This Court in M.C. Mehta Vs. Union of India (UOI) and Others, upon analysis of the relevant provisions of the Code held that after completion of the investigation if it appears to the investigating officer that there is no sufficient evidence, he may decide to release the suspected accused. If, it appears to him that there is sufficient evidence or reasonable ground to place the accused on trial, he has to take necessary steps u/s 170 of the Code. “In either case, on completion of the investigation he has to submit a report to the Magistrate u/s 173 of the Code in the prescribed form who is required to consider the report judicially for taking appropriate action (hereof” We do not propose to deal with the options available in law to the Magistrate and even to a victim or informant as the case may be.
39. The sum and substance of the above deliberation and analysis of the law cited leads us to an irresistible conclusion that the investigation of an offence is the field exclusively reserved for the police officers whose powers in that field are unfettered so long as the power to investigate into the cognizable offences is legitimately exercised in strict compliance with the provisions under Chapter XII of the Code. However, we may hasten to add that unfettered discretion does not mean any unaccountable or unlimited discretion and act according to one’s own choice. The power to investigate must be exercised strictly on the condition of which that power is granted by the Code itself.
40. In our view, the High Court in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction cannot change the investigating officer in the midstream and appoint any agency of its own choice to investigate into a crime on whatsoever basis and more particularly on the basis of complaints or anonymous petitions addressed to a named Judge. Such communications cannot be converted into suo motu proceedings for setting the law in motion. Neither are the accused nor the complainant or informant entitled to choose their own investigating agency to investigate a crime in which they may be interested.
41. It is altogether a different matter that the High Court in exercise of its power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India can always issue appropriate directions at the instance of an aggrieved person if the High Court is convinced that the power of investigation has been exercised by an investigating officer mala fide. That power is to be exercised in the rarest of the rare case where a clear case of abuse of power and noncompliance with the provisions falling under Chapter XII of the Code is clearly made out requiring the interference of the High Court. But even in such cases, the High Court cannot direct the police as to how the investigation is to be conducted but can always insist for the observance of process as provided for in the Code.
42. Even in cases where no action is taken by the police on the information given to them, the informant’s remedy lies under Sections 190, 200 Code of Criminal Procedure but a writ petition in such a case is not to be entertained. This Court in Gangadhar Janardan Mhatre Vs. State of Maharashtra and Others, decided the matter.
13. When the information is laid with the police, but no action in that behalf is taken, the complainant is given power u/s 190 read with Section 200 of the Code to lay the complaint before the Magistrate having jurisdiction to take cognizance of the offence and the Magistrate is required to enquire into the complaint as provided in Chapter XV of the Code. In case the Magistrate after recording evidence finds a prima facies case, instead of issuing process to the accused, he is under Chapter XII of the Code and to submit a report. If he finds that the complaint does not disclose any offence to take further action, he is empowered to dismiss the complaint u/s 203 of the Code. In case he finds that the complaint/evidence recorded prima facie discloses an offence, he is empowered to take cognizance of the offence and would issue process to the accused. These aspects have been highlighted by this Court in All India Institute of Medical Sciences Employees’ Union (Regd.) through its President Vs. Union of India (UOI) and Others, . It was specifically observed that a writ petition in such cases is not to be entertained.
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE Vs. STATE OF KERALA AND OTHERS [Decided on : 11-03-2008]