Magistrate Can ‘Interfere’ If Investigation Is Improper, Unfair: Allahabad HC [Read Judgment]
Under Section 156 of the CrPC, a magistrate has whole sole authority to monitor the investigation and in case the investigation is not going on proper or in a fair manner, the magistrate has the authority to interfere in it, the court said.
The Allahabad High Court, in Dr. Kuldeep Kaushik vs. State of UP, has held that a magistrate has the authority to interfere in a case investigation if it is not going on in a proper or fair manner.
In the instant case, a magistrate had dismissed a surrender application filed by a doctor, accused of medical negligence, on the ground that any interference in the investigation cannot be done. In the surrender application, it was requested that various papers, along with surrender application, be sent to the Investigating Officer and after taking into consideration the papers, a report may be called for from the Investigating Officer.
After the magistrate rejected the surrender application, the accused approached the High Court.
Justice Abhai Kumar said: “The magistrate while passing the impugned order observed that the court cannot interfere in the investigation. The observation of the magistrate can be correct up to a certain extent, but what ‘interfere’ means is entirely dependent upon the facts and circumstances of the case.”
Referring to Sakiri Vasu Vs. State of U.P. and others, (2008) 2 SCC 409 and Lalita Kumari Vs. State of U.P. and others, (2014) 2 SCC 1, the court observed: “A special duty has been cast by the apex court upon the magistrate while monitoring the investigation. The doctrine of implied power is also applied by the apex court and it even asserted that Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has implied power to grant stay, although no such power expressly granted to it by the Income Tax Act. It can be inferred that there is no express power to the magistrate regarding the monitoring of the investigation but under Section 156 of the CrPC that implied power is there and magistrate is having whole sole authority to monitor the investigation and in case the investigation is not going on proper or in a fair manner, in that case, magistrate is even having authority to interfere in the investigation. This power, along with the observation, was made by the apex court in Lalita Kumari case. It can be said that more responsibility is cast upon the magistrate in the cases covered under the circumstances referred by the apex court. The Hon'ble apex court in Lalita Kumari case also observed that the circumstances mentioned by the court are not exhaustive and other matters may also be included in that, so the facts and circumstances of every case determines the case. A duty is cast upon the magistrate to look the matter on the merits of the case and, in case it is required, then proper direction may be issued in regard to investigation.”
The court further said: “This court is certainly of the view that magistrate is all empowered to monitor the investigation and, in case it is required, then proper direction may also be issued. If in view of the code, certain papers are being filed by the accused to be sent to the Investigating Officer, that right can very well be given to the accused, although the magistrate will refrain from expressing any opinion regarding the papers and further accused can also not claim that papers may be taken into consideration by the Investigating Officer and after taking all those papers, opinion should be found by the Investigating Officer and only then the wanting report be submitted.”
But regarding the facts of the case in consideration, the court observed: “Had the applicant tried to submit the papers before the Investigating Officer and had he refused for taking the papers into consideration, only then the right of accused could have accrued for praying the magistrate to direct the Investigating Officer for a proper investigation under Section 156 CrPC.”
Read the Judgment here.