Introduction of reports under the Criminal Procedure Code 1973: In criminal proceedings, various reports play pivotal roles in ensuring justice and maintaining order. Section 2(r) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) defines a crucial element, the ‘police report,’ particularly under Section 173(2). Additionally, the term ‘inquest report’ is significant in cases of unnatural deaths, aiming to establish facts for apprehending and punishing offenders.
Police report [173(2)]
Section 2(r) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) defines the term ‘police report,’ signifying a document forwarded by a police officer to a Magistrate under Section 173(2). The content and format of this report are dictated by the State Government, aligning with the particulars outlined in clauses (a) to (g) of sub-section (2) of Section 173. The police report, often referred to as the End Report, takes on the additional terminology of “charge-sheet” or “challan” when it involves an accused person’s alleged criminal activities.
The Magistrate lacks the authority to intervene in a judicial capacity until the received of the final police report under Section 173. As clarified in M.L. Sethi v. R.P. Kapur [AIR 1967 SC 528], there is no scope for the Magistrate to issue judicial orders concerning police investigations. However, a Magistrate, having disposed of a police report, retains the competence to review the decision and request the submission of a “charge-sheet.”
In instances where both the complainant and accused have filed complaints against each other, and no police report is presented in court with statements regarding the accused’s complaint, it has been deemed a disadvantage to the accused in presenting a proper defense. Consequently, the accused may be released. The police “charge-sheet” corresponds to the complaint filed by a private individual, initiating criminal proceedings. Upon the transmission of the charge sheet, the Magistrate enters the initial stage of investigation and evaluation based on the documentation provided by the police.
In a scenario where a Sub-Inspector of police, after investigating and examining ten witnesses, attributes the case to a “mistake of fact,” the Magistrate, upon accepting the report, issues a judicial order. This order declares that the case cannot be reopened by a Police Inspector through the filing of a charge-sheet after re-investigation for the same matter.
While the legal Code refrains from offering a direct definition, the term ‘inquest’ holds pivotal importance, denoting a quest for legal or judicial inquiry to establish factual information. As per Black’s Law Dictionary, an inquest involves an inquiry conducted by medical officers or, at times, with the assistance of a jury. This inquiry is directed into the circumstances surrounding the death of an individual, especially when it occurs under suspicious circumstances or within the confines of a prison.
Defining Inquest Reports: Addressed in Chapter XII of the legal Code, inquest reports play a central role in scrutinizing the causes of unnatural deaths. In situations involving unnatural deaths, a comprehensive examination of the circumstances becomes imperative. Recognizing that crimes against individuals are ultimately offenses against the State, it becomes the State’s duty to safeguard the health and lives of its citizens. In cases of unnatural deaths, the State assumes the responsibility to determine the cause of death and subsequently take necessary measures.
Objective of Inquest Reports: The primary objective of an inquest report is to establish factual information that can be instrumental in apprehending and penalizing the offender. By conducting a meticulous examination of the circumstances surrounding unnatural deaths, the State fulfills its duty to its citizens. Furthermore, it contributes to the broader goal of maintaining justice and ensuring the security of society.
Types of Police Reports
Police reports vary based on the incidents they document. Various types of police reports include:
An arrest report, commonly referred to as an arrest record, delineates the accusations or charges levied against an individual. After the apprehension of a suspect, typically carried out by a representative of the judge who authorized the arrest warrant, this report encompasses the victim’s allegations against the perpetrator. It incorporates all pertinent information regarding the suspected crime as outlined in the initial incident report. Fingerprint details may also be incorporated into the arrest reports, along with the bail amount if set by the presiding judge
When initiating a case through the filing of a police report, an investigative process may be undertaken by a police investigator or another designated officer. While the Right to Information Act (RTI) grants public access to certain police records, forensic reporting remains confidential to prevent interference with the prosecution of an accused suspect. External entities, including insurance companies and private investigators, have the autonomy to conduct their investigations. However, these inquiries are independent of police scrutiny.
In the context of traffic incidents, a police traffic report outlines the driver’s violation and the corresponding offense admitted by them. This report includes personal details such as the driver’s name, license number, tag number, and the model number of the vehicle involved.
Supplemental police reports
In circumstances where a police report requires modification, an officer has the authority to seek an additional report that incorporates new information by making updates or corrections. In the initial report, the reporting officer may inadvertently omit certain details or make typographical errors. For instance, in the event of a nighttime accident, photographs taken by the officer might not distinctly capture the accident’s details. To address this, supplementary pages are appended to the initial report, marked as original, with no alterations permitted to the initial documentation.
During police interviews with witnesses to traffic accidents or crimes, officers document statements provided by these witnesses. These witness accounts serve as additional information to complement the primary incident or injury report and are typically conducted using varying methods. The original witness report includes a sizable blank section on the witness form designed for documenting details about a traffic accident or injury. Frequently, witnesses may choose to pen down their accounts on a blank sheet of paper. In situations involving accidents or injuries, the creation of witness reports usually occurs after a subsequent interview with the victim.
Police officers and entities within the corporate business relationship sector are obligated to uphold administrative records, akin to their counterparts in non-police businesses. These records encompass various statistical details, including information on detentions, duties, budgetary allocations, and daily operations. In cases where a victim or any other member of the public seeks information under the Right to Information Act (RTI), such requests are documented within an administrative report. These reports are then provided by an official from the police department to fulfill transparency requirements.
Internal affairs reports
As part of the law enforcement department’s accountability measures, officers are frequently mandated to conduct inquiries into internal affairs, serving as a system of checks and balances. The outcomes of these inquiries are documented as complaints of misconduct within internal affairs reports. Each allegation results in one of four findings: sustained (indicating that the accusation is substantiated), unsustained (highlighting insufficient evidence to support or disprove the accusation), unfounded (denoting that the event did not transpire or lacked factual basis according to the investigation), or exonerated (acknowledging that the alleged incident did occur, but the officer’s actions were deemed reasonable and lawful).
This comprehensive exploration provides a nuanced understanding of legal reports, emphasizing their roles in criminal proceedings. From defining police reports and inquest reports to examining various types of police reports, this overview offers valuable insights into the intricate facets of the criminal justice system.
What is a ‘police report’ under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)?
In the CrPC, a ‘police report’ is defined in Section 2(r) as a document forwarded by a police officer to a Magistrate under Section 173(2). It includes particulars prescribed by the State Government and is commonly referred to as the End Report or, when involving an accused, as the “charge-sheet” or “challan.”
Can a Magistrate intervene in a police investigation before receiving the final report under Section 173 of the CrPC?
No, the Magistrate cannot interfere in a judicial capacity until receiving the final police report under Section 173. The judicial orders related to police investigations are prohibited until this stage, as established in M.L. Sethi v. R.P. Kapur [AIR 1967 SC 528].
What role does an inquest report play in cases of unnatural deaths?
An inquest report, covered under Chapter XII of the CrPC, seeks to establish facts related to unnatural deaths. It involves a judicial inquiry, often conducted by medical officers or a jury, to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the death. The State’s duty is to determine the cause of death and take necessary measures.