The Bombay High Court (Full Bench) has answered the issue whether a Revision Petititon can be filed against an order directing investigation passed by a Magistrate under Section 156(3) CrPC.

The Bench of Justice Revati Mohite Dere, Justice NJ Jamadar, and Justice Sharmila U Deshmukh answered in the following terms:

- If the FIR is yet not registered, an interim order passed by the revisional court, staying effect and operation of the impugned order under Section 156(3), will have full play and the investigating agency cannot proceed to register the FIR and enter into investigation lest the order passed by the revisional court would be denuded of the meaning and content. Such an interim order before the registration of the FIR will operate with full force and vigor, irrespective of the nature of the infirmity in the impugned order which weighed with the revisional court to stay such an order.

- if the FIR has already been registered, before the revisional court passes an interim order, then the nature of the infirmity in the impugned order may become relevant. If the revisional court finds that the impugned order suffers from jurisdictional error, in our considered view, the revisional court must be construed to have the power to stay further proceedings pursuant to the registration of the FIR if the matter is still at the stage of investigation. While passing such an order of stay of the proceedings at the stage of investigation, the revisional Court ought to record reasons which weighed with the court to hold that there appears a jurisdictional error in passing an order under Section 156(3) of the Code and thereupon, in terms, direct that the further proceedings be stayed. However, where the investigation culminates into lodging of the chargesheet and/or cognizance has been taken by the jurisdictional court, the interim order or final order passed by the revisional court setting aside the order passed by the Magistrate under Section 156(3), will not have the effect of quashing the resultant prosecution.

In that context, it was said that, "The order passed by the revisional Court setting aside a direction for investigation, even after registration of the FIR, cannot be said to be bereft of any utility. If such an order is passed before the completion of investigation, the investigating agency may take the same into account in determining the course the investigation shall culminate into. If such an order is passed, post lodging of the chargesheet, the jurisdictional Magistrate may have the benefit of the said order at the stage of taking cognizance or during the course of the inquiry, as envisaged by the Code. The High Court may also have due regard to the order of the revisional Court while considering the prayer for quashing the FIR and/or prosecution in exercise of writ or inherent jurisdiction."

In this case, a former Municipal Councilor of KDMC lodged a complaint alleging collusion between municipal officers and a developer in the redevelopment of Manek Colony, citing various offenses. The Judicial Magistrate directed police investigation under Section 156(3) of the CrPC, leading to an FIR. The accused challenged this order through a Revision Application, which was granted by the Additional Sessions Judge.

Writ petitions were then filed in the High Court, which noted conflicting views on the maintainability of revision against orders under Section 156(3) CrPC.

The question before the Court was whether revision under Section 397 CrPC is an efficacious remedy against an order directing investigation under Section 156(3) CrPC, even after the registration of an FIR and subsequent proceedings, and to what extent the revisional court can intervene in the investigation post-registration of the FIR.

The Full Bench answered the issues as stated above.

Subsequently, the petitions were placed before the respective benches for decision in accordance with law.

Cause Title: Arun P Gidh vs Chandraprakash Singh & Ors.

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