The facts of the case are that the appeal rose against an order of the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad wherein the High Court exercised its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to quash the chargesheet on the basis that there was no authorization to register the crime and that the informant cannot be the investigating officer.
The court was considering the situations in which the normal investigation to be conducted under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 can be supplemented by, or prefaced with a preliminary investigation, even in absence of a complaint for a cognizable offence being registered under that section, as per the dicta laid down in the case of Lalita Kumari v. Government of Uttar Pradesh & Ors., (2014) 2 SCC 1. The court clarified that the requirement for preliminary inquiry is warranted in certain cases, to avoid an abuse of the process of law, and for satisfying the investigating officer that a prima facie case exists, i.e only to ascertain the existence of a cognizable offence.
The court held that while corruption cases were covered under the cases for which a preliminary enquiry is necessary, along with medical negligence cases, commercial offences, and matrimonial/family disputes, the judgment does not state that proceedings cannot be initiated against an accused without conducting a preliminary inquiry.
Since the object of conducting a preliminary enquiry was to disclose the commission of an offence to the officer, if the officer concerned was satisfied that there was a cognizable offence committed, he can proceed against the accused even without conducting any inquiry or by any other manner on the basis of the credible information received by him.
While concluding, the bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta held that,
“Therefore, we hold that the preliminary inquiry warranted in Lalita Kumari is not required to be mandatorily conducted in all corruption cases. It has been reiterated by this Court in multiple instances that the type of preliminary inquiry to be conducted will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. There are no fixed parameters on which such inquiry can be said to be conducted. Therefore, any formal and informal collection of information disclosing a cognizable offence to the satisfaction of the person recording the FIR is sufficient.”
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