Introduction to the monitoring of investigation by a magistrate

Criminal investigation under the code of criminal procedure starts with receiving of information by the police. it is immaterial that information so received by police is by which source or otherwise police starts an investigation with the order of court u/s 156 (3) of code of criminal procedure.

the question of monitoring investigation of police is very serious because it is a popular belief that the court not interfere with the investigation of the police. but it is not true and such is a myth.

Information & Investigation

Under the code of criminal procedure, information of a cognizable offence can be given to the police by reporting the crime U/s 154, and furthermore court using the powers given under section 200 & 156 (3) gives orders to the police to start the investigation.

The investigation and the manner of investigation are grossly questioned many times, that it is biased or favoring or otherwise.

but, interestingly the code of criminal procedure is silent on the court’s role in criminal investigation.

Can A Magistrate monitor investigation

As earlier stated, the code is silent on this part, but then it is implied that under section 156(3) court is entering the shoes of investigating authority, let’s examine the relevant section-

Section 156 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973

156. Police officer’s power to investigate cognizable cases.
(1) Any officer in charge of a police station may, without the order of a Magistrate, investigate any cognizable case which a Court having jurisdiction over the local area within the limits of such station would have the power to inquire into or try under the provisions of Chapter XIII.
(2) No proceeding of a police officer in any such case shall at any stage be called in question on the ground that the case was one which such officer was not empowered under this section to investigate.
(3) Any Magistrate empowered under section 190 may order such an investigation as above- mentioned.
the code expressly states under section 156(3) that empowered magistrate can order an investigation above mentioned and impliedly gives powers to monitor criminal investigation directed by him.

What are the top court views-

The Supreme court of India and high courts are expressing its views that a magistrate can interfere with the police criminal investigation by using the doctrine of implied powers.

In Union of India vs. Prakash P. Hinduja and another 2003 (6) SCC 195 (vide para 13)

The apex court stated, it has been observed by this Court that a Magistrate cannot interfere with the investigation by the police. However, in our opinion, the ratio of this decision would only apply when a proper investigation is being done by the police. If the Magistrate on an application under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. is satisfied that proper investigation has not been done, or is not being done by the officer-in-charge of the concerned police station, he can certainly direct the officer in charge of the police station to make a proper investigation and can further monitor the same (though he should not himself investigate).

Sakiri Vasu v. State of UP, (2008) 2 SCC 409

The Court further inferred that there is no express power to the Magistrate regarding the monitoring of the investigation but under Section 156 CrPC, that implied power is there and the Magistrate is having whole sole authority to monitor the criminal investigation and in case of investigation is not going on in a proper or fair manner, the Magistrate is even having authority to interfere in the investigation.

Dr. Kuldeep Kaushik v. State Of U.P., 2016 SCC OnLine All 722

The High court of Judicature at Allahabad, also expressed the same views and stated in further stated that in case of improper and unfair investigation the magistrate is having ample powers to interface with the criminal investigation. The high court reached this conclusion by applying the doctrine of implied powers.


It is very clear that, that a magistrate empowered under section 190 of the criminal procedure can interface with the criminal investigation using the implied powers enshrined under section 156 (3) of criminal procedure code,  if the same is biased or improper.


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