(1) During the hearing held by the Bombay High Court in the petition filed by Arnab Goswami (CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION STAMP NO. 4132 OF 2020 Arnab Manoranjan Goswami Vs.The State of Maharashtra & Ors.) against his custody in the 2018 abetment to suicide case, Senior Advocate Amit Desai, appearing for the State of Maharashtra, explained to the bench the concepts of 'A summary', 'B summary' and 'C summary' reports filed by the police.
(2) It may be noted that the Raigad police had submitted 'A summary' report in the case relating to the suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik in 2019. Later, the case was re-opened, leading to the arrest of Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami, whose name is mentioned in Naik's suicide note.
(3) In the backdrop, the division bench of Bombay HC asked Desai the difference between 'A summary', 'B summary' and 'C summary'. Goswami's lawyers had raised an argument that the police needed a judicial order to re-open the investigation after the acceptance of 'A summary' report by the Magistrate.
(1) RULE 219 (3) OF BOMBAY POLICE MANUAL:
The final report should be written up carefully by the officers in-charge of the Police Station personally and should be accompanied by all the case papers numbered and indexed methodically. If the accused has been released on bail, the Magistrate should be requested to cancel the bail bond. He should also be requested to pass orders regarding the disposal of property attached, unless any of the articles, e.g., blood stained clothes, are required for further use in true but undetected cases. A request should also be made to the Magistrate to classify the case and to issue an appropriate summary of his order, viz:-
“A“ True, undetected (where there is no clue whatsoever about the culprits or property or where the accused in known but there is no evidence to justify his being sent up to the Magistrate (for trial).
“B” Maliciously false.
“C” Neither true nor false, e.g., due to mistake ot fact or being of a civil nature.
“Non-cognizable” Police investigation reveals commission of only non-cognizable offence.”
(2) Referring to the BOMBAY POLICE MANUAL Desai explained that an 'A SUMMARY' report is filed in a case where the offence is made out but the evidence is untraceable or the accused persons are not found.
(3) On the other hand, 'B' SUMMARY report is filed in a case where the allegations are found to be false or there no evidence is found against the accused after the completion of investigation.
(4) 'C SUMMARY' report is filed in cases where the FIR is found to be based on a mistake of fact.
(5) “If it is 'A SUMMARY', it means that evidence was not sufficient but offence was there. If it was a case of wrong accused, it would have been 'B SUMMARY' ”, he submitted.
(6) He explained that 'A SUMMARY' means that the investigation is yet to reach completion due to lack of evidence. On the other hand, 'B SUMMARY' and 'C SUMMARY' reports mean that investigation is complete and that no offence is made out against the accused.
(7) “When Magistrate accepts 'A SUMMARY', it means that there is an offence. It is not a case of discharge or closure. It means it was a genuine case of offence but the investigation could not collect evidence”, he explained.
(8) “A SUMMARY reflects incomplete investigation. In “B” and “C” SUMMARY, the investigation is complete and either there is no offence or wrong accused. The distinction is important”, he added.
(1) Desai stated that to accept the petitioners' argument that judicial order is necessary to revive investigation in a case where 'A SUMMARY' has been filed would mean to place curbs on the powers of the investigation agency.
(2) He sought to explain this point through an example of a terrorism case.
“Take a case of terrorism where evidence is not traceable. After a period of time, police files 'A' summary before Magistrate. After some time, police gets evidence of terrorist. Should police wait for Magistrate order to nab him?”,he asked.
(3) He added,
“The power of the investigating officer to make further investigation under Section 173(8) and the power of the Court to order the same is different.”
(4) Reliance was placed on “Nirmal Singh Kahlon v. State of Punjab” where the Top Court had observed that it is one thing to say that the court will have supervisory jurisdiction to ensure a fair investigation and correctness whereof is open to question, but it is another thing to say that the investigating officer will have no jurisdiction whatsoever to make any further investigation without the express permission of the Magistrate.
(5) Moreover, in this case (CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION STAMP NO. 4132 OF 2020 Arnab Manoranjan Goswami Vs.The State of Maharashtra & Ors.) the Bombay High Court observed that the further investigation started by Raigad police in the Anvay Naik suicide case “cannot be termed as illegal and without seeking permission of the Magistrate”.
(6) Referring to SC precedents, the division bench stated that “the law does not mandate taking prior permission of Magistrate for further investigation”.
(7) Carrying out further investigation even after filing of chargesheet, is a statutory right of the police, the bench further observed.
(8) “Merely because the Magistrate has accepted the “A” summary submitted by the Investigating Officer, that would not mean and preclude the concerned Investigating Officer to invoke the provisions of section 173(8) of Code of Criminal Procedure to commence further investigation after giving intimation to the jurisdictional Magistrate”, the order stated in paragraph 63.
(1) The bench noted that “there is no manner of doubt in our minds that the State Government can always direct a further investigation to the concerned police officers, as done in the present case”.
(2) In this regard, reference was made to Section 4 of the Bombay Police Act 1951 which says that “the Superintendence of the Police Force throughout the State of Maharashtra vests in and is exercisable by the State Government”. Section 36 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was also referred to support the conclusion.
(1) “The Hon'ble Supreme Court in Bhagwant Singh case and Gangadhar case and in the case of State of Andhra Pradesh vs. A.S. Peter has held that when the Magistrate is not inclined to take cognizance of the offence and issue process, the informant must be given an opportunity of being heard so that he can make his submissions to persuade the Magistrate to take cognizance of the offence and issue process”.
(2) Bombay HC observed,
“The fact that the Magistrate did not give notice and opportunity to the first informant to file a protest petition before accepting the report, goes to the root of the matter”.
In “Pravinlal Mohanlal Shah Vs. state Of Gujarat”, Gujrat HC observed,
“After investigation is concluded, if the investigating officer is of the opinion that no case is made out against the accused and/or there is no material / evidence against the accused for prosecuting the accused and/or investigating officer is of the opinion that the dispute is of a civil nature and/or that the accused has committed offence but is not available, investigating officer may submit appropriate report before the concerned Magistrate which is called A-Summary, B-Summary and C-Summary. If the investigating officer is of the opinion that the concerned accused has committed offence, then in that case, chargesheet is to be filed against the accused before the concerned Magistrate. As per the settled law, the learned Magistrate is not bound to accept either A-Summary Report, B-Summary Report or C-Summary Report and after considering the report and the material on record, the learned Magistrate may reject the said report and direct to issue process against the accused persons for the offences alleged. In case, the learned Magistrate is prima facie of the opinion that such A-Summary report, B-Summary Report or C-Summary Report is to be accepted, in that case, the learned Magistrate is required to issue notice upon the complainant and is required to give opportunity to the complainant to submit protest application / objections against such report and thereafter, considering such objection submitted by the complainant, the Magistrate may take appropriate decision whether to accept the report or not. Thereafter, if the case is triable by the Court of Sessions, the Magistrate is required to commit the case to the Sessions Court”.
Where the police classifies the case as true but undetected, or Where there is no clue whatsoever about the culprits or property, 'A' summary report is submitted. So here the investigation revealed that an offence has been committed but no sufficient evidence is available to proceed. Before accepting this report the Magistrate should hear the first informant.