What is a CrPC inquiry?

Published On: 10th March, 2024

Authored By: Somitra Vardhan Dubey
DNLU (Dharmashashtra National Law University)

What is a CrPC inquiry?

According to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), any investigation carried out by a magistrate or the court is referred to as an “inquiry” if it is not a trial. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Section 2(g), gives the legal definition of “inquiry.” It is a crucial phase of the criminal justice system that comes after the investigation and before the trial

The magistrate and the Court themselves are responsible for conducting the investigation, as per the CrPC. This phase seeks to discover the truth about the case’s facts and fulfills the vital function of deciding whether the case may go to trial.

Inquiry under the CrPC usually begins at the outset of charge framing and sets the stage for the trial that follows.

The court emphasized in Alim & Ors vs. Taufiq And Anr. that an inquiry is the second stage of criminal investigations and that a magistrate, not a police officer, must oversee it. In criminal proceedings, it is critical to distinguish between an investigation and a trial.

Under the CrPC, the investigation ends when the trial begins, and the investigation’s conclusion need not result in the accused being found guilty or found not guilty. The inquiry’s goal is to facilitate the smooth progression of the legal processes by acting as a preamble to the trial phase.

The Goal of the Investigation Per the CrPC

Per the Code of Criminal Procedure, an inquiry serves a variety of purposes, including a comprehensive investigation of the circumstances and incidents related to a specific offense. It includes everyone who was a part of the incident and their perspectives on it or any related events. Essentially, an investigation under the CrPC is a fundamental component of the CrPC, and its main goal is to get important data that is necessary to determine if the alleged conduct is unlawful.

Every investigation carried out in accordance with the CrPC is an essential place to start since it offers information about the essential elements of the crime that was committed. The investigation’s primary function is to clarify whether the activities under investigation qualify as criminal activity. In the event that the offense is considered criminal, the investigation looks into the parties involved and sets the stage for the ensuing trial.

Inquiry types under the CrPC

The 1973 Code of Criminal Procedure lists six different categories of inquiries, each with a specialized function inside the judicial system:

Court Investigation

Under the CrPC, a judge nominated by the government opens judicial investigations into topics of public interest. The principal aim of the investigation is to examine legal matters that bear substantial public significance. This kind of investigation guarantees an unbiased and lawful analysis of issues affecting the general population.

Non-judgmental Investigation

It is also referred to as an administrative inquiry when it is an investigation that is not carried out with the intention of upholding the law. Non-judicial investigations are usually conducted to look into internal operations, administrative affairs, or problems that don’t directly involve the police. These investigations are frequently conducted in an administrative or organizational setting.

Initial Questionnaire

A preliminary inquiry per the CrPC is carried out in advance of a trial with the intention of ascertaining the criminal nature of the charged offense and determining whether a trial is required. This kind of investigation functions as a preliminary evaluation to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution. It guarantees that court cases are only filed when there’s a good reason to do so.

Local Research

It is governed by Section 148 of the CrPC and entails assigning a subordinate magistrate to carry out an investigation in a certain area. To obtain information unique to a given location, local queries are made. To guarantee a comprehensive investigation of the case’s local features, the magistrate has the authority to provide directives to the subordinate magistrate through the investigation.

CRPC Section 154: Police Officer’s Action in Recognizable Offences Procedure of Inquiry

Police personnel are authorized by the provisions of section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC) to look into and take action in situations containing cognizable offenses.

Notably, a magistrate’s order is necessary for a police inquiry into non-cognizable offenses. This clause clearly delineates the police’s authority in relation to the type of offense.

Section 157: Preliminary Inquiry Procedure under the CrPC

The CRPC’s Section 157 describes the preliminary inquiry process. Police are required to notify the local magistrate of any information they obtain regarding a crime that is punishable by law.

In order to provide an effective and prompt resolution, this guarantees that a magistrate, as the district’s authority, stays informed about criminal activity. In order to promote a just and equitable case disposition, the magistrate can oversee investigations, offer advice, and step in when needed.

How the Magistrate Is Sent the Report

The procedure for forwarding the police report to the magistrate is outlined in Section 158. This part states that the report is transmitted via a higher-ranking official that the State Government has designated.

This higher-ranking official has the power to give orders and guidelines to the commanding officers of the police, which guarantees a disciplined and well-organized line of communication between the courts and law enforcement.

Authority to Conduct an Examination or Initial Probe (Section 159)

Section 159 gives the court the authority to step in when the police, for specified reasons, declare that they will not continue the investigation or that there are no grounds for it. The responsible police force may be ordered by the court to launch a preliminary investigation or carry out a thorough one.

The investigation’s goal is to evaluate the evidence & legal considerations in order to decide if the case should go to trial. Under the CrPC, there are several different kinds of inquiries: preliminary, local, judicial, non-judicial, inquiry into offenses, and inquiry into subjects other than offenses. Each sort of inquiry has a specific function within the legal system. The investigation conducted in accordance with the CrPC is essential to determining the truth, directing the ensuing judicial actions, and guaranteeing a just and equitable conclusion.


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