Proper Investigation Is Fare Judgment


“Mankind has shifted from the state of nature towards a civilized society.. award of punishment following conviction at a trial in a system wedded to rule of law is the outcome of cool deliberation in the court room after adequate hearing is afforded to the parties, accusations are brought against the accused, the prosecutor is given an opportunity of supporting the charge and the accused is equally given an opportunity of meeting the accusations by establishing his innocence. It is the outcome of cool deliberations and the screening of the material by the informed mind of the judge that leads to determination of the ills". [1] 

This observation made by Hon’ble Supreme Court is of outmost importance while appreciating the role of proper and effective investigation in delivering justice. As observed by the court in, it should not be forgotten that the duty of the investigating officers is not merely to bolster up a prosecution case with such evidence as may enable the court to record a conviction but to bring out the real unvarnished truth. [2] 

Thus it is evident that the manner in which police investigations are conducted is of critical importance to the functioning of the Criminal Justice System. Not only serious miscarriage of justice results if the collection of evidence is not properly or if there is any error or malpractice, but successful prosecution of the guilty depends on a thorough and careful search for truth and collection of evidence which is both admissible and probative. [3] 

In this search it is the duty of the police to investigate properly and thoroughly and collect all evidence, whether or for against the suspect. Protection of the society being the first responsibility of the police and the laws, procedures and police practices must be such as to ensure that the guilty person will be convicted for his crime and innocent will never be harassed. The concept of reasonable and fair trial would be one in which the accused as well as the victim or the aggrieved person gets justice. [4] 

This paper focuses on the proper investigation procedure which has to be followed in our Criminal System for ensuring effective and speedy justice to the victims. The structure of this paper is as follows. The first part deals with the Introduction part in which the sight or position of criminal justice system is being given. Part II defines “Investigation" which is being followed to collect evidence of the crime and gives a brief aspect about the Investigation. Part III deals with the importance of Investigation in our society and why a proper investigation procedure plays a important role in fare judgment. In Part IV different types of investigation are being defined separately and in detail. Part V examines the judicial trend on the area on defective investigation and looks at how the courts have been treating cases where the investigation has been faulty due to one or the other reasons. Part VI deals with all the factors which are leading to a faulty investigation or played a major part in the improper investigation procedure. Part VII this part deals with the various causes of defective investigation. This VIII part tells about that how an improper investigation is the main reason for an unfair judgment and acquittal of the criminal. Part IX is the conclusion part.

What is Investigation

An Investigation is an enquiry into the process and circumstances surrounding an allegation or incident. Loss/fraud investigations are allegations of impropriety resulting in a loss. These investigations are conducted to determine the extent of the fraud, the amount of loss, what control weaknesses existed and will recommend any corrective action. [5] 

“Investigation" includes search for material and facts in order to find out whether or not an offence has been committed by the accused or not. It includes all the proceedings under the Code of Criminal Procedure for the collection of evidence by the police officer or any person who is authorized by the magistrate. [6] 

Importance of Investigation

Investigation being the formal procedure of discovering of the facts and figures of the crime in hand is essentially important to find out what exactly constituted the crime. It covers up the whole process from the work of investigator to that of forensic expert.

Investigation includes many things some them are as such : (1) on the spot working of the investigating staff. (2) analyzing the evidences and circumstances of the crime spot. (3) arrest of the offender or the prime suspect of the crime. [7] Investigation in respect of offences under the Indian Penal Code should be in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Chapter 12 deals with the commencement of investigation and the steps required to be taken when information is received by the police. The main and prior objective of every investigation is to collect all the relevant material by the police in respect to commission of offences and on completion of investigation.

Types of Investigation

There are several types of investigations that become the part of the investigator routine and are in the investigation procedure. Some of them are as follows-:

Criminal Investigation-: Private Investigators work either for victim or for defendant or his attorney in criminal proceedings. Serious crimes, which may lead to arrest and conviction of a subject, are the source of cases for the legal/investigator.

