Q:Do the police need prior permission of Court to conduct further investigation after charge sheet is filed?
A:The police registers the case and files chargesheet against the accused in the criminal case. The paramount power to investigate is granted by the Criminal Procedure Code on the police. The police may arrest and investigate any cognizable case without the order of Magistrate. The magistrate may also direct the police to investigate the matter on a complaint filed before him. The charge sheet is the final word in an investigation. There are certain limits prescribed in the code to submit the chargesheet in a time-bound manner to avoid delayed investigations. Generally the charge sheet ends the matter. But what if the police gets some more crucial points after the charge sheet is filed. Here comes the question of further investigation. Report of police officer on completion of investigation is dealt within Section 173 of the Code. 173(8) of the Code says that nothing will preclude a further investigation after a report has been forwarded to the magistrate. It goes on saying that if the officer in charge of the police station obtains further evidence, oral or documentary, he shall forward to the Magistrate a further report or reports regarding such evidence in the form prescribed. Thus there is express granting of power on the police to conduct further investigation if he obtains further evidence after submission of charge sheet. There is no statutory requirement for the police to obtain permission from the concerned court to conduct further investigation in the case. But the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India has held in the decision in Ram Lal Narang v. State (AlR 1979 SC 1791) that in the interest of independence of magistracy and Judiciary, in the interest of purity of administration of criminal justice, and in the interest of comity of various agencies and institutions entrusted with different stages of such administration, it would ordinarily be desirable that the police should inform the Court and seek formal permission to make further investigation when fresh facts come to light. Thus it is a sort of judicial proposition of law that the police should obtain a formal permission of the court to conduct further investigation even if there is no statutory requirement to do so. It was followed by the High Court of Kerala also. But of late the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in Rama Chaudhary v. State of Bihar[AIR 2009 SC 2308], the bench headed by Hon'ble Justices S.B.Sinha and P.Sadasivam opined that the law does not mandate taking of prior permission from Magistrate for carrying out a further investigation even after filing of report. It is a statutory right of Police. Thus we can conclude that there is no requirement of law for the police to obtain prior permission from the Magistrate for further investigation. But it can be said to be good to inform the Court about further investigation so that the Court can temporarily stop the proceedings.