STATE OF KERALA Vs. MADHAVAN KUTTAN
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
STATE OF KERALA
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(1.)This is a reference made by the learned Sessions Judge of Trivandrum recommending that the order of the Sub Magistrate, Kattakada releasing from custody the respondent who was the second accused in a murder case be quashed. The grounds stated by the learned Magistrate for the action that he took was that the accused before him had been in detention for more than fifteen days without the charge sheet being submitted and that this cannot be done under S.167 Cr. P. C. The learned Magistrate was of the view that before the submission of the report by the police under S.173 Cr. P. C., he had no jurisdiction to remand the accused to judicial custody under S.344 Cr. P. C.
(2.)The view of the learned Magistrate does not appear to be correct. There are two sections in the Criminal Procedure Code which empower the Magistrate to grant time to the police in connection with the investigation of a case. Under S.61 of the Criminal Procedure Code no police officer shall detain in custody a person arrested without warrant for a longer period than under all the circumstances of the case is reasonable and such period shall not, in the absence of a special order of a Magistrate under S.167 exceed twenty four hours. If the investigation cannot be completed within that period the police must forward the accused to the nearest Magistrate under S.167(1) Cr. P. C. The Magistrate can then authorise his detention in such custody as he thinks fit for a term not exceeding fifteen days.
(3.)The legislature expects that ordinarily the investigation would be completed within fifteen days, but in grave crimes investigation may go beyond the fifteen days and the legislature could not have contemplated that the accused person must be released from custody after the fifteen days regardless of the nature of the accusation. S.344 Cr. P. C., refers to detention after fifteen days. The explanation to S.344 says that if sufficient evidence has been obtained to raise a suspicion that the accused might have committed an offence and it appears likely that further evidence may be obtained by a remand, the Magistrate can pass an order of remand. The explanation makes it clear that it relates to a stage where the offence is still under investigation by the police. No investigation can be held after the Magistrate has taken cognizance of the offence & the explanation must, therefore, necessarily refer to the circumstances existing before the taking of cognizance of the offence by the Magistrate. There is nothing to be done by the Magistrate after cognizance is taken on a police report and before the commencement of an enquiry or trial. So postponing commencement of an enquiry or trial may include postponing of taking cognizance of the offence.
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