What are the kind of reports submitted under chapter XII?

The term “report” has been defined to mean “To give an account of, to relate, to tell, to convey or disseminate information, communicate; deliver information; make an announcement; make known; speak about, specify. It is a formal oral or written presentation of facts or a recommendation for action.

The expression “police report” has been defined under the Code of Criminal Procedure as meaning a report forwarded by a Police Officer to a Magistrate under sub section (2) of Section 173. Simply stated, final report culminates the investigation process in a formal recommendation for action.

The report under Section 173 is a report on the results of the investigation made under Chapter XIV, which means an investigation made under Section 155 (2) or Section 156.

The ‘Police report’ which Section 173 contemplates cannot therefore be a report of a case in respect of which no investigation under Chapter XIV has taken place or is possible. Police Report has been interpreted to mean a police report within the meaning of Section 170.

There are three different kinds of reports to be made by police officers at three different stages of investigation.

(1) Section 157 requires a preliminary report from the officer in charge of a police station to the Magistrate.

(2) Section 168 requires reports from a subordinate police officer to the officer in charge of the station. These reports are known as forwarding reports.

(3) Section 173 requires a final report of the police officer as soon as investigation is completed to the Magistrate.

The report under Sub section (2) of Section 173 is called Completion Report also known as the Charge Sheet. Such a report is absolutely necessary. The police charge sheet corresponds to the complaint of a private individual on which criminal proceedings are initiated. When the charge sheet is sent, the preliminary stage of investigation and preparation is over.

The charge sheet is followed by the Final report. As the name suggests, the Final report refers to that document which records the conclusion arrived at by the Police after the investigation process. Final report is deemed to be final as it signifies the culmination of investigation.

What is the duration of investigation? Consequences if the investigation is not completed within the prescribed period or reasonable period?

Section 173(1) provides that every investigation under Chapter 12 of Cr.P.C shall be completed without unnecessary delay. As such no time is prescribed for the completion of the investigation. It is rightly so because in certain peculiar cases sometimes the witness may not be available, the FSL Report is not available or even the victim may not be in a position to give any statement. As such it would be extremely difficult if some particular span for completion of investigation is prescribed.

Section 167(2) provides that in case the investigation is not completed within the period of 60-90 days from the date of rest the accused gets a statutory right to bail. This pertinent to understand that Section 167(2) only talks about the right of an accused to default bail, but nowhere prescribes any cap for the completion of the investigation.

In 2009 Section 173(1A) was inserted which mandated that an investigation in relation to rape of a child “may” be completed within three months from the date on which information was recorded.

In the year 2018 the provision was amended to the fact that the investigation in relation to offences of rape under Section 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376DA, 376DB or 376E of the Indian Penal Code “shall” be completed within two months from the date on which the information was recorded by the officer in charge of the police station.

The amendment whereby a cap has been fixed for the completion of investigation in offences of rape, which is no more a discretion but is mandatory upon the investigating agency. The reason for bringing this amendment appears to be the increase in number of rape cases, and also the fact that after the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) where specific procedure and time duration for investigation was categorically mentioned the 2009 amendment lost its sheen. Moreover, after 2018 amendment now the time prescribed for the completion of an investigation in cases of rape of a woman of any age is fixed as two months. So even the case of minor fall within the purview of the amended 173(1A).

A similar provision appears in Section 167(5) which mandates that in cases triable by a Magistrate as a summon case if the investigation is not concluded within a period of six months from the date on which accused was arrested, the Magistrate shall make an order stopping further investigation into the offence unless the answer making the investigation satisfies for special reasons and in the interest of justice the continuation of investigation beyond that period.

Section 167(5) mentions that in case the police fails to complete the investigation within the pre[1]scribed period the accused may be released. The question that comes up will that be the same effect in case the police fails to complete the investigation in rape cases not within a period of two months? The answer is no. Had the legislature intended that consequence of non-completion of investigation in rape cases within two months shall be released of the accused then the amendment would have been provided under Section 167(5) instead of Section 173.

The purpose of bringing the amendment under Section 173 is to cast more responsibility on the investigating agency to complete the investigation at the earliest. In case the investigation is not completed within the prescribed period then the accused will not be released, rather this delay, if unjustified on part of the Investigating Officer would lead to departmental action against him. Thus, the purpose of the amendment under Section 173(1A) is to get the justice to the victim of rape at the earliest whereas the provision under Section 167(5) is a kind of right of accused.

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