July,8,2015: The Apex Court has held that a Magistrate does not have the jurisdiction to direct fresh/further investigation by another Agency other than the one which had originally investigated the Case.
Supreme Court was hearing a challenge to an order passed by the Madras High Court whereby it had set aside the order passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Nagercoil directing further investigation in exercise of power under Section 173(8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and also directing the investigation to be carried out by C.B.C.I.D.; on the foundation that in the obtaining fact situation there are no exceptional circumstances for ordering re-investigation.
The Apex court was confronted with the issue whether the Chief Judicial Magistrate could have directed a reinvestigation and whether it could have directed reinvestigation by another investigating agency. An agency different from the one which filed the charge sheet under Section 173 Cr.P.C.
Reiterating the legal position that a Magistrate can disagree with the police report and take cognizance u/s 190 CrPC and issue process and summons to the accused u/s 204 CrPC. SC ruled that the jurisdiction to ignore the opinion expressed by the investigating officer and independently apply his mind to the facts that have emerged from the investigation.
The SC however added that insofar as the Magistrate “basically directed for further investigation, he could not have directed another investigating agency to investigate as that would not be within the sphere of further investigation and, in any case, he does not have the jurisdiction to direct reinvestigation by another agency.”
The bench comprising of of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice V. Gopala Gowda therefore observed that “that part of the order deserves to be lancinated and accordingly it is directed that the investigating agency that had investigated shall carry on the further investigation and such investigation shall be supervised by the concerned Superintendent of Police”.
The Court further directed that “after the further investigation, the report shall be submitted before the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate who shall deal with the same in accordance with law.”
The Apex Court therefore set aside the order passed by the High Court to that extent but upheld the finding of the High Court that the Magistrate could not have allowed another agency to investigate.
Read the Full Text of the Judgment-