In the Supreme Court of India Criminal Appellant Jurisdiction Criminal appeal no: 1685 of 2007 Appellant Sakiri Vasu Respondent State of U.P. and Ors. Decided On 7th December 2007 Bench Hon’ble Justice A.K. Mathur, Hon’ble Justice Markandey Katju
The provision of Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code is very wide. This one-line provision entitles the Magistrate with such incidental powers which are necessary for ensuring a proper investigation. The case of Sakiri Vasu vs. State of U.P. and Ors is of significant importance as it was in this case that the Supreme Court directed the flow of writ under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. towards the Magistrate thereby empowering him under Section 156(3) to direct the police in the case where the FIR is not registered or where no proper investigation is being carried out.
On 23rd August 2003, Mr. S. Ravishankar who was a Major in the Indian Army was found dead at the Mathura Railway station. After the investigation carried out by the Government of Railway Police (GRP Matura) It was stated that the cause of death was due to an accident or suicide.
Further two Courts of Inquiry were held by the Army officials wherein based on the statements of Mr. Pradeep Kumar (domestic servant) and eye-witness Roop Singh it was concluded that Major S. Ravishankar had committed suicide.
Aggrieved by the decision of the Court of Inquiry Mr. Sakiri Vasu [hereinafter referred to as the “Appellant”] who was the father of Major S. Ravishankar filed a writ petition in the Allahabad High Court alleging that his son was murdered as he discovered the rampant corruption happening in the Matura Unit of the army and thereby prayed that an investigation should be carried out by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on this matter.
However, the petition was dismissed rejecting the prayer. Dissatisfied with this the appellant by way of special leave applied before the Supreme Court.
Whether Magistrate can interfere in case of improper or unfair investigation.
Whether one can insist that investigation be carried out by a particular agency.
The Court taking in the view (para 8) of CBI and another vs. Rajesh Gandhi and another stated that any person aggrieved by any decision can only claim for proper investigation, he has no right to choose a particular agency for that investigation.
Considering the above condition the Court stated under Section 154 of Cr.P.C. if the police station is not registering FIR then a person by making an application in writing under Section 154(3) approaches the Superintendent of Police. Further, if a person is dissatisfied that the investigation carried is not proper then he under Section 156(3) can apply before the Magistrate. The Magistrate under Section 156(3) has powers to direct the police to register the FIR and can also monitor the investigation process.
The power provided by Section 156(3) is an independent power under which a magistrate can order re-opening of investigation even if the final report of investigation is submitted by the police. Therefore, Section 156(3) gives all such powers to the magistrate which are essential for ensuring proper execution of investigation.
The Court was of the opinion that one should not immediately rush to the High Court in case of grievance related to non-registration of FIR and/or improper investigation, rather, one must first rely on the alternative remedies provided under Section 154(3) and Section 36 of Cr.P.C. Even after this if a person is not satisfied then he may approach the Magistrate under Section 156(3).
Based on the observations mentioned above the Supreme Court held that High Court was justified in rejecting CBI investigation as there was no prima facie case calling for such investigation. As two investigations were carried out by the Army authorities along with the investigation made by G.R.P. at Mathura it was revealed that it was a suicide.
The Court further stated that it was unclear whether the report was accepted or not by the magistrate. If the report is not accepted and no order is passed by the magistrate he may do so by keeping in mind the above observations. However, if the report is already accepted then it’s the end of the matter.
Therefore, in the above case it was observed that the Supreme Court disencouraged the practice of filing writ petition directly in the High Court for non-registration of FIR and/or improper investigation. Its thereby proposed that if a person is aggrieved that his FIR is not being filed or the police is not doing proper investigation then such a person should first avail the alternative remedies mentioned under Section 154(3) and Section 156(3) rather than directly approaching the High Court.
CBI and Anr vs. Rajesh Gandhi and Anr (1997 Cr. L.J. 63)
Sakiri Vasu vs. State of U.P. and Ors. (Cr. Appeal no. 1685 of 2007)