Question: The investigating officer has submitted a closure report in the Magistrate’s court. Can the court pass an order of further investigation after filing of the closure report? There is enough evidence against the accused. But they are very powerful and have the capacity to influence the investigation. Therefore, they did all those things necessary to frustrate the investigation. The investigating officer did not investigate the matter as per law. As many as sixteen investigating officers have changed during the investigation. The last one has filed the closure report stating that the complainant did not produce any credible evidence against the accused.
He has also stated in the closure report that we are not co-operating in the investigation. According to the closure report all the blames were laid upon us. We met the superintendent of police to do justice in our case. But he did nothing. The Magistrate has accepted the closure report and discharged the accused. He has also rejected our protest petition. There is indeed no justice at all. Therefore, we are looking forward to it. Please suggest can the high court ensure fair investigation? Can the High Court direct the further investigation after filing of closure report?
Question from: Rajasthan
The investigating officer has submitted the closure report because the informant has not supplied credible evidence against the accused. This type of closure report is improper, unjustified and erroneous. The investigating officer has committed error in preparation of closure report. A closure report must contain some reasons for closing the investigation. The very purpose of the investigation is to collect all evidence regarding the crime and arrest the accused.
The investigating officer must satisfy the court that after completing the investigating he did not find any criminating materials against the accused. Investigation must be just, fair and reasonable. It is the responsibility of the investigating officer to collect all the evidence pertaining to the crime. He should record the statements of witnesses, visit the place of occurrence etc. Thereafter, he should form an opinion, out of the collected evidence that no offence is made out against the accused.
This is the proper form of closure report. He should not seek evidence from the informant or victim of crime. If he did so, he has delegated his responsibility over the third party. Such a dereliction is illegal, unsustainable and perverse. This closure report is erroneous hence, you should approach the High Court under Article 226 of Constitution.
Court can direct further investigation after filing of closure report
Prima facie the closure report seems improper and perverse. Hence the High Court can quash this closure report even though the Magistrate has admitted it. The High Court can direct the investigating officer to conduct further investigation after the closure report has been admitted by the Magistrate.
In Manohar Lal Sharma vs. Principal Secretary and others AIR 2014 SC 666 the Supreme Court has held that in very exceptional cases, where the court finds that the investigating officer has exercised his power in breach of statutory provision, the court may intervene to protect the personal and property rights of the citizens.
Free and fair investigation is the fundamental rights of citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution. It is part and parcel of the personal liberty of citizens. The court has a constitutional obligation to ensure that the investigation has to be conducted in accordance with law.
Read also: What to do against improper investigation?
The police officer holds the responsibility to protect the life, liberty and property of citizens [Sakiri Vasu vs State of Uttar Pradesh (2008) 2 SCC 409]. Whenever the investigating officer is putting the rights of citizens in jeopardy through its illegal and improper use of the power or abusing its investigatory power the court interferes.
File a writ petition in the High Court
You should immediately file a writ petition in the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The court may direct the further investigation because the police have wrongly shifted the burden on the informant (you). Investigation is the exclusive domain of police officers.
The investigating officer (IO) cannot shift the burden of collecting evidence on the informant or victim. It is illegal and against the provisions of the code of criminal procedure. If the IO does not find any incriminating evidence against the accused he has to explain it explicitly in the closure report.
The investigating officer is working under pressure. He is trying to conceal a crime which is an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Taking undue favour and dereliction from performance of public duty is an offence under the PC Act.