Police Case Diary

From Justice Definitions Project

What is a police case diary?

A police case diary allows for the investigation into a case to be recorded on a daily basis. It is thus a crucial component of the duties of the Investigating officer in any given case being investigated. Case diary is an effective instrument for the magistrate to keep a tab on the investigation. The Supreme Court has repeatedly reiterated that the case diary should be maintained with scrupulous completeness and efficiency since it is an extremely important document. Maintaining uniformity with the provisions of law is crucially important in the context of maintenance of the police case diary. The importance of maintaining the police case diary in accordance with the relevant legal provision was laid out in the case of Sri Krishna v. State of UP.

Legal Provisions relating to Police Case Diary

Code of Criminal Procedure

The relevant provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure that relates to the Police Case Diary is Section 172 (Section 192 of the BNSS). This Section states that each police officer who is making an investigation under the present Chapter shall, on a day-by-day basis, enter proceedings carried out through the course of the investigation into a diary. These proceedings must set forth the time at which the concerned piece of information had reached the officer, the start and end times of his investigation, the place, or if the case may be, places, that may have been visited by him, as well as the statement of the various circumstances that may have been ascertained via his investigation.

The case diary must contain witness statements that had been recorded during the course of the investigation. Further, the diary itself must be duly paginated as a volume.

Section 172(2) provides that any criminal court has the authority to send for the police diaries of a case that is under trial or inquiry in such Court, and the Court may use these diaries to aid in such trial or inquiry - but crucially, not as evidence in the case at hand.

Further, it is stipulated in Section 172(3) that neither the accused, nor the agents of the accused, shall be entitled to call for these diaries, nor shall they be entitled to see them because of the mere reason of their being referred to by the Court in question. However, if they are utilized by the police officer who had made the diaries with the purpose of refreshing his memory, or if they are used by the Court for contradicting the police officer in question, The Indian Evidence Act will apply - specifically Sections 161 (right as to writing used to refresh the memory of the adverse party) or 145 (pertaining to cross-examination) as the case may be.

When a person arrested is produced before a magistrate for remand, the magistrate has to peruse and scrutinize copies of FIR/Case Diary, statements of the witnesses recorded u/s 161 of the CrPC, and also to ensure that the same are in chronology and reflect the progress of investigation. It is incumbent upon the Magistrate to record reasons for the grant of remand and to sign and date every page of the case diaries or copies thereof as a token of his having seen them. This rules-out any fabrication, embellishment or interpolation of case diary at a later stage. As per Rule 25 of Criminal rules of practice, no order under section 167 of Cr.P.c for remand of an accused should be made unless the accused is produced before the Magistrate and he has been heard. Magistrates shall also insist on the production of copies of the entries in the Case Diary, peruse and initial those documents before passing orders and also indicate in the order, that the documents are perused.

Later in 2009, Sec- 172(1A) was inserted which made it mandatory that statement of witnesses u/s 161 shall be inserted in the case diary

Police Manual

The Manual reiterates the importance of maintaining a case diary and also maintaining the confidentiality thereof, unless accessed by persons authorized by law to do so.

According to the Manual[1], the following must be included within the Case Diary:

  1. Date and hour of taking action
  2. Date and report of the case
  3. Names of the complainant or informant
  4. Names of accused known, if any
  5. Property lost, if any
  6. Property recovered, if any
  7. Date and last page of previous case diary if relevant
  8. Name of the deceased, if any
  9. Name of witnesses examined

It is provided in the manual that the first case diary must start with a summary in brief of the FIR and other such details including the time at which the complaint was received. A concluding case diary is also mentioned, which is the diary in which the investigating officer is to record a summary of the reasons which culminated in their final finding.

Important Case Laws

  • In Directorate Of Enforcement vs Deepak Mahajan, the Supreme Court observed that "The expression 'diary' referred to in Section 167(1) of the Code is the special diary mentioned in Section 167(2) which should contain full and unabridged statements of persons examined by the police so as to give the Magistrates on a perusal of the said diary, a satisfactory and complete source of information which would enable him to decide whether or not the accused person should be detained in custody but it is different from the general diary maintained under Section 44 of the Police Act."
  • In Shamshul Kanwar vs State of U.P., the issue before the Court was whether accused has a right to use case diary. The Court while interpreting Section- 172(3) opined that there is no such right of the accused but it is the discretion of the Court or the will of the Police Officer to refresh his memory that shall provide a right to the accused to use a diary but only for the purpose of cross examination of the statements that are made by Police Officer.The Court in this very case also stated that failure to keep diary as required under Section- 172 CrPC shall not make the evidence of a Police Officer inadmissible and the inference in such cases shall be drawn depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, and this was the judgment where the Supreme Court for the first time reminded legislature that there is a need of uniformity in maintaining a case diary as in some states the diary is composite (Part I is step taken during the course of investigation by the Police and Part II is the statement of witnesses) while in some states it does not contain the statement made under Section- 161 CrPC.
  • In Mukund Lal v. Union of India, the constitutionality of Section 172(3), which places an embargo on the accused or the agents of the accused in respect of calling for the diary, where it was held that this embargo cannot be said to be arbitrary - pointing out that the Court has the power, in an unfettered capacity, to examine the diaries and their contents.
  • In Habeeb Mohammad v. State of Hyderabad, the court reiterated an important caveat that the police case dairy cannot be used as evidence. Furthermore it was held that issuing process or taking cognizance against the accused on the sole basis of the material that is contained within the case diary is not permissible unless the fact that is present in the report of the police officer, as per Section 173, constitutes the offence in question, in the case of AK Roy v. State of West Bengal[2].
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