Supreme Court: The bench of Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala*, JJ has held that there is no bar against conducting further investigation under Section 173(8) of the CrPC after the final report submitted under Section 173(2) of the CrPC has been accepted.
Holding that even after the final report is laid before the Magistrate and is accepted, it is permissible for the investigating agency to carry out further investigation in the case, the Court stated that prior to carrying out further investigation under Section 173(8) of the CrPC it is not necessary that the order accepting the final report should be reviewed, recalled or quashed.
On the issue as to whether the principle of double jeopardy would apply to further investigation, the Court explained that “further investigation” is merely a continuation of the earlier investigation, hence it cannot be said that the accused are being subjected to investigation twice over. Investigation also cannot be put at par with prosecution and punishment so as to fall within the ambit of Clause (2) of Article 20 of the Constitution.
It was also observed that there is nothing in the CrPC to suggest that the court is obliged to hear the accused while considering an application for further investigation under Section 173(8) of the CrPC.
On the issue that if further investigation is permitted after such a long lapse of time, it would result in delay in trial and that for years to come, the sword of Damocles should not be kept hanging on the neck of the accused persons, the Court observed that,
“The general rule of criminal justice is that “a crime never dies”. The principle is reflected in the well-known maxim nullum tempus aut locus occurrit regi (lapse of time is no bar to Crown in proceeding against offenders). It is settled law that the criminal offence is considered as a wrong against the State and the Society even though it has been committed against an individual. Normally, in serious offences, prosecution is launched by the State and a Court of law has no power to throw away prosecution solely on the ground of delay. Mere delay in approaching a Court of law would not by itself afford a ground for dismissing the case. Though it may be a relevant circumstance in reaching a final verdict.”
[CBI v. Hemendhra Reddy, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 515, decided on 28-04-2023]
*Judgment Authored by Justice JB Pardiwala
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For Petitioner(s): Jayant K Sud, A.S.G.; Praveena Gautam, Adv.; Suhasini Sen, Adv.; Saudamini Sharma, Adv.; Amit Sharma B, Adv.; Santosh Kumar, Adv.; P V Yogeswaran, Adv.; Arvind Kumar Sharma, AOR;
For Respondent(s): K. Suresh Babu, Adv.; C. K. Sasi, AOR; Abdulla Naseeh V T, Adv.; Meena K Poulose, Adv.; Navin Suresh, Adv.