIR (First Information Report) is registered. w If on the basis of the FIR or otherwise, the SHO has reason to suspect the commission of a cognizable offence, he forthwith sends a report (occurrence report of the incident) to the concerned Judicial Magistrate (MM, in metros). (Generally, serious offences entailing punishment of 3 years or more are cognizable offences).

In reality, the copy of the FIR itself is sent to the MM. The purpose for forthwith sending the copy of FIR to the concerned Magistrate is to keep the concerned Magistrate informed of the investigation of a cognizable offence so that he may be able to control the investigation and if required, to issue appropriate directions. Sending the report to the MM at the earliest minimise the possibility of manipulating the FIR and it ensures that the FIR was recorded at the date and time mentioned therein. It further ensures fair investigation.

Unreasonable delay in sending the report to the MM weakens the prosecution case. (If the complaint/FIR does not disclose cognizable offence, then the police can not investigate the case without the order of the concerned Magistrate. In a non-cognizable case, the police just registers the complaint and refer the complainant to the concerned Magistrate). w The SHO or the Investigating Officer(IO) then under section 157(1) proceed to the scene of crime, make investigations and make efforts to arrest the offender.

The police is empowered to gather evidence to bring the culprit to book and for that purposes have the power to question the persons who are likely to have relevant information and the police also have the power of search and seizure. {If the FIR does not disclose any offence, no investigation is permitted and the investigation proceedings or court proceedings on the basis of such an FIR can be quashed by High Court under section 482 Cr.P.C.}.

During investigation, the police carries out arrest of the offender(s), search and seizure of relevant documents and things, call and interrogate and examine the witnesses and record their statements under section 161. {The statements under section 161 are not required to be signed by the witnesses.

Even if the witness is compelled to sign it, the same does not cause any harm since the same is not admissible in evidence and can be retracted in court} w If evidence against accused is not sufficient, then on his arrest, he may be released under section 169 on his executing a bond that he will appear if and when so required. If evidence against him is sufficient, he is forwarded by the police to the Metropolitan Magistrate. The Magistrate may either release him on bail, or send him to police custody (Police Remand), or send him to Judicial custody (jail).

Police officer conducting the investigation i.e. the I.O. is under a duty to enter his investigation proceedings day by day in the police diary under section 172. The investigation has to be conducted without unreasonable delay. w As soon as the investigation is completed, the police report under section 173, which is popularly called “Challan” or “Chargesheet”, is filed by the SHO in the court of concerned MM, if police is satisfied that there is prima facie case for proceeding against the accused.

Alongwith the chargesheet, the police also file all the documents and evidence that are gathered during investigation. w On receipt of the report under section 173, the MM is expected to apply his judicial mind to the chargesheet and documents and decide whether he should take cognizance or not. He is not bound by the police opinion in the matter. He is required to ascertain whether any prima facie case exists against the accused person. If in this opinion, it exists, he issues process (i.e. summons or warrant) against the accused thereby taking the cognizance of the offence. If he is not satisfied, he order for fresh/more investigation under section 156(3).

In certain cases, i.e. where the accused is a public servant and the offence is one committed by him in discharge of his official duties, the magistrate can not take cognizance unless prior sanction for prosecution is granted by the Govt. w The accused appears and the copies of the documents filed by the police including the chargesheet are supplied to the accused. In case, the offence is exclusively triable by the sessions court, the magistrate has to commit the case to the sessions court.

The accused through his counsel argues that no offence against him is made out and he is entitled to be discharged. Arguments are made by the accused’s counsel as well as by the prosecution on whether charge can be framed against the accused.

If after considering the chargesheet and the documents annexed with it, and after examining the accused and after hearing the arguments on charge, the Judge is of the opinion that the charge against the accused is groundless, he is obliged to discharge the accused (Section 239). [In a case instituted on a criminal complaint by private person, the Magistrate can discharge the accused at any previous stage also if he considers the charges against the accused to be groundless – section 245(2)] w If the Judge is of the opinion that there is a ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence, he shall frame charges against the accused.

The charge is read over to the accused and he is asked whether he pleads guilty of the offence charged or wants to contest the case. w If the accused pleads not guilty, then actual Trial of the case starts.

The Judge fix a date for examination of the witnesses. The Judge, on application of the prosecution, issue summons to the prosecution witnesses. On the date fixed, Judge take evidence produced in support of the prosecution. The accused cross- examine the prosecution witnesses.

Then the accused is examined under section 313. He then is asked to produce his evidence. The accused files his written statement and applies to the court for issue of summons to defence witnesses for examination and cross examination. Such witnesses then give their statement in court in favour of the accused, followed by their cross examination by the prosecution.

The Trial concludes and on the basis of the evidence led before the court by the prosecution and the defence, the accused is either acquitted or convicted by the court. w If the accused is convicted, he can file an appeal to the court of Addl.Sessions Judge (in a case adjudicated by Magistrate) within 30 days.

To ensure that he is not arrested and put in jail in pursuance of the judgment of the Magistrate, he has to move an application for bail and the judge is bound to extend his bail. The Addl. Sessions Judge hears the appeal. He may either allow or dismiss the appeal. w If the appeal is dismissed by the said sessions court, the accused is given 30 days to appeal to the High Court.

However, in this case, the accused cannot have his bail extended as a matter of right. The moment his appeal is dismissed, the police take him into custody. Immediately, the accused move an application for bail. It is in the discretion of the Court to either extend his bail or send him to the jail. In most cases, the Judge send him to jail. w The High Court hears the appeal of the accused. Alongwith the appeal, the accused can file an application under section 389 CrPC for suspension of his sentence and for releasing him on bail during the pendency of the appeal.

The High court may allow the said application, in which case, the accused is released from the jail pending the disposal of the appeal. w If the appeal is dismissed by the High Court also, then the accused can appeal to the Supreme Court

If the appeal is dismissed by the Supreme Court also, then the accused has no remedy except to undergo the sentence. However, the Supreme Court may release the accused on the sentence already undergone by the accused. But in such case, he is deemed to be convicted.

At any stage of a criminal proceeding in any court in India, the President (under article 72 of the Constitution of India) or the Governor of the concerned State (under Article 161) can invoke their power, either themselves or on the mercy petition of the accused/ convict, and can pardon him or reduce his sentence.

While exercising such power, the President and the Governor are not bound by any technicalities of law and they proceed purely on humanitarian basis without being influenced by the judgment of the Court. The Government also can exercise its power to suspend, remit or commute the sentence under Section 432-433 Cr.P.C.


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