Prosecution Is Not Bar By Investigating Agency Under Section 195(1)(b)(i) CrPC For Offence Under Section193 IPC Committed During Investigation Stage
Case: Bhima Razu Prasad vs. State
Coram: Justices Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran
Case No: [S.L.P. (Criminal) No. 5102 of 2020]
Case Observation: “In case the bar under Section 195(1)(b)(i) is applied to offenses committed during the course of the investigation, the Court may think it fit to wait till the completion of a trial to evaluate whether a complaint should be made or not. Subsequently, the Court may be of the opinion that in the larger scheme of things the alleged fabrication of evidence during the investigation has not had any material impact on the trial, and decline to initiate prosecution for the same.
The investigation agency cannot be compelled to take a chance and wait for the trial court to form its opinion in each and every case. This may give the offender under Section 193, IPC sufficient time to fabricate more falsehoods to hide the original crime.
Further, irrespective of the potential impact that such false evidence may have on the opinion formed by the trial court, the investigating agency has a separate right to proceed against the accused for attempting to obstruct the fair and transparent probe into a criminal offense. Thus, we are of the view that it would be impracticable to insist upon lodging a written complaint by the Court under Section 195(1)(b)(i), CrPC in such a situation.
It must be clarified that the aforementioned opinion expressed by us is limited to factual situations such as the present case wherein the fabricated evidence has been detected prior to commencement of the trial, or without such trial having been initiated in the first place. The same may not apply for example, where the investigation agency on the basis of false evidence given by a third party happens to wrongfully implicate a person, other than the real perpetrator, for a particular offense.
Subsequently, the Court during the course of trial proceedings may take judicial notice of such defect in the investigation process and make a complaint under Section 195(1)(b)(i), CrPC. Since by this stage, the evidence has been produced before the Court and contains the potential for directly impacting the formation of the Court’s opinion on the innocence or guilt of the accused person, invoking the bar under Section 195(1)(b)(i) may not give rise to many difficulties.
However, at this juncture, we decline to make any conclusive findings on this aspect, as the facts of the present appeal do not require us to consider the same. It is left open to future Benches of this Court to settle this issue if it so arises before them.”
“It can be seen from the above discussion that this Court has, in some instances, opined that where the law deems proceedings before a certain authority to be “judicial proceedings”, the same would be considered as “proceedings in any court” under Section 195(1)(b)(i), CrPC.
Therefore, if the offense under Section 193, IPC is committed before such an authority, the written complaint of that authority is mandatorily required for the trial of the offense. However, the facts of the decisions in Lalji Haridas (supra), Babita Lila (supra), and Chandrapal Singh (supra), are clearly distinguishable from the present appeal as they all involve 1) False statements made on oath or in affidavits, 2) in a judicial proceeding and 3) before an authority which is expressly deemed under the law to be a “court”. None of the afore quoted cases were concerned with the fabrication of evidence before an investigating authority under a penal statute.”
“Neither was the fabricated evidence in the present case given on oath before the investigating officer nor is the investigating authority under the PC Act deemed to be a “court” for the purpose of Section 195(1) (b), CrPC. Hence, the decisions in Lalji Haridas (supra) and Chandrapal Singh (supra) will have no applicability to the present case.
Thus, it can be concluded that the investigation conducted by the Respondent under the PC Act cannot be equated with a proceeding in a court of law under Section 195(1) (b)(i), CrPC, though it is deemed to be a stage of a judicial proceeding under Section 193, IPC.”
Section 195(1)(b)(i), CrPC will not bar prosecution by the investigating agency for an offence punishable under Section 193, IPC, which is committed during the stage of the investigation. This is provided that the investigating agency has lodged a complaint or registered the case under Section 193, IPC prior to commencement of proceedings and production of such evidence before the trial court. In such circumstances, the same would not be considered an offence committed in, or in relation to, any proceeding in any Court for the purpose of Section 195(1)(b)(i), CrPC.