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Analysis Of The Criminal Investigation System And Techniques

This research paper deals with the techniques and systems of the Investigation. It critically analyses the above and states all the loopholes present. Even though conditions are getting better day by day, people are not safe even today. Crimes are increasing daily at a considerable rate and our investigators are lagging behind because of the amount of time taken to solve a single case at hand. Even after the enactment of numerous provisions under the Constitution of Indian and also other laws, most of it remains unimplemented or not properly enforced.

The primary duty of police is to protect the life, liberty and property of the citizens. It protects the rights that criminal justice has constituted assigning important responsibilities to the police. The poor section of the society is the ones who are solely the victims of custodial crimes or police atrocities. They see police as agents of oppression and not as the symbol of protection. In addition, the system of lodging an FIR is completely flawed and requires instant changes.

The root cause of the failure to efficiently investigate a crime is basically the already existing crime and corruption among the investigators of crime and also the failure of the judiciary to give a fair verdict according to the facts and circumstances of the case. Such failures create a barrier in growth of the nation and therefore should be curbed. 

Police is a body of public servants who are vested with the duty to maintain public order, to identify and prevent crimes and to enforce the law. They embrace the whole system of internal regulation of the State. During the British reign, a Codified Act called the Police Act, 1861 was laid down. After this Act, there were various proposals for the enactment of the detective wing and therefore on the basis of various recommendations, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) came into existence to look into the criminal matters which required more technical expertise. CID was first established in Bengal on 1st April, 1906. The Crime Branch can take complicated cases like those of communal riots or some complicated murder cases which the Police can find difficult to handle along with their daily work.

The use of Forensic Sciences is also one of the most crucial parts in the investigation system. The use of science and technology in investigation is not a new concept in India. Our ancestors were not aware of the concept of forensic sciences but used scientific methods in their system of investigation. They were well aware of the concepts of handprints and also fingerprints which were even used as the signatures for illiterate people. 

Research Questions:
  • What are the various systems and techniques adopted in order to investigate crimes?
  • Are the adopted systems and techniques efficient enough to curb the crimes or to provide instantaneous justice to the victims?
Research Methodology:
  • Doctrinal method of research has been used for this research paper. I have referred to Secondary data, like books, articles, journals, newspaper articles, online databases (Manupatra, SCC online, and Jstor), online materials etc.
  • Primary Sources like case laws and statutes have also been referred to for the research paper.
Scope Of Study:
Crimes are increasing daily at a considerable rate and our investigators are lagging behind because of the amount of time taken to solve a single case at hand. Therefore, in this research paper, I have critically analyzed the various investigation systems and techniques in India. The research paper is basically aimed to analyze and have a clear understanding of the various investigation techniques and systems followed in India. 

The objectives behind this research paper were to study:
  • The process of lodging complaints in the police study
  • The failure of the police department in registering FIR.
  • To analyze the current failure of criminal justice system.
  • To study about the police misconduct.
  • The forensic tools available for investigation.
  • Criminal Analysis of the forensic tools of investigation.
  • Various loopholes in the justice delivery system of the criminal investigating system.

Crime Investigation And Techniques In India:

Role Of Police In Investigation:

The primary duty of police is to protect the life, liberty and property of the citizens. It protects the rights that criminal justice has constituted assigning important responsibilities to the police. Their main duty is investigation of offences and maintenance of law.  Investigation, here, involves the collection of all the evidences by a police officer or by any person authorized by the Magistrate on this behalf. 

Investigation is a primary procedure and is the preliminary stage that is performed by them usually after the First Information Report (FIR) of the commission of a crime.

The Supreme Court of India has laid down various parameters of the police investigation which are:
  • Investigation of the proceedings on the crime spot.
  • The facts and circumstances of the case.
  • The process of finding and arresting the suspected offenders.
  • Searching evidences.
  • Interrogation of various people.

After the accused is placed before the Magistrate, police has to prepare a charge-sheet as provided under Section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973. The police has the right to question anyone who can be acquainted with the case and it is the duty if every citizen to assist the police in their work. The police officers can write the answers which are given orally by the witnesses.

A police officer can even call a person in writing to appear as the witness if they have some knowledge of the crime which is being investigated. However, the person should be within the jurisdiction of that police officer or the adjoining police station. The witnesses then have to appear before the officer. However, a woman and child below 15 years of age cannot be required to go to any other place for investigation other than their own residence.

The Section 23 of the Police Act, 1861 provides for the various duties of police officers and states that it shall be the duty of every police officer to collect and communicate intelligence affecting the public nuisance, to detect and bring offender to justice and to apprehend all persons whom he is legally authorized to apprehend and for whose apprehension sufficient ground exists.

A police officer can take charge of a cognizable offence without the order of the Magistrate. In non-cognizable offences, the police cannot investigate without the order of the Magistrate. When the information of the commission of a cognizable offence is given orally by the informant, then it shall be reduced in writing under his direction and after being read over by the informant, should be signed by him. It shall then be entered in a prescribed book which si known as the Station Diary. 

