Kerala High Court: Filing of Final Report Against One Accused Not Bar to Continue Investigation Against Other

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The Kerala H.C. ruled that the Police can file a Final Report against one accused and continue the investigation against others. The order said that the Police could not wait till the absconding accused is arrested.

Facts of the Case

In the instant matter, a father-son duo was the accused. The son was absconding, and hence the final report was filed against the 1st accused father alone. The trial court convicted him for charges u/s 323, 324 and 341 of I.P.C. Nevertheless, the Sessions court allowed the appeal and acquitted him of all charges.

The investigation against the 2nd accused, the son was still in progress. Meanwhile, the son approached the H.C. filing a petition u/s 482 CrPC. To quash all criminal proceedings against him.

Submissions by the Petitioner

The Petitioner Allayed Three Major Contentions:

1. Even though he was absconding, the Police ought to have arrayed him as an accused in the final report. The investigating officer (I.O.) failed to do so. The I.O.I.O. Cannot reserve his right to further investigate a crime after filing the final report.

2. Filing of the final report u/s 173 CrPC. Reflects the closing of the investigation. Thus, further investigation u/s. 173(8) CrPC. Would amount to reopening of the case. Such reopening is permissible only upon altogether new and fresh materials being discovered.

3. Due to the acquittal of the 1st accused in the appellate court, the prosecution has lost its substratum. Thus, the prosecution cannot proceed against the petitioner based on the same investigation.

Observations of the Court

The court, however, categorically disagreed with all the contentions raised by the petitioner. The court observed the following concerning the contentions raised:

Cases with Accused Absconding

1. In cases with more than one accused, some of the accused may be absconding. The I.O. is not expected to wait until they are also arrested for proceeding with further investigation. With the available evidence on record, he is at liberty to file a final report against the arrested accused.

Cases with More than one Accused

2. Where there are more than one accused, it is possible that investigation is complete against one accused. This may occur when it is in the embryo stage against the absconding/unnamed/untraced accused. In such situations, it is the mandate u/s: 173, Cr.P.C. to complete the investigation without delay. As soon as it is complete, the I.O. is expected to file a police report to the magistrate to take cognisance. The I.O. may later complete the investigation against the absconding/untraced accused. It is no way amounts to reopening the case about the accused against whom the Police had filed a report. Hence, the court disregarded the question concerning the reopening of the case.

Acquittal of Accused

3. The bar raised by the petitioner citing the court also rejected the acquittal of the 1st accused. The court stated that investigation in no means is complete against the petitioner. The Police is yet to file the final report against the petitioner. There is a possibility of further evidence being allayed against the petitioner. Hence, the absconding accused cannot take advantage of the acquittal of the 1st accused.


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