This article has been written by Ms.Haya Khan, a student studying in B.A,LL.B from Amity University,Kolkata.The author is a 2nd year Law student.
WHAT IS A CHARGESHEET ?
A chargesheet is the final report issued by a police officer or investigating agency upon the conclusion of their investigation into a case, as specified in Section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The Supreme Court in the case of K Veeraswami vs Union of India & Others (1991) defined a chargesheet as a ‘final report’ of the police officer under section 173(2) of the CrPC.
A chargesheet charges suspects with the offenses listed in first information reports (FIRs), which are produced by police after FIRs are filed. Who among the accused has enough prima facie evidence against them to be tried after the chargesheet has been presented to a court of law. The judicial system starts the prosecution of the accused after the court issues its order on the setting of the accusations. If a chargesheet was not filed against the suspect within the required window of 60 to 90 days, the arrest is invalid, and the suspect is eligible for bail.A chargesheet is an evidence-filled document that is frequently used in court to support the charges brought against the defendant i.e it determines the person’s guilt.
Sections 169 and 170 refer to the satisfaction of the police officer undertaking the investigation. So, it would seem that the decision on whether to submit a final report or a charge sheet rests with the investigating officer or the officer in command of the police station.Accordingly, it would seem that the magistrate with the authority to take cognizance has no power to order the investigating officer to submit a charge-sheet when the investigating officer has submitted a final report, believing that the case has not been proven, and vice versa when the investigating officer submits a charge-sheet.
- Rabindra Nath Chakrabarty’s case,
The court pronounced that Firstly, the Police should be allowed to carry out their own functions and the Judiciary is incompetent to order the Police to submit a Report in a particular way and Secondly, the Magistrate had sufficient jurisdiction under the general provisions of the law to issue process if, after reading the Police diary, he is satisfied that there is a prima facie case against the accused.The Magistrate may ask the police to file a charge sheet if he has any obligations in relation to the police investigation. Respectfully, it will not be asking the Police to provide a Report in the manner the Magistrate prefers. If the Police have made a mistake and justice requires that the Magistrate correct it, there is no question of dictating or coercing them into producing a certain Report.A Magistrate takes over where the Police leave off, and no question of interference with the Police can emerge. It should be noted in this regard that the Code makes no distinction between a charge sheet and a Final Report. It specifies just one type of Report which is mentioned in section 173.
2.Youth Bar Association of India vs. Union of India
The Court held that the chargesheet is not a ‘public document’ and it should not be made publicly available. The court also further ruled that the charge sheet does not fall under the ambit of Sections 74 and 76 of the Evidence Act, 1872. This judgement only applied to FIRs and chargesheets were not included.The bench expressed concern that if chargesheets are made public, they will be misused.The court stated that Sections 74 and 76 of the Evidence Act, 1872 was misconceived.The Court further ruled that copies of the chargesheet and pertinent papers accompanying the chargesheet do not fall under Section 4(1)(b) of the RT.
WHAT SHOULD A CHARGESHEET CONTAIN?
Section 173 (2) (i) states all the necessary information Chargesheet Should Contain.They are as follow:
(I) Details of parties
(II) The nature of the information
(III) Information about the people who seem to be familiar with the case’s circumstances
(IV) Whether any offence appear to have been committed and if so then by whom
(V) whether the accused has been arrested
(VI) whether the accused has been released on his bond and if so then it should mention whether with or without sureties.
(VII) whether the accused has been forwarded in custody under section 170
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE BEFORE FILING A CHARGESHEET
Once a FIR is filed, the police are legally required to begin investigating the case. The investigative process includes, but is not limited to, gathering evidence, questioning witnesses, investigating the crime scene, forensic testing, and recording statements. If the culprits are discovered, the police will arrest them. After the inquiry is completed, the police will document their findings in a ‘Challan’ or Charge-sheet.If the charge sheet contains sufficient evidence, the matter is sent to court for trial. On the other hand, if the police believe that there is insufficient evidence or proof that a crime has been committed, they can close the case after proving their reasoning in court. If the police decide to close the case, they are required to notify the individual who filed the FIR. There is no statue/rule/guideline/manual in India that establishes the authority of the Investigation Officer (IO), who is revered as the god of investigation in our culture.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE AFTER FILING A CHARGESHEET
Upon the completion of the investigation, the concerned IO is required to file a charge sheet in court under Section 173 of the Cr.P.C. Based on the Charge Sheet, the court of competent jurisdiction is to be decided. The Sessions Court hears the most heinous and serious offenses, whereas the Magistrate Court hears the less serious offenses (as per chart contained in First Schedule of Cr.P.C). If, during an investigation or trial before a Magistrate, it appears to him at any point of the proceedings before signing the decision that the case should be heard by the Court of Sessions, he shall commit it to that Court of Sessions under Section 323 of the Cr.P.C.The application of one’s initial judicial thinking constitutes cognizance, and in some situations the consent of the proper authority is required. A charge sheet issued under the Essential Commodities Act of 1955 and the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988, for example, cannot be returned in the absence of such sanction.
It has to be noted that chargesheet does not have an abstract definition but it has been interpreted as A final report that does not fall under the ambit of a public document and is distinguished from an FIR.The whole provision of chargesheet falls under section 173 of Crpc and a police officer is in charge of preparing the chargesheet as and when required. It is often regarded as lists of offences summarised before the trials of the offender and it is framed in accordance with evidences and claims the accused of the guilt of the particular charges imposed on him/her.
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