Usually in case of cognizable offences, the investigation is initiated by the giving of information under section 154 to a police officer in charge of a police station. however, such FIR is not a indispensable requisite for the investigation of crime. Even without any FIR, if a police officer in charge of a police station has reason to suspect the commission of a cognizable offence, he can proceed to investigate the offence under section 157(1). The police, however, have no unfettered discretion to commence investigation under section 157. They can exercise the power of investigation only if the FIR or other relevant material prima facie discloses the commission of a cognizable offence. A magistrate under certain circumstances can also order a police officer in charge of a police station to investigate even a non-cognizable offence. These matters are contained in section 156.

Police officer’ s power to initiate investigate

When a police officer received the information either by means of an FIR or by some anonymous over a telephone, he in accordance with section 156(1) read with section 157(1) shall proceed to the crime scene, either in person or may depute his subordinate, to investigate the facts and circumstances of the case involving an offence of serious nature.  This can be done without the order of a magistrate. On completion of the investigation, the investigating officer, if he is satisfied that the evidence collected are sufficient to make a case against the accused, he then prepare and submit a charge sheet or a police report under section 173 before the magistrate. the Investigating officer, if he is satisfied that evidences collected are not sufficient to make a case, he then submit a closure report, stating grounds of his believe, before the magistrate under section 157(2) and a copy of that report is to be send forthwith to the informant.

Magistrate’s power to order the investigation

A magistrate may acknowledge the commission of an offence by either of the way mentioned under section 190 of CrPC as:

  1. by a complaint filed before him
  2. by a police report of such facts
  3. by receiving information received from any person other than a police officer, or upon his personal knowledge

If the complaint received by magistrate or the information of facts received by him revealed the commission of cognizable offence then the magistrate u/s 156(3) can directs the police officer to register the case and get the facts investigated. After completion of investigation the police officer then submits a police report, in this case the complaint filed before the magistrate serves the role of an FIR. But if the facts received constitute a non-cognizable offence then the magistrate cannot direct the police under section 156(3) before taking a cognizance of the matter. In such case, the magistrate would first perform a preliminary inquiry by examining witnesses and statement of informant u/s 200 of CrPC, then if he is satisfied that the case have sufficient ground to be proceed with he can issue a process u/s 204. However, if he is not satisfied that the statements and evidences before him are sufficient to make a case he can u/s 202 may directs the police officer or some other person on his behalf to investigate the matter for the purpose of deciding whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding.


Thus, the process of investigation may start after:

  1. FIR is given u/s 154
  2. the police officer has otherwise reason to suspect the commission of a cognizable offence [s 156(1) &  s 157(1)]
  3. a competent magistrate orders the police to investigate: (a) a non-cognizable case [s 155(2)]; (b) by sending a complaint to the police u/s 156(3) without taking cognizance of the offence on a complaint u/s 200; (c) after taking a cognizance of the offence on a criminal complaint for the purpose of deciding as to the issue of process against the accused [s 202(1) & s 203].


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