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Recording statement u/s161crpc & notice u/s 41a crpc

(Querist) 30 September 2021 This query is : Open 
Respected Panelist,
Can defacto complainant take plea of shoddy investigation and asking for further investigation / private complaint in a situation as under:
Fact of Case in hand:
(a) IO has recorded statement of named accused after 400 days of registration of FIR before final report was forwarded to Magistrate after 600 days?
(b) IO issued notice u/s 41-A CrPC to some of the named accused after 400 days of registration of FIR when Apex court has mandated that notice u/s 41A CrPC should be issued within 15 days which can be extended on the orders of SP upon commencing of Investigation.

(1) Is there any guideline on time-table (within days/weeks) to record statement of named accused u/s 161 CrPC upon commencing of investigation?
(2) What would be termed as un-reasonable delay in recording statement u/s 161 CrPC?
(3) Is this a fit case for further investigation / private complaint when notice u/s 41A CrPC was issued after 400 days of FIR registration?

Looking forward for your valuable guidance.

K Rajasekharan (Expert) 30 September 2021
There is no time limit prescribed for recording of 161 statement but it should be done in the shortest time possible as the evidence will disappear as time passes by.

The inordinate delay of 400 days is an unreasonable time period.

If the investigation is shoddy, the Magistrate can issue necessary orders for proper investigation.

Further investigation is done only when some new details come into the picture. It is a matter to be decided mainly by the police even though the Magistrate has a power to trigger it by an order.

The victim has no much say in the investigation process. Even the court has only limited say, except when something goes wholly wrong in the investigation process.

Shubham Bhardwaj (Expert) 30 September 2021
Dear Sir,
I am in agreement with learned expert Sh Rajashekaran G. But I wish to write a few words of my own as below:-

1. As per judicial precedents, the investigation is to commence immediately after registration of FIR especially in cognizable and non-bailable offences. Thus, the statements u/s 161 Cr PC must be recorded in earliest possible opportunity to the IO.
2. Although there is no specific time period however there is one important factor i.e. kind of offence and the gravity of the offence. In your case, by whatever standard you see, the delay of 400 days is unreasonable.
3. In my opinion re-investigation would not be ordered until there is defective investigation. Delay in itself will not be sufficient to get an order of re-investigation. However it could be ordered if it is shown that there were evidence available which were not taken note of by the IO leading to gross miscarriage of justice.

Shubham Bhardwaj (Advocate)
District & Session Court, Chandigarh
Punjab & Haryana High Court, at Chandigarh

Disclaimer:- Opinion is only for guidance.

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