Difference Between Inquiry and Investigation

14-Jun-2024 (In Criminal Law)
What is the difference between Investigation and Inquiry under crpc ?
Answers (3)

Answer #1
242 votes

What is an Investigation?

In common dialect, “investigation” and “inquiry” are used as synonymous. Under the Criminal Procedure Code, Section 2 (h) the term “investigation” is to be conducted always by a police officer or any other authorized person other than a Magistrate, who is authorized by a Magistrate in his behalf. The object of investigation- It includes all the proceedings under the Code for the collection of evidence. It was observed by the court that etymologically, the meaning of term investigation is that which includes any process involving sifting of materials or search of any relevant data for the purpose of ascertaining facts in issue in a matter in hand. If investigating agencies conduct a mala fide investigation, then it is open to correction by invoking the jurisdiction of the High Court under Art 199 of the Constitution. Investigation of an offence consists of the following:

  1. Proceeding to the spot where the offence has been committed.

  2. Ascertain the facts and circumstances of the case.

  3. Discovery and arresting the suspected offender.

  4. Collecting evidence of the offence that may consist of:

  5. Examination of various persons (including accused) and reduction of his statement into writing, if it is deemed fit by the officer.

  6. The search and seizure are considered necessary for investigation and to produce before trial.

  7. Formation of the opinion as to whether on the materials collected, there is a case to place the accused before a Magistrate for trial, and if so, taking necessary steps for the same by the filing of a charge-sheet under Section 173.

When does the police investigate?
The police investigates upon receiving information from any person as to the commission of any cognizable offence. Even without any such information, if they have any reason to suspect the commission of any cognizable offence. On receiving an order from any Judicial Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of any offence under Section 190.

The investigating agency and the investigating officer have a high degree of responsibility and ethical rectitude to ensure that the investigations are carried out without any bias and are conducted in all fairness not only to the accused person but also to the victim of any crime, whether the victim is an individual or the state. It may be noted that a Magistrate is kept in the picture at all stages of the police investigation, but he is not authorized to interfere with the actual investigation or to direct the police on how the investigation is to be conducted.

What is Inquiry?

An “inquiry” under the Criminal Procedure Code, Section 2 (g), means every inquiry which is conducted by a Magistrate or Court and which is not a trial. The inquiry relates to the proceedings that are carried out by the Magistrate before a trial is done. The inquiry is never conducted by the police, though in common parlance we talk of police inquiries. The inquiry includes all the inquiries that are conducted under this code but it does not include the trials that are conducted by a Magistrate. Section 159 of CrPC empowers the Magistrate on a receipt of a police report under Section 157 of CrPC, any Magistrate subordinate to him, to hold a preliminary inquiry to ascertain whether an offence has been committed or otherwise to dispose of the case.
The object of inquiry is determination of truth or falsehood of certain allegations with a view to taking further action. An inquiry does not necessarily mean an inquiry into an offense for it may relate to matters which are not offenses. An inquiry in respect of an offense never ends in conviction or acquittal; at the most, it may result in discharge or commitment of the case to sessions.
If a warrant case instituted other than on a police report, the proceeding upon the framing of the charge is itself an inquiry. Every one of those procedures before a Magistrate preceding the confining of a charge which doesn’t bring about conviction is “inquiry”. An inquiry into an offence never finishes in conviction or quittance; at the most, it might bring about release or committal of the case for trial by a Magistrate/Sessions Judge.
The following are the types of inquiry:

  1. Judicial Inquiry

  2. Non-Judicial Inquiry

  3. Preliminary Inquiry

  4. Local Inquiry

  5. Inquiry into offence

  6. Inquiry relating to a matter other than offence.

Example- Where the inquiry relates to a matter other than the determination of guilt or innocence of any alleged offence, it is a mere inquiry. Inquiry for determining the liability to pay maintenance to the wife, child or parent under Section 125. Inquiry for deciding as to the liability to furnish a bond for keeping peace and for being good behavior under Sections 107, 108, 109, 110, etc.

What is the difference between Investigation and Inquiry?

