What is a closure report?
A closure report under Section 169 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is a report which is submitted by the police or the investigating agencies to the Learned Magistrate or the concerned court stating that after the due investigation against the accused, no evidence or reasonable grounds for suspicion are found to connect him to the alleged crime. And if the accused is in custody, he shall be released on certain conditions like executing a bond, providing a surety, appearing before the magistrate if called, etc after filing of the report.
The report under Section 169 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is referred to as a ‘closure report’. The Magistrate, however, can direct the police to make further investigation. The scope of the power to direct further investigation when the police report states that there is no evidence to proceed further, and really there is no evidence in the case at all, whether it would be an order which can be justified or held valid needs examination.
What is the procedure in case the police file a closure report?
Section 173(2) ii provides that the officer shall communicate to the informant the action taken by him on his information. If the closure report is filed by the police then, the investigating officer shall serve the notice on the informant. In case the police files a charge sheet but the magistrate decides to not take cognizance then it is mandated upon the Magistrate to give the notice to the informant who may file a protest petition in the case.
Procedure after the filing of a closure report
Once the closure report is submitted before the Learned Magistrate, the Magistrate then goes through the report. After the Magistrate examines the closure report submitted by the investigating authorities, it is up to his discretion whether there are sufficient grounds to precede the matter further or not. The Magistrate has the power to decide whether an actual case is made out against the accused or not. If the Magistrate finds the report to be below par, he can order the authorities to file a new report.
After examining the report if the Magistrate thinks that no case is made out against the accused, he can release him. However, if the Magistrate feels that there is sufficient material to prosecute the accused, he can issue a process of proceedings under Section 204 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
Even if the closure report filed by the police states that no evidence is found against the accused, the Magistrate can reject the report if he is not satisfied. The Magistrate also has the right to take cognizance of the matter and call for further investigation in the matter under Section 173(8) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
Another point is that before concluding the matter, the Magistrate can issue a notice to the first informant of the case as he is the only one who can challenge the report and raise concerns against it. After giving him a reasonable opportunity to make his point, the Magistrate can take his arguments into account while deciding the matter.
Filing a closure report does not mean that no proceeding can take place against the accused in the future. It protects the accused of the time being since no evidence has been found against him.
However, if new discoveries are made and certain materials are found against the accused which connects him to the alleged crime, the police can file it as a report under Section 173(8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and can arrest the accused. A report under Section 173(8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. is also known as a supplementary charge sheet and it is used to file new and additional findings of an investigation.
What is a protest petition and what is the procedure for dealing with the same?
The term protest petition is not defined in Cr.PC but when the aggrieved person or the informant is not satisfied with the police report which is filed before the concerned court, the informant may move a petition against the negative police report which is called the protest petition and the same may sometimes be treated as complaint for the purpose of section 190.
Thus, when the final report is submitted by the police and the protest petition is filed, the magistrate has three options.
(a) firstly he may accept the final report and may reject the protest petition.
(b) secondly, he may accept the final report but treat the Protest Petition as a complaint and proceed in accordance with section 200 CrPC.
(c) thirdly, he may accept the Protest Petition and reject the final report and take the cognizance under section 190(1)(a).
The magistrate is thus not bound to accept the police report and may act according to his discretion. (Bhagwant Singh vs Commissioner of Police 1985 SC)