First Information Report:

FIR is a written document prepared by the police as soon as they receive information about a cognizable offence by the victim or someone on the victim's behalf. It is basically the information which the police receives first of the offence committed. Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides the procedure for filing the FIR. It is the right of the person informing about the cognizable offence to demand the written complaint being read over to him.

Many times, we come across news stating about police refusing to lodge an FIR unless they are forced by the media or some political authority. It has also been noticed that police not only refuses to lodge FIR but also discourages people to lodge an FIR. However, no strict departmental action has been taken against in such situations. It is pretty harassing for the victim and his or her family as they are already suffering and above that the police do not accept to lodge their FIR.

In cases where the police have refused to lodge an FIR, the victim can send the complaint to Deputy Commissioner of Police who has a jurisdiction over that police station through registered post as provided under the Criminal Procedure Code. According to the provision under Section 154(III), the DCP is under the duty to register the complaint if the crime is disclosed. If he fails too, the complaint can be filed before the Metropolitan Magistrate as provided under Section 190 of the CrPC provisions.

The system of lodging an FIR is completely flawed and requires instant changes. Some of the changes could be that lodging of Fir should be made accessible online as well in order to be easier for the public. Strict actions should be taken against the police officers who refuse to lodge FIR unnecessarily. There should be strict provisions made on changing details of FIR. It should not be allowed under general circumstances specially the date, time and place. Necessary actions should be taken immediately once the FIR is lodged. 

Police Misconduct:

Police is the law enforcement agency whose fundamental duty is to serve mankind and safeguard peoples live and property, to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, peaceful against violence and disorder and to respect constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice. Custodial Death has become a common phenomenon. Accused are beaten and starved during their investigation process in the police custody.

There is a huge gap between the crime rate and the actions taken by the police and also the FIR's are lodged very late by the police officers which delays justice to the victim. They usually go for third degree torture for the accused even in cases where it is not that required which is torture to the accused. Police officers are usually seen taking advantage of their power while discharging their official duties. They indulge in various unscrupulous activities.

These inappropriate actions or the faulty use of their power can be termed as police misconduct. It leads to an obstruction in the justice system of the country. The middle and the elite class of the society blame the politicians for not letting the police play the rightful roles in the society whereas the lower class are often intimated by the police officers and are in constant threat of their authority.

In the case of DK Basu V State of West Bengal, there were various guidelines put forth for the arrest and detention by the police officers. They were:
  • The police officers should bear visible, correct and clear name tags along with their designations during investigation and detention.
  • During arrest, the police officer shall prepare a memo of arrest which shall be attested by at least one witness.
  • The person arrested or detained by the police should have at least one friend or relative or a person having interest in his welfare, informed about his arrest or detention.
  • The person detained should be made aware of his rights to have someone informed about his arrest or detention.
  • After detention or arrest, an entry shall be made in the diary regarding the arrest of the person which shall even disclose the name of the friend or family member informed along with the details of the police officers in whose custody the arrestee is.
  • Inspection memo should be signed by both the police officer and the arrestee and a copy of the same should be provided to the arrestee.
  • The copies of all the required documents should be sent to the Magistrate for his record.
  • The arrestee should be provided with medical examination every 48 hours of his detention by the approved doctors who are the ones appointed by Director of health services of the concerned State or Union Territory.
  • The arrestee may be permitted to meet his lawyer during his interrogation for some time.
  • The police officer causing the arrest or the detention shall send all the information regarding the same to the police control room of the district or state headquarters within 12 hours of affecting the arrest.

In the case of Kishore Singh V State of Rajasthan, the Supreme Court was deeply concerned with the various atrocities committed by the police officers. The Court had stated that:
No police life style which relies more of fists than wits and on torture more than on culture can control crime because it means boomerang on ends and refuel the vice which it seeks to extinguish.

Forensic Investigation:

It is a method and practice of establishing evidence and facts before the Court of Law. It today's time, it is mostly used in almost all the investigations like that of cybercrimes or murders. The main kind of evidences used is that of biological or DNA evidences like hair or blood spotter or it can be impression evidence like fingerprints or it can also be weapon identification like the microscopic examination of the tools which match the wounds of the person.

Forensic Investigation has helped enabled the imparting of justice to the victim. It has fuelled the criminal investigations and has infused modern technology for the purpose of criminal investigation. It covers various varieties of techniques which are used to analyse various crimes.

It helps in answering three questions related to the crime such as:
Has a crime been committed?
Forensic sciences help to understand the nature of crime as death can be naturally, by accident or even homicidal.

How and when was the crime committed?
On examining the corpse through scientific methods, the manner in which the crime was committed and also the approximate time of commission can be ascertained.

Who has committed the crime?
The guilty can be identified through various clues like that of fingerprints, blood drops, hair and so on.

In the modern times, use of forensic sciences is required in criminal investigation. In cases of heinous crimes also, many criminals are not prosecuted and even a few percentage of trials end in acquittal as a result of which number of criminals and crimes are increasing day to day. These frequent acquittals are primarily due to the use of obsolete techniques of investigation which has various loopholes. The third degree investigation methods are completely vanished but their misuse has increased and in order to control this issue, the Human Rights Commission has been established in India and all over the world. 

