When the Court may Intervene during Investigation by Police

29. In the criminal justice system the investigation of an offence is the domain of the police. The power to investigate into the cognizable offences by the police officer is ordinarily not impinged by any fetters. However, such power has to be exercised consistent with the statutory provisions and for legitimate purpose. The Courts ordinarily do not interfere in the matters of investigation by police, particularly, when the facts and circumstances do not indicate that the investigating officer is not functioning bona fide. In very exceptional cases, however, where the Court finds that the police officer has exercised his investigatory powers in breach of the statutory provision putting the personal liberty and/or the property of the citizen in jeopardy by illegal and improper use of the power or there is abuse of the investigatory power and process by the police officer or the investigation by the police is found to be not bona fide or the investigation is tainted with animosity, the Court may intervene to protect the personal and/or property rights of the citizens.

30. Lord Denning has described the role of the police thus: “In safeguarding our freedoms, the police play vital role. Society for its defence needs a well-led, well-trained and well-disciplined force or police whom it can trust, and enough of them to be able to prevent crime before it happens, or if it does happen, to detect it and bring the accused to justice. The police, of course, must act properly. They must obey the rules of right conduct. They must not extort confessions by threats or promises. They must not search a man’s house without authority. They must not use more force than the occasion warrants……….”

31. One of the responsibilities of the police is protection of life, liberty and property of citizens. The investigation of offences is one of the important duties the police has to perform. The aim of investigation is ultimately to search for truth and bring the offender to the book.

Supreme Court
Manohar Lal Sharma vs. Principal Secretary and ors., (2014) 2 SCC 532