11 Case Laws on Powers of Magistrate
Case Laws on Powers of Magistrate
1. Lalita Kumari v. State of U.P., (2014) 2 SCC 1
The registration of First Information Report is mandatory in Cognizable offences and action will be taken against the police officer for his failure to register a First Information Report on the complaint of a cognizable offence.
2. State of Maharashtra v. Shashikant Shinde, 2013 All MR (Cri) 3060
When a petition or complaint is presented before the Magistrate, in which a request is made for taking action as mentioned in section 2(d) of the Code, the Magistrate is expected to apply his mind. The Magistrate has to ascertain as to whether the contentions made in the petition / complaint constitute any offence.
If they constitute some offence then the Magistrate is expected to take decision as to whether the matter needs to be referred to police for investigation as provided in section 156(3) of the Code or he needs to proceed further as provided in section 200 and subsequent sections of Chapter XV of the Code.
There is a discretion with the Magistrate in this regard. Though police officer is duty bound to register case on receiving information of cognizable offence, the Magistrate is not bound to refer the matter to police under section 156(3) of the Code.
3. State v. Bhajan Lal, AIR 1992 SC 604
The field of investigation of any cognizable offence is exclusively within the domain of the investigating agencies over which the Courts cannot have control so long as the investigation proceeds in compliance with the provisions relating to investigation.
4. CBI v. Rajesh Gandhi, 1997 Cr.L.J. 63
No one can insist that an offence be investigated by a particular agency.
5. Sakiri Vasu v. State of U.P., (2008) 2 SCC 409
If a person has a grievance that the police is not registering his first information report under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure then he can approach the Superintendent of Police under Section 154(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure by an application in writing.
Even if that does not yield any satisfactory result in the sense that either the first information report is still not registered, or that even after registering it no proper investigation is held, it is open to the aggrieved person to file an application under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, before the learned Magistrate concerned.
If such an application under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure is filed before the Magistrate, the Magistrate can direct the first information report to be registered and also can direct a proper investigation to be made, in a case where, according to the aggrieved person, no proper investigation was made.
6. Mohd. Yousuf v. Smt. Afaq Jahan, AIR 2006 SC 705
Any Judicial Magistrate, before taking cognizance of the offence, can order investigation under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. If he does so, he is not to examine the complainant on oath because he was not taking cognizance of any offence therein.
For the purpose of enabling the police to start investigation it is open to the Magistrate to direct the police to register the first information report. There is nothing illegal in doing so. After all registration of the first information report involves only the process of entering the substance of the information relating to the commission of the cognizable offence in a book kept by the officer in charge of the police station as indicated in Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Even if a Magistrate does not say in so many words while directing investigating under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure that a first information report should be registered, it is the duty of the officer in charge of the police station to register the first information report regarding the cognizable offence disclosed by the complaint.
7. Dilawar Singh v. State of Delhi, MANU/SC/ 3678/2007
The above view was taken by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
8. Legal Affairs vs. Abani Kumar Banerjee, AIR 1950 Calcutta 437
When the magistrate applies his mind not for the purpose of proceeding under the subsequent sections of this Chapter, but for taking action of some other kind, e.g. ordering investigation under section 156(3), or issuing a search warrant for the purpose of the investigation, he cannot be said to have taken cognizance of the offence.
9. S.K. Sinha, Chief Enforcement Officer v. Videocon International Ltd., (2008) 2 SCC 492
Expression “cognizance” has not been defined in the Code but the word is not found of indefinite import. It has no esoteric or mystic significance in criminal law. It merely means “become aware of and when used with reference to a Court or a Judge, it connotes “become aware of and when used with reference to a Court or a Judge, it connotes “to take notice of judicially”.
Taking cognizance does not involve any formal action of any kind. It occurs as soon as a Magistrate applies his mind to the suspected commission of an offence. Cognizance is taken prior to commencement of criminal proceedings. Taking of cognizance is thus a sine quo non or condition precedent for holding a valid trial. It is also settled that cognizance is taken of an offence and not of an offender.
10. Panchabhai v. State of Maharashtra, 2010 All M.R. (Cri.) 244
A petition under Section 156(3) cannot be strictly construed as a complaint in terms of Section 2(d) of the Code and absence of a specific or improperly worded prayer or lack of complete and definite details would not prove fatal to a petition under Section 156(3) of the Code, in so far as it states facts constituting ingredients of a cognizable offence. Such petition would be maintainable before the Magistrate”.
While dealing with the complaint, the Magistrate is not bound to direct investigation under Section 156(3) of the Code. He may direct the investigation under Section 156(3) of the Code or take the cognizance of the complaint. But it is not open to the Magistrate to take cognizance of the complaint as well as direct the investigation under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code.