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Report No. 152

3.21. Section 154: Information in cognizable cases.-

In order that the criminal process may be invoked in respect of any offence, two principal modes of approach are available under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. A person may report the matter to police if the offence is a cognizable one. In the alternative, he may make a complaint before the Magistrate, whether or not the offence is a cognizable one.

Section 154 of the Code deals with information given to the police in a cognizable case. The relevance of this section to the present Report is a general one, the section being applicable to all cognizable offences would include offences concerned with wrongful arrest or torture etc. by the police. The scheme of section 154 may be analysed, for convenience, as under:-

(a) The information given to an officer in charge of a police station shall be reduced in writing;

(b) It shall be signed by the person giving it and its substance shall be entered in the prescribed book;

(c) A copy of the recorded information shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant;

(d) If there is a refusal by the police to record the information, the person aggrieved may send the substance of the information by post to the Superintendent of Police concerned. If the latter of satisfied that the information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, he must either investigate the offence himself or direct a subordinate officer to do So.

It has been held that before the police starts investigation, there must be a reasonable suspicion of the commission of cognizable offence.1

1. Rita Wilson v. State Himachal Pradesh, 1992 Cr LJ 2400 (HP); Nina Devand v. Farida G. Devecha, 1991 Cr LJ 2694 (Karn).

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