Safeguards Against Manipulations By Police

  • Prompt report and recording of FIR:Legislation was alive to the fact that in the investigatory process over zealous police officers are likely to resort to manipulations to make the case a success. Therefore, in order to safeguard the innocent persons from false implications, maneuverings, and manipulation by the police various statutory provisions have been made which though to not create any right in favour of accused yet have very important bearing on his rights. As already discussed, every information regarding commission of a cognizable offence is required to be given to the officer in charge of a police station and is required by him to be reduced into writing in the prescribed manner. The importance of prompt reporting and reasons for insistence thereon were pointed out by the Orissa High Court in Rathi Das Vs. State and it was observed that the delay in lodging the FIR quite often results in embellishment which is a creature of after thought and on account of delay the report not only gets bereft of the advantage of spontaneity but danger also creeps of the introduction of a coloured version, exaggerated account or concocted story as a result of deliberation and consultation. It was, thus held that essentially the delay in the lodging of the FIR should be satisfactorily explained. Where, for example, the incident of rape took place on the night intervening 20-21st August, 1972, FIR was lodged on 31st August, 1972, the delay in lodging the FIR was held to be immaterial on the explanation that as honour of the family was involved and its members had to decide whether to take the matter to the Court or not.

    After recording the FIR, the substance of such information is required to be recorded in Daily Diary which is a book maintained in every police station. All the events concerning police station are recorded therein. The purpose of maintenance of this register is to ensure that a particular event was reported at a particular time and to ensure the correct time of the event.

  • Sending copy of FIR to the Magistrate competent to take cognizance: After FIR has been recorded, officer in charge of a police station is required to forthwith send a copy of the FIR (called the Report) to the Magistrate competent to take cognizance of such offence.4 Every such report sent to the Magistrate is to be forwarded in the manner prescribed by the State Government. The purpose of sending the copy of FIR to the Magistrate is to ensure the correctness of the time of its recording and spontaneity of prosecution version.
  • Maintenance of Case Diaries by the Investigating Officers: One of the most important safeguards against manipulation and concoctions devised by law is maintenance of case diaries by the investigating officers in relation to the investigation conducted by them. Every police officer making an investigation under the provisions of the Code is bound, day by day, to enter his proceedings in the investigation in a diary setting forth the time at which the information reached him, the time at which he began and closed his investigation, the place or places visited by him and a statement of the circumstances ascertained by him though his investigation.5 Secondly, though under the Code the accused or his counsel is not entitled to call for such case diaries nor they are entitled to see them6 nevertheless criminal courts are entitled to send for the police diaries of the case under inquiry or trial and may use such diaries to aid it in such inquiry or trial.7 Every State Government has framed rules under the Police Act, 1861 providing for the procedure for maintenance and submission of case diaries by the investigating officers. In Delhi, under the Punjab Police Rules, 1934, every investigating officer is required to maintain and submit daily diaries during an investigation conducted by him. Such diaries are required to be recorded concisely and clearly, containing the steps taken by him, the circumstances ascertain through the investigation and other information required by S. 172 (1) of the Code.8 The detailed lists of stolen property, or of property seized in the course of a search, are required to be entered in the first case diary submitted after the fact relating to such property was reported to, or discovered by, the investigating officer.9 Investigating Officer is also required to note the fact in the case diary that copies of the record prepared under the provision of S. 165 and 166 of the Code, have been sent to the nearest Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of the offence.10 Case diaries are required to be submitted in the prescribed form. Secondly, each sheet is required to be numbered and stamped with the station stamp. Thirdly, two or more copies of such diaries by carbon coping process are required to be prepared by the officer conducting the investigation. Fourthly, he is required to enter in such diary a list of the statements recorded under S. 161 of the Code which are also required to be attached to such diary and the number of pages of each statement consists of.11Emphasising the importance of case diaries in criminal cases, Himachal Pradesh High Court12 took the view that investigating officers must scrupulously observe these rules and specially in cases relating to heinous offences need a close supervision by the Superintendent of Police so that an innocent person is not harassed by the investigating officers who are usually anxious to show successful investigation. It was pointed out that laxity in supervision in heinous cases give free hand to the investigating officers so that State Government should ensure scrupulous observance of Punjab Police Rules. In Shri Bhagwaan Singh Vs. Commissioner of Police, Delhi,13 the Supreme Court emphasised that entries in a police case diary should be made with promptness in sufficient details, mentioning all significant facts, in careful chronological order and with complete objectivity and not in a haphazard way to avoid discredit to those responsible for maintaining it so that it may not defeat the very purpose for which it is required to be maintained.
  • 1975 Cr. L. J. 1393 (Orissa). See also Garib Singh Vs. State, 1972 SCC (CR) 568.
  • Ram Jag Vs. State of UP, 1974 SCC (Cr) 370; A.N.Rao Vs. Public Prosecutor (1975), 4 SCC 106; Swarn Singh Vs. State of Punjab (1976) 4 SCC 106;
  • Harpal Singh and Ors Vs. State of UP, 1981 Cr. L. J. 1 SC.
  • S. 157 of the Code.
  • S. 172 (1) of the Code.
  • S. 172 (3).
  • S. 172 (2).
  • R. 25.53.
  • Rule 25.53 (3).
  • Rule 25.53 (4).
  • Rule 25.54.
  • Nagan Nath Vs. State of Himachal Pradesh, 1982, Cr. L. J. 2289 (H.P.).
  • 1982 Cr. L. J. 1081 (SC).