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When Investigation Cannot Be Completed in 24 Hours (CrPC)

Updated: May 5

When Investigation Cannot Be Completed in 24 Hours (CRPC)
When Investigation Cannot Be Completed in 24 Hours (CRPC)


Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure outlines the procedure for the detention of an accused person beyond the initial 24-hour period if the investigation cannot be completed within that time frame.

Section 167: 

(1) Whenever any person is arrested and detained in custody, and it appears that the investigation cannot be completed within the period of twenty-four hours fixed by Section 57, and there are grounds for believing that the accusation or information is well-founded, the officer in charge of the police station or the police officer making the investigation, if he is not below the rank of sub-inspector, shall forthwith transmit to the nearest Judicial Magistrate a copy of the entries in the diary relating to the case and shall at the same time forward the accused to such Magistrate.

(2) The Magistrate to whom an accused person is forwarded under this section may, whether he has or has not jurisdiction to try the case, authorise the detention of the accused in such custody as he thinks fit, for a term not exceeding fifteen days in the whole. If he has no jurisdiction to try the case or commit it for trial and considers further detention unnecessary, he may order the accused to be forwarded to a Magistrate having such jurisdiction.

(3) The Magistrate may authorise the detention of the accused person beyond the period of fifteen days if adequate grounds exist for doing so, but no Magistrate shall authorise detention for a total period exceeding ninety days for certain offences punishable with death, imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years, or sixty days for other offences. After the specified period, the accused person shall be released on bail if prepared to furnish bail.

(4) No Magistrate shall authorise detention in the custody of the police unless the accused is produced before him in person, and no Magistrate of the second class shall authorise detention in police custody.

(5) Any Magistrate authorising detention in police custody shall record his reasons for doing so, and any Magistrate other than the Chief Judicial Magistrate making such an order shall forward a copy of his order, with reasons, to the Chief Judicial Magistrate.

(6) If the investigation is not concluded within six months in a case triable by a Magistrate as a summons case, the Magistrate shall make an order stopping further investigation into the offence unless the investigating officer satisfies the Magistrate that continuation of the investigation beyond six months is necessary for special reasons and in the interests of justice.


Judicial Scrutiny and Authorization of Detention

Transmission to Judicial Magistrate: If it appears that the investigation cannot be completed within the initial 24 hours after arrest, and there are grounds to believe that the accusation or information is well-founded, the officer in charge of the police station or the investigating police officer (if not below the rank of sub-inspector) must promptly transmit a copy of the case diary entries to the nearest Judicial Magistrate.

The accused must also be forwarded to the Magistrate at the same time. This provision ensures that the accused is brought before a judicial authority for scrutiny as soon as possible.

Authorization of Detention: The Judicial Magistrate to whom the accused is forwarded may authorise the detention of the accused for a total period not exceeding 15 days. This authorization can be granted even if the Magistrate does not have jurisdiction to try the case. If the Magistrate deems further detention unnecessary or lacks jurisdiction, the accused may be forwarded to a Magistrate with appropriate jurisdiction.

Executive Magistrate's Authority: If a Judicial Magistrate is not available, the accused may be forwarded to an Executive Magistrate who has been conferred with the powers of a Judicial Magistrate. This Executive Magistrate may authorise the detention of the accused for a term not exceeding seven days. Before the expiry of this period, the Executive Magistrate must transmit the case records to the nearest Judicial Magistrate.

Transition Between Custodies: During the initial 15-day period (or seven days if authorised by an Executive Magistrate), the nature of custody can be altered from judicial custody to police custody or vice versa. However, after this initial period, the accused can only be kept in judicial custody or any other custody as ordered by the Magistrate, but not in police custody.

This section aims to balance the interests of justice with the rights of the accused by ensuring prompt judicial scrutiny of detentions and preventing prolonged police custody without proper oversight.