Civil Investigation-: This belongs to anything involving law suits in which question of money or property must be settled. Violations of the law are normally not included. Divorce, bankruptcy, personal injury, negligence cases, and cases of various types are examples of civil cases that may request investigation.

Negligence Investigation-: This type of investigation is conducted either for the plaintiff’s attorney to prove liability or for the defendant's company or business to prove the absence of liability or absence of a permanent serious injury. This can be accomplished through the use of surveillance (often video or photo), locating and interviewing witnesses, or trying to establish that a pre-existing condition caused or was aggravated by the injury or that the defendant was at fault. A modest investigative fee often saves a client from a large monetary award.

Corporate Investigation-: An investigator may monitor what is going on in a business, investigate fraud within or outside the company, and provide diligence investigations or pre-employment screening.

General Investigation-: This category includes great variety of investigative activities. This included location of witnesses, missing persons, dishonest employees and fraud e.t.c. [8] 

Defective Investigation: Explanation & Causes

The things which are the main part of the investigation is the material that is being searched and the facts in order to find out whether or not an offence has been committed. In considering this search, it is the duty of the police to investigate fairly and thoroughly and collect all the evidence, whether they are for against the suspect. There are many reasons for defective investigation but if we notice some of the main reasons are problem faced from the stage of filing of F.I.R. to maintenance of case diary, the procedure of seizure of documents and things, delay in investigation and servicing in summons to witness. We say that there should be a reasonable and fair trial and the concept this would be one which the accused as well as the as the victim or the aggrieved person gets justice. [9] 

Defective investigation which is an impediment in terms of ensuring effective and speedy justice to victims. As it is mention in the Indian Constitution Article 21 [10] every person has a right to his life and liberty and his cases of defective investigation just because of the improper investigation the accused gets acquitted and innocent never gets justice which is the violation of his Fundamental Rights. And if we look at this problem just because of faulty investigation cases are pending in the court for many years because the reports are never submitted on time or the investigation is not completed which in result causes delay in justice delivery system and creates a problem for the people who are totally dependent on the courts for justice.

Factors Leading To Faulty Investigation

Recording of First Information Report-: Although the court has repeatedly pronounced that mere delay cannot be a ground to discard the prosecution story, however where extraordinary delay in lodging FIR is not satisfactorily explained, the FIR is always viewed by the court with suspicion. [11] The object of insisting upon prompt lodging of the FIR is to obtain early information regarding the circumstances in which the crime was committed as the delay is likely to cause a colored version. [12] There are also cases where FIR contains false accusation, it becomes unreliable evidence. Also, material omission in FIR affecting the prosecution case renders the FIR unacceptable. [13] 

Fabrication of Record and Partial Investigation-: Before accusing an innocent person of the commission of a grave crime, it is essential to conduct an honest, sincere and dispassionate investigation. In cases where grave offences are attributed to the police officials, the investigation must be done on the proper lines and all relevant evidence must be collected for which unbiased police officials must be deputed. [14] Also, in cases where complainant and the investigating officer is the same person, the court quashed the conviction. [15] 

Errors/Negligence in Collection of Evidence-: the omission to collect blood stained earth by investigating officer from the site casts a serious doubt on the place of incident. Also, the failure of the investigating agency in sending the firearms for comparison does have an adverse effect on the prosecution case though it does not completely throw out the prosecution case when the case is completely made out. [16] 

Backtracking by the Informant-: Where the investigating officer deposes that he inspected the place of occurrence in the presence of the informant, the informant identity the dead body and he prepared an inquest report, site plan and seized articles in the presence of the informant, but the informant denies that he was present along with the investigating officer on the spot at the time, then the court is usually inclined to believe that documents were prepared by the investigating officer sitting in his office and casts doubt on the investigation. [17] 

