Statement Made During Enquiry At Pre FIR Stage Neither A Confession Nor A Statement U/s 160 CrPC: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court held that statements made during the Pre-FIR stage discreet/open investigation cannot be considered a statement under Section 160 CrPC and/or a statement to be registered during the course of investigation under the Code of Criminal Procedure, and hence cannot be used against the accused during the trial. The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah observed that such a statement cannot be said to be confessional in character, and that if and when it is perceived to be confessional, it can only be said to be a self-incriminatory statement, which is impermissible in law. The bench went on to say that the statement and the evidence obtained during the course of the discrete investigation can only be used to satisfy and determine if an offence has been committed.
In this case, the High Court dismissed the appellant's challenge to a notice issued by the Police Inspector, Anti Corruption Bureau, Nagpur, in which the appellant was asked to provide a statement about the properties he owned in order to investigate a complaint against him alleging accumulating assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. The appeal argued that the notice was given in the alleged exercise of authority under Section 160 Cr.P.C., but that since the appellant cannot be considered a witness in the case, Section 160 Cr.P.C. is inapplicable. The state, on the other hand, claimed that the notice was given to explain his properties and known sources of income, allowing the investigating officer to determine whether or not a cognizable offence had been committed. It was claimed that Section 160 Cr.P.C. was listed inadvertently in the notice.
OBSERVATION OF THE COURT:
In Lalita Kumari v. Government of Uttar Pradesh (2014) 2 SCC 1, the bench held that an investigation at the pre-FIR level is permissible, not only permissible, but also desirable, particularly in cases where the charges are of corrupt practise involving the acquisition of assets/properties disproportionate to his known sources of income. If, after the preliminary inquiry/enquiry at the pre-registration of FIR stage/preliminary inquiry, it is determined that the case is vexatious and/or has no substance, the FIR will not be filed.