Parameters under Section 167 CrPC

When a decision hinges on judicial discretion, it's generally deemed necessary to provide a rationale for that decision. This necessity is particularly emphasised when a Judicial Magistrate orders detention in police custody; they are expressly mandated to furnish reasons for their decision [S. 167(3)].

In instances where an Executive Magistrate sanctions the detention of an accused person, the law specifies that such authorization must be accompanied by written reasons [see, S. 167(2)].

If a Judicial Magistrate determines that the accused person needs to be detained beyond the initial 15-day period for investigation purposes, they may extend the detention. However, in such circumstances:


1) the detention must occur in a facility other than police custody, and

2) the cumulative period of detention (including the initial 15 days and any extension authorised by an Executive Magistrate under Section 167(2-A)) must not exceed

a) 90 days for offences punishable by death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for a term of at least 10 years, and

b) 60 days for other offences [para, {a) of proviso to S. 167(2)]. It's clarified that for offences carrying a sentence of up to 10 years, the charge sheet must be filed within 60 days, whereas for offences with a minimum sentence of 10 years, the charge sheet must be filed within 90 days.

The Supreme Court has held that the statutory period for offences under Section 304-B IPC, which carry a punishment ranging from seven years to life imprisonment, is 90 days, as the offence is "punishable" with life imprisonment.

The prescribed statutory period of 90 days or 60 days, as mentioned in proviso (a) to Section 167(2), is calculated from the date the Magistrate authorises the detention of an accused person. If the Magistrate grants detention on the same day as the arrest, then the 90-day or 60-day period is counted from the date of arrest. 

Section 187 BNSS

Section 187 of BNSS has undergone a notable alteration by substituting "nearest Magistrate" for "nearest judicial Magistrate." This deviation raises questions regarding its rationale. Section 167(1) of the Cr.P.C mandates the presenting of the arrestee before the nearest Judicial Magistrate, accompanied by the case-diary entries.

Contrary to the above provision, Section 187(1) of BNSS necessitates the presentation of the arrestee before the nearest Magistrate, omitting the specification of "Judicial."

This alteration seems unjustified. If the framers of BNSS anticipated scenarios where a Judicial Magistrate might be unavailable, leading to the presentation of the accused before an Executive Magistrate, Sub-section (6) would cater to such circumstances.

Considering the separation of the Judiciary from the Executive post the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, the removal of "Judicial" from Section 187(1) of Cr.P.C, diverging from Section 167(1) of Cr.P.C, appears unwarranted.

New obligations introduced under Section 187(2) of BNSS lack apparent purpose. This provision mandates the Magistrate to ascertain whether the arrestee has not been released on bail or if their bail has been revoked. This addition seems irrelevant, departing from Section 167(2) of Cr.P.C.

The inclusion of the phrase "or in parts" after "15 days in the whole" in Section 187(2) seems redundant. Section 167(2) of Cr.P.C, with its provision for detention up to 15 days, is clear without such embellishments. The term "from time to time" indicates the flexibility to authorise detention within the stipulated 15-day limit. Hence, "or in parts" appears superfluous.

Analysing Section 187(2) of BNSS against the backdrop of Cr.P.C reveals discrepancies. While Crpc limits police custody to the first 15 days of remand, BNSS allows for police or judicial custody alternatively during the initial 40 or 60 days, respectively. This provision violates Article 22(2) of the Indian Constitution, which aims to curtail police custody beyond 24 hours.

Moreover, it grants non-jurisdictional Magistrates the power to extend remand beyond the initial 15 days, contravening established legal norms.

The requirement for detention in a "police station" under "police custody" or in a "prison" under "judicial custody," as stipulated in the second proviso to Section 187(5) of BNSS, seems impractical.

Detaining an accused solely within a police station impedes investigations that may necessitate movement to various locations. Additionally, with Section 417 Crpc empowering the State Government to designate confinement places for those in judicial custody, the latter part of the second proviso in Section 187(5) of BNSS appears redundant.


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