The SC has held that a Magistrate cannot order further investigation after the cognizance has been taken, process has been issued and accused has entered appearance in response.
The SC bench further stated that though the investigating agency concerned has been given the power to undertake further investigation desirably after informing the Court, before which it had submitted its report and obtaining its approval but no such power is available to the Magistrate after cognizance has been taken on the said matter.
The court observed that post cognizance, neither the Magistrate himself nor on an application filed by the complainant, direct further investigation. Such a course would be open only on the request of the investigating agency and that too in circumstances where further investigation for detection of material evidence is required so as to secure fair investigation and trial.
The SC bench said that the investigating agency or officer alone has been authorized to conduct further investigation without limiting the stage of the proceedings relatable thereto.
The bench further while distinguishing the power of the Magistrate to order investigation under Section 202(1) of CrPC stated that, the direction for investigation by the Magistrate under Section 202, while dealing with a complaint, though is at post-cognizance stage, it is in the nature of an inquiry to derive satisfaction, as to whether the proceedings initiated ought to be furthered or not.
The decision taken by the SC clearly sets out the ambit of the power that can be exercised by a Magistrate in a matter before him once cognizance has been taken, process has been issued and the accused has entered appearance in court. This judgment shall further remind the Magistrates the extent of their powers and authority bestowed upon them by law.