Section 398 CrPC: Power to Order Inquiry – Code of Criminal Procedure

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Section 398 CrPC: Power to Order Inquiry

This section empowers the Magistrate to order an inquiry when a complaint is filed before him alleging the commission of a cognizable offense, or when information of such an offense comes to his knowledge. It is a crucial step in the criminal justice system, ensuring that allegations are investigated thoroughly before proceeding with a formal trial.

Explanation

Section 398 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) grants the Magistrate the authority to:

  • Order an inquiry into any cognizable offense when a complaint is filed before him.
  • Order an inquiry when information regarding the commission of a cognizable offense comes to his knowledge.

The Magistrate can order an inquiry to ascertain:

  • Whether the alleged offense has been committed.
  • Whether there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.
  • Whether the accused is involved in the alleged offense.

The inquiry is conducted by the Magistrate himself or by any police officer under his supervision.

Illustration

Suppose a person files a complaint alleging that another person has committed theft. The Magistrate, upon receiving the complaint, can order an inquiry to ascertain whether theft was committed, who was involved, and if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a formal trial against the accused.

Common Questions & Answers

1. What is a cognizable offense?

A cognizable offense is an offense for which the police can arrest a person without a warrant. Examples include murder, rape, and robbery.

2. Who can order an inquiry under Section 398 CrPC?

A Magistrate can order an inquiry under Section 398 CrPC.

3. What is the purpose of an inquiry?

The purpose of an inquiry is to investigate allegations of a cognizable offense and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a formal trial.

Also Read  CrPC Section 105I: Fine in Lieu of Forfeiture - Explained

4. What are the powers of the Magistrate during an inquiry?

The Magistrate has the power to summon witnesses, examine them under oath, and collect evidence during an inquiry.

5. What happens after the inquiry?

After the inquiry, the Magistrate can decide to:

  • Take cognizance of the offense and proceed with a formal trial.
  • Discharge the accused if there is insufficient evidence against him.
  • Refer the case to another Magistrate or court for further investigation or trial.
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