Now, after taking a peep into the meaning of these two terms, let us move forward to understand the difference between investigation and inquiry:

  1. Investigation refers to the executive proceeding that involves systematic collection of the facts and evidence, and ascertainment of the circumstances of the case. On the contrary, Inquiry is a judicial proceeding, which is initiated with an aim of clearance of doubt, finding out the truth, or furtherance of knowledge regarding the case.

  2. In Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the definition of Investigation can be found in Section 2 (h), whereas Inquiry can be found in Section 2 (g).

  3. The investigation is performed by a Police Officer or any other person authorized by the Magistrate on this behalf, such as any governmental agency, for example, the Central Bureau of Investigation. Conversely, Inquiry is performed by the Magistrate or Court.

  4. Basically, Investigation and Inquiry are two separate stages of a criminal case, wherein investigation is regarded as the first stage in which the police officer on his own or after receiving the orders of the magistrate investigates the case. And when there is sufficient evidence to validate the commission of the offence, the police officer submits the report to the Magistrate. Thereafter, the second stage, which may be inquiry or trial.

  5. The primary objective of the investigation is to identify whether the alleged crime has been committed or not and if that is the case, then who committed the same and collect relevant evidence for the same. Oppositely, the prime objective of inquiry is to find out the truthfulness or falsehood of the allegations.

  6. Police start an investigation, as and when an FIR or complaint has been lodged, regarding the offence, whereas Inquiry is started by the Magistrate when the charge-sheet is filed by the police.

  7. The investigation comes to end when Police Report is filed. On the other hand, Inquiry takes place prior to the framing of charge, i.e. the point when charges are framed, the inquiry comes to end.

  8. An investigation is an administrative process, whereas an inquiry is a judicial process, in that during the course of proceeding evidence is taken on oath.

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Answer #2
894 votes
The difference between inquiry and investigation can be summed up as follows:

1. Investigation involves a methodical gathering of facts and evidence to determine the circumstances of a case - whether the alleged crime has been committed and, if so, who committed it, and gather relevant evidence. In contrast, Inquiry is a legal process that seeks to establish the truthfulness or falsity of specific allegations, with the intention of taking further action.

2. In the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, (CrPC) the definition of Investigation can be found in Section 2 (h), whereas Inquiry can be found in Section 2 (g).

3. The investigation is performed by a Police Officer or any other person authorized by the Magistrate on this behalf (as provided in Section 202 CrPC). On the other hand, Inquiry is performed by the Magistrate or Court under Section 159 (preliminary inquiry), Section 200 to 203 (inquiry upon cognizance of complaint), Section 125 to 128 (inquiry for determining the liability to pay maintenance to the wife, child or parent), Section 107, to 110 (inquiry into a liability to furnish a bond for keeping peace and for being good behaviour).

4. Investigation ends up in the filing of a Police Report (section 173) - which could be a chargesheet or cancellation report. An inquiry may end in dismissal of a complaint under Section 203, discharge of the accused (Section 227, 239) or farming of charge (Section 228, 240); it does not conclude with a conviction or acquittal (trial ends like that).

5. Investigation is an executive process, while Inquiry is a judicial process that involves taking evidence on oath during the proceedings.

6. Investigation and Inquiry are distinct stages of a criminal case. The investigation is considered the first stage, during which the police officer investigates the case either on their own or upon the orders of the magistrate. If sufficient evidence is found to support the commission of the offence, the police officer submits a police report to the magistrate under Section 173 of the CrPC. The second stage is either inquiry or trial. The inquiry and trial are mutually exclusive, meaning that the trial begins once the inquiry ends.

7. Once an FIR is filed regarding an offence, the police initiate an investigation, while an Inquiry is started by the Magistrate when he as per section 190 CrPC, takes cognizance upon a charge sheet filed by the police (under Section 173) or upon complaint filed by the complainant (under Section 200) or on its own motion upon information received from independent sources.
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Answer #3
729 votes
The object of investigation is to collect the evidence related to the case, whereas the object of inquiry is to determine the truth or falsity of certain facts related to the offence, in order to take a further step.
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