Belated Examination of Eye Witness-: In cases where the eye witnesses were examined a few days after the incident took place, does not by itself give rise to the inference that the presence of a witness was improbable and unnatural but does to a certain extent casts doubt on the investigation. Even in a murder case, mere delay in recording the statements of an eye witness is no fatal to the investigation. [18] 

Signing of Statement under Section 161-: The person giving the statement is not required to sign the statement as mandated by the section 161 of the Cr.P.C. [19] The failure to comply with this section might affect the weight to be attached to the evidence of the witnesses: it does not render it inadmissible. The court has held that merely because signature is obtained in a statement under section161, the evidence of the witness must not be treated as inadmissible. [20] 

Suspicious Nature of the Police Record-: If the police record made by the investigating officer becomes suspect or unreliable, on the ground that it was deliberately dishonest, it loses much of its value and the court while judging the case has to weigh the evidence more carefully and with greater doubt and might affect the prosecution case. [21] 

Leakage of Information Relating to Investigation-: It must be noted that police officers of various levels interact freely with the media and, at times, revealed certain information to the public follow up action is taken. [22] The ultimately disclosure of certain information can seriously damage the actions to be taken. All officers should be very careful while interacting with the media.

Inadequacy of Investigating Staff-: There exists a huge problem of inadequacy of the investigating staff. The police officers are hard pressed for time with multifarious commitments and, thus, not able to devote adequate time for investigational work. As a natural consequence, the quality of the investigation suffers which in turn increases the chances of acquittal.

Judicial Approach On Faulty Investigation

There has been a shift in the approach adopted by the courts in cases of faulty investigation or defective investigation. The Supreme Court has in various cases held that cases where faulty investigation is evident, it is required that they be dealt with sensitivity. As per the Supreme Court now, evidence is required to be appreciated having regard to the background of the entire case and not in isolation. The ground realities are to be kept in view. [23] Thus it should also be kept in mind that every defective investigation does not lead to acquittal. In defective investigation, the only requirement is of extra caution by the courts while evaluating evidence.

Moreover, defective investigation cannot be considered a cause disapproving the important evidence. [24] The Apex Court also stated in serious cases such as murder, a defective investigation itself cannot be a ground for acquittal. [25] The same approach has also been adopted by the court in cases where investigation was not fool-proof.

The Court in the famous case of Zahira Habibullah Sheikh v. State of Gujarat [26] stated the point that if “primacy is given to designed or negligent investigation, to the omission or lapses by the perfunctory investigation or omissions, the faith and the confidence of the people would be shaken not only in the law enforcing agency but also the administration of justice"

Thus, in the cases of a defective investigation, the court has to be circumspect in evaluating the evidence and may have to adopt an active and analytical role to ensure that truth is found by having recourse to Sec. 311 of Cr.P.C [27] or at a later stage also restoring to Sec. 391 of Cr.P.C [28] instead of giving baseless decisions.

Improper Investigation Leads to Unfair Judgment

As we all know that in any case investigation plays a major role because through investigation the court came into the position of understanding the situation and depth of the crime. Through proper investigation the real facts and evidences are being collected because of which court is able to give its decision and in result of which guilty is being convicted but if there is an improper investigation or there is any lack or delay in the investigating procedures which result in the loss of evidence or investigating team is not able to collect the sufficient evidence from the crime scene because of offender gets easily acquitted and crime rate remains the same in the society.


The aim of the investigation, in fact of the entire Criminal Justice System is to search for the truth. As a result the whole Criminal Justice System is based on the investigation system because if there is no proper investigation in criminal cases then the probability of acquittal of criminal and conviction of innocent will increase which in result would not be good for the society. Just because of the defect in investigation procedure the innocents never get justice and accused is being acquitted after committing the crime. Many suggestions have given to improve investigation procedure like that of separation of investigation wing from the law and order wing. This was the suggestion given by the Law Commission of India and has been discussed as an issue in their 154th report. Thus through this study I can well establish the fact that proper investigation is fare judgment.