In the event the report is submitted with delay or due to any lapse, the trial shall not be affected. The Supreme Court has reiterated that mere delay in sending the report under Section 157 CrPC to the Magistrate itself, cannot lead to a conclusion that the trial is vitiated or the accused is entitled to be acquitted on this ground.
The bench comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Vineet Saran in Jafel Biswas vs. State of West Bengal were dealing with that a report under Section 157 CrPC which is to be forwarded to the Magistrate, was submitted with delay. It was argued that there is non-compliance of Section 157 Cr.P.C.
The appeal pertains to a concurrent conviction in a murder case, in which the High court had affirmed the conviction of six accused.
Referring to earlier judgments in this regard including State of Rajasthan Vs. Daud Khan, the bench said that the obligation is on the I.O. (Investigation Officer) to communicate the report to the Magistrate. The obligation cast on the I.O. is an obligation of a public duty. But it has been held by this Court that in the event the report is submitted with the delay or due to any lapse, the trial shall not be affected. The delay in submitting the report is always taken as a ground to challenge the veracity of the F.I.R and the day and time of the lodging of the F.I.R.
The court further said that in cases where the date and time of the lodging of the F.I.R. is questioned, the report becomes more relevant. But a mere delay in sending the report itself cannot lead to a conclusion that the trial is vitiated or the accused is entitled to be acquitted on this ground.
The bench also approved the High Court view that to find out whether the F.I.R. is genuine or not and whether the trial court has rightly convicted the accused or not, the entire evidence has to be looked into.
It further held that some prejudice on delayed dispatch of FIR has to be proved by accused. On facts of the case, the bench observed that the prejudice which was sought to be projected by the appellants is that in F.I.R. names of only Seven accused were mentioned but in the report sent to the Magistrate there were Ten names. For the present case, it is sufficient to notice that name of all the appellants were very much in the F.I.R., hence the addition of three names in the report can in no manner prejudice the appellants.
On the contention regarding the absence of motive, the bench reiterated that the motive is always in the mind of person authoring the incident. Motive not being apparent or not being proved only requires deeper scrutiny of the evidence by the courts while coming to a conclusion. When there is definite evidence proving an incident and eye-witness account prove the role of the accused, absence in proving of the motive by the prosecution does not affect the affect the prosecution case.