Report No. 37
410. Sections 154 and 155.-
With reference to sections 154 and 155, it has been stated1 that a large number of complaints regarding the malpractices by police in recording the First Information Report were brought to the notice of the U.P. Police Commission, 1960-61, some of which are as under:-
(i) Non-recording of the First Information Report, i.e., "concealment".
(ii) Distorting of facts with a view to lessening the gravity of offence, i.e., "minimization".
(iii) Introduction of new facts and distortion of facts, in order to create evidence against the accused or for implicating innocent persons.
(iv) Demand of money or other consideration for recording or prompt recording of report.
The Police Commission appointed by the Government of U.P. recommended, that a new Reporting Centre under the direct supervision of the Superintendent of Police should be set up at district headquarters, in order to decrease "concealment", or "minimisation" or other defects. The U.P. Police Commission felt, that these defects could be reduced by the exercise of more intimate and closer supervision by Circle Officers.
The Superintendent of Police (it is stated) should personally see that complaints concerning the First Information Report are properly enquired into, and exemplary punishment given to wrong doers. The First Information Report should contain:-
(1) the name of the complainant;
(2) the nature of crime;
(3) approximate time of occurrence; and
(4) place of occurrence.
Immediately after the First Information Report has been recorded, the Investigating Officer should interrogate the complainant with regard to the motive of crime, names of witnesses etc. and the record of this information should be entered in the Case Diary. This change would, (in the opinion of the U.P. Police Commission) ensure a more impartial and better type of investigation.
1. F. 3(2)/55-L.C., Pt. VII, S. No. 464, Suggestion of the Government of Uttar Pradesh.
411. The Government of U.P., while forwarding these recommendations, has suggested that the amendment of sections 154 and 155 of the Code may be considered on an All India basis. The proposal of the State Government was brought to the notice of the Law Commission, for its consideration.
412. We have examined the proposed scheme, in the light of existing provisions. It appears to us, that it is possible to work the suggested scheme-at least the substance thereof-without amending section 154. The proposed "Reporting Centre" can be declared to be a "police-station";, and the Superintendent in charge thereof could be declared, the "officer in-charge" thereof.
413. Section 155(1).-
In section 155(1), after the word "Magistrate", the words "having power to try such case etc." should be added, as in the Punjab amendment.
414. Section 155(2).-
In section 155(2), no changes regarding the Magistrates empowered are necessary.
415. Section 155-Explantation (New).-
Under section 155, a question1 has arisen occasionally as to what should be the procedure followed by a police officer when a case involves not only a non-cognizable offence but one or more of cognizable offences as well. Sub-section (2) lays down an absolute prohibition against the police officer proceeding to investigate a non-cognizable 'case' without the order of a Magistrate. But the definition of a 'non-cognizable case' in section 4(1)(a) is co-extensive with the definition of a 'non-cognizable offence'.
Hence, the problem remains, notwithstanding the definition, as to what to do where the case is a composite one. It is somewhat anomalous that where a police officer starts investigation into a cognizable offence without a Magistrate's order he will have to run to the Magistrate for his order, in the course of the same investigation, if another minor offence which is not cognizable also appears to have been committed.
We, therefore, think that where the case is of this-nature and involves also one cognizable offence, it should not be treated as a non-cognizable case for the purpose of sub-section (2) of section 155.
While the Code was under our consideration, the position in this respect was clarified by a judgment of the Supreme Court. The amendment which, we are recommending,2 will codify the law now settled by the Supreme Court.3
1. Vadlamudi v. State, AIR 1961 AP 448; Ram v. State, AIR 1958 Punj 172.
2. Section 155, Explanation (as proposed).
3. Pravin Chandra v. State, AIR 1965 SC 1185.
416. Section 155(2) and cognizable offences.-
With reference to section 155, the following suggestion1 has been made by the Government of U.P.:
"The Uttar Pradesh Police Commission 1960-61 in para. 138 of their Report inter alia suggested that the State Government should have the power to declare certain types of non-cognizable offences as cognizable, when in any area the law and order situation exhibits a tendency to deteriorate. The State Government has accordingly suggested the amendment of section 155(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, on the following lines:-
"At the end of sub-section (2), the following proviso shall be added, viz.-
"Provided that the State Government may, by notification in the Gazette, direct in relation to any local area that any class of non-cognizable cases may, during such period as may be specified in the notification, be investigated without the order of a Magistrate.
As a consequential change, it was suggested that in sub-section (3) of section 155, for the words "any police officer receiving such order" the words "any police officer acting under sub-section (2)" should be substituted.
1. F. 3(2)/55-L.C., Pt. VII, S. No. 377.
417. Section 155.-
The relevant portion of the Report of the U.P. Police Commission (1960-1961), para. 138, is as follows:-
"We are of the opinion that the Station Officer is vested with too much of discretion. There are also complaints of abuse of the powers of the Station Officers with a view to earning illegal gratification. Besides, of late goondaism and rioting has been on the increase. The bullies beat up people, who do not carry out their wishes. We have reason to believe that the law and order position in some parts of the State, especially in the country-side,, has reached a perilous state. It has been common experience that multiplication of minor offences reduces respect for law and order and ultimately leads to bigger disturbances.
We would, therefore, recommend that whole the question of the discretion vested in the Station Officer should be carefully examined and that cases which are now not normally investigated, should be investigated. Thus, cases under sections 324, 325, 341, 344, 357, 457, cases of theft unless the value of property is less than Rs. 15 and of cheating unless it is a dispute of Civil nature, should be investigated.
"A proposal was made by Shri Shanti Prasad, now Inspector General of Police, that Government should have the power to declare certain type of non-cognizable offences as cognizable offences, when in any case the law and order situation exhibits a tendency to deteriorate. The Magistrates are already empowered to direct the police to take cognizance of any particular non-cognizable case. We think that this power is not enough, and there should be a general power with the State Government to declare certain kinds of non-cognizable offences as cognizable offences. We recommend that this matter may be fully examined."
418. We examined the suggestion. We felt, that it would be convenient to deal with the matter in a separate study, where the scheme of the Code as to cognisable offences can be examined.1
1. To be taken up for separate study.
419. Section 156.-
With reference to section 156, the power to order investigation in non-cognizable cases will be with Judicial Magistrates.1 But, since section 156 is to be read with section 155, no verbal change in section 156 is necessary on this point.
1. See discussion regarding 155.
420. Section 156(3) and suggestion as to particular police officer.-
It has been stated by the Markapur Bar Association, Andhra Pradesh1 that section 157(3) is ambiguous. The suggestion, further, says:-
"In cases where a particular police officer investigates and refers to the case and thereupon a complaint is preferred to any Magistrate, such magistrate may order investigation by the same police officer; or if a different police officer higher in rank is entrusted with the investigation, he may direct the very same police official to reinvestigate. Such instances having arisen, it is proposed that sub-section (3) of section 156 be suitably amended, to say-
"(3) Any Magistrate empowered under section 190 may order such investigation as above mentioned and may also order such investigation by such other police official, higher in rank."
Our view is, that since the suggestion refers to "complaints", the proper section for the purpose is section 202(1), which is elastic enough2 to empower the Magistrate to specify a police officer of higher rank.
1. F.3(2)/55-L.C., Pt. III, S. No. 50(0), (p. 218, correspondence).
2. To be noted under section 202.