A division bench of the Apex Court held that, there is no authority for the magistrate to examine the complainant in a 156(3) CrPC proceeding since this is a pre-cognizance stage.
From Para 7,
7. In our opinion, the aforesaid direction given by the learned Single Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Suresh Kumar v. State of Haryana is contrary to law and cannot be approved. Chapter XII of the Code contains provisions relating to “information to the police and their powers to investigate”, whereas Chapter XV, which contains Section 202, deals with provisions relating to the steps which a Magistrate has to adopt while and after taking cognizance of any offence on a complaint. Provisions of the above two chapters deal with two different facets altogether, though there could be a common factor i.e complaint filed by a person. Section 156, falling within Chapter XII, deals with powers of the police officers to investigate cognizable offences. True, Section 202 which falls under Chapter XV, also refers to the power of a Magistrate to “direct an investigation by a police officer”. But the investigation envisaged in Section 202 is different from the investigation contemplated in section 156 of the code.
From Paras 8 and 9,
8. The investigation referred to therein is the same investigation, the various steps to be adopted for it have been elaborated in Chapter XII of the Code. Such investigation would start with making the entry in a book to be kept by the officer in charge of a police station, of the substance of the information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence. The investigation started thereafter can end up only with the report filed by the police as indicated in Section 173 of the Code. The investigation contemplated in that chapter can be commenced by the police even without the order of a Magistrate. But that does not mean that when a Magistrate orders an investigation under Section 156(3) it would be a different kind of investigation. Such investigation must also end up only with the report contemplated in Section 173 of the Code. But the significant point to be noticed is, when a Magistrate orders investigation under Chapter XII he does so before he takes cognizance of the offence.3
9. But a Magistrate need not order any such investigation if he proposes to take cognizance of the offence. Once he takes cognizance of the offence he has to follow the procedure envisaged in Chapter XV of the Code. A reading of Section 202(1) of the Code would convince that the investigation referred to therein is of a limited nature. The Magistrate can direct such an investigation to be made either by a police officer or by any other person. Such investigation is only for helping the Magistrate to decide whether or not there is sufficient ground for him to proceed further. This can be discerned from the culminating words in Section 202(1). This is because he has already taken cognizance of the offence disclosed in the complaint, and the domain of the case would thereafter vest with him.
And finally from Para 10,
Suresh Chand Jain Vs State of Madhya Pradesh and Anr on 10 Jan 2001
10. The position is thus clear. Any Judicial Magistrate, before taking cognizance of the offence, can order investigation under Section 156(3) of the Code. If he does so, he is not to examine the complainant on oath because he was not taking cognizance of any offence therein. For the purpose of enabling the police to start investigation it is open to the Magistrate to direct the police to register an FIR. There is nothing illegal in doing so. After all registration of an FIR involves only the process of entering the substance of the information relating to the commission of the cognizable offence in a book kept by the officer in charge of the police station as indicated in section 154 of the code. Even if a Magistrate does not say in so many words while directing investigation under Section 156(3) of the Code that an FIR should be registered, it is the duty of the officer in charge of the police station to register the FIR regarding the cognizable offence disclosed by the complaint because that police officer could take further steps contemplated in Chapter XII of the Code only thereafter.
Citations : [2001 ACR SC 1 586], [2001 AIR SC 571], [2001 ALD CRI 1 367], [2001 ALT CRI 1 284], [2001 CGLJ 1 451], [2001 GLH 1 594], [2001 JLJ SC 1 395], [2001 JT SC 2 81], [2001 KLT SC 1 623], [2001 OLR 1 470], [2001 RCR CRIMINAL 1 335], [2001 RLW SC 2 317], [2001 SCALE 1 93], [2001 SCC 2 628], [2001 SCR 1 257], [2001 UC 1 202], [2001 SCC CRI 377], [2001 CCR 1 54], , [2001 AIR SC 189], [2001 CRIMES SC 1 171], [2001 SUPREME 1 129], [2001 CLJ 3 78], [2001 SLT 1 364], [2001 SCJ 1 605], [2001 SRJ 2 100], [2001 JCC 1 78], [2001 CTC 1 500], [2001 AD SC 1 109], [2001 CRLJ SC 954], [2001 AIR SCW 189], [2001 ALLMR CRI SC 775], [2001 UJ SC 1 420]
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