Right to Fair Investigation is a Fundamental Right of an Accused

In Babubhai v. State of Gujarat, reported in (2010) 12 SCC 254, the Supreme Court has held that the right to fair investigation is a fundamental right of an accused under Article 21 of the Constitution of India in following words:

  • Not only fair trial but fair investigation is also part of constitutional rights guaranteed under Articles 20 and 21 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, investigation must be fair, transparent and judicious as it is the minimum requirement of rule of law.
  • The investigating agency cannot be permitted to conduct an investigation in a tainted and biased manner. Where non-interference of the court would ultimately result in failure of justice, the court must interfere.

See Also: Param Pal Singh Gandhi v. State of Bihar [Patna High Court, 28-10-2016]

In the above case, the Supreme Court considered various aspects of an investigation to be conducted under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and reiterated the law in following words:

  • The investigation into a criminal offence must be free from objectionable features or infirmities which may legitimately lead to a grievance on the part of the accused that investigation was unfair and carried out with an ulterior motive.
  • It is also the duty of the investigating officer to conduct the investigation avoiding any kind of mischief and harassment to any of the accused.
  • The investigating officer should be fair and conscious so as to rule out any possibility of fabrication of evidence and his impartial conduct must dispel any suspicion as to its genuineness.
  • The investigating officer “is not merely to bolster up a prosecution case with such evidence as may enable the court to record a conviction but to bring out the real unvarnished truth”.

The scheme of investigation, particularly, Section 173(8) CrPC provides for further investigation and not of reinvestigation. Therefore, if the court, comes to the conclusion that the investigation has been done in a manner with an object of helping a party, the court may direct for further investigation and ordinarily not for reinvestigation.

A charge-sheet is the outcome of an investigation. If the investigation has not been conducted fairly, such vitiated investigation cannot give rise to a valid charge-sheet. Such investigation would ultimately prove to be a precursor of miscarriage of criminal justice. In such a case the court would simply try to decipher the truth only on the basis of guess or conjectures as the whole truth would not come before it.

Case Laws on Investigation

  1. Jamuna Chaudhary v. State of Bihar, (1974) 3 SCC 774 : 1974 SCC (Cri) 250 : AIR 1974 SC 1822
  2. Kapur v. State of Punjab, AIR 1960 SC 866 : 1960 Cri LJ 1239
  3. Mahmood v. State of U.P., (1976) 1 SCC 542 : 1976 SCC (Cri) 72 : AIR 1976 SC 69
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