Forensic Sciences And Criminal Prosecution:

Scene of Occurrence
It is the meeting place of the persons involved in the crime. There are various traces of the parties that can be found in the crime scene. It provides a heap of information such as that of establishing the corpse, establishing the link between the criminal, victim and the scene of occurrence and also to evaluate the pattern of the crime.

It is the first important breakthrough of scientific investigation. It is basically the identification of criminals through the fingerprints found in the crime scene or on the body of the victim. Fingerprints are very important as they are unique, permanent, universal, and inimitable and so on. The ridge pattern of each finger has individuality and varies from one another. These patterns do not change throughout the life and appear since birth.

Track marks
The track marks are basically the prints left behind on the crime scene. The marks not only establish the presence of the culprit but also help to establish the number of participants present in the crime scene. It also helps to establish the culprits to their houses or their hiding places especially in case of India where most people live in rural areas. 

Techniques Used In Organized Crime Cases:

Controlled Delivery
It is basically a technique for allowing suspicious shipments or cargo to leave, pass through or enter a jurisdiction with the knowledge and supervision of authorities. It is used to trace the flow of illicit goods such as drugs, counterfeit products or falsified medical products.

Physical and Electronic Surveillance
Physical surveillance is one of the oldest investigating tools. If the authorities find someone suspicious, then the easiest step is to follow them physically. Most of the countries have put various limitations on the physical surveillance because everybody has a right to privacy when in their homes and so on.

Electronic surveillance provides for similar functions as the above but it enables a broader collection of data. It is preferred when an organized criminal group cannot be penetrated by an outsider or where physical surveillance is risky to the investigation or to the safety of the investigators.

Undercover Operations
It occurs when the investigators infiltrate criminal networks or pose as offenders to uncover organized crime activity. It is used in a few cases due to the extended time required to gain access to criminal organizations and because of the danger posed to the undercover investigator if his identity is revealed.

Financial Analysis
It involves an assessment of the income, expenditures and the net worth of te persons involved to determine the presence of unexplained income if any. It is used when the investigators have to find discrepancies in the legal income and expenditures which is a potential indicator of the illegal income produced from any organized crime activity.

Use of Informants
There are four types of informants who are the member of the organized criminal group, member of public, victim of the crime or the police officers. Mostly the informants are criminals who cooperate with the police in exchange of a reduced charge, sentence or immunity from any prosecution. Informants are usually cost effective as they require little expense. They are helpful in building cases that would otherwise require months of investigation. 

The police and the criminal justice system has remained the same since the last 140 years. Police consider themselves as the rulers and guardians of the State and no difference is observed in their behavioural aspect since a long time. In India, most of the bureaucrats engage in notorious activities which go undaunted by the police officers because of the practice of bribery and influence.

While there are numerous provisions enacted under the Constitution of Indian and also other laws, most of it remain unimplemented or not properly enforced. The poor section of the society is the ones who are solely the victims of custodial crimes or police atrocities. They see police as agents of oppression and not as the symbol of protection.

The criminal justice system and the atrocities of the police require instantaneous modification in order to establish efficient system of delivering justice and compensating the victim. More scientific and efficient techniques should be brought in the system in order to establish guilt in a better manner. Forensic techniques should be made more reliable and its use should be made more in the system.

Overall, it is high time that India needs to mend its ways of criminal justice system and its investigating techniques and systems in order to deliver justice with utmost efficiency and to compensate the victim as soon as possible. 

  • Critical Analysis of Criminal Investigating System In India, Megha Shankar, May, 2012, Academia,
  • A Critical Analysis of the Crime Investigating System In India, Abrina Yaqoob, Volume 3, Issue 4, May- June, International Journal of Trend in Scientific Research and Development (IJTSRD), https://www.ijtsrd.come-ISSN:2456-6470. 
  • Shri DK Basu and another V State of West Bengal, 1996, 1997 (1) SCC 416
  • Kishore Singh V State of Rajasthan, 1981 AIR 625, 1981 SCR (1) 995.
  • The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Acts of Parliament, 1949.
  • The Police Act, 1861, No 5.
  • Forensic Sciences- Investigation to Criminal Investigation, BC Campus,
  • Functions, Roles and Duties of Police in General, BPRd,
  • First Information Report-FIR-IPC, Legal Services India,
  • Understanding the First Information Report, Indian Law Watch,
  • Forensic Investigation, PInow,
  • Special Investigative Techniques and Intelligence Gathering, Controlled Delivery, UNODC,
  • Special Investigative Techniques and Intelligence Gathering, Physical and Emotional Surveillance, UNODC,
  • Special Investigative Techniques and Intelligence Gathering, Undercover Operations, UNODC,
  • Special Investigative Techniques and Intelligence Gathering, Financila Analysis, UNODC, 
  • Special Investigative Techniques and Intelligence Gathering, Use of Informants, UNODC,

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