Can S 156(3) CrPC Petition Be Entertained If S 154 CrPC Procedure Is Not Exhausted?

Section 156(3) CrPC is the power of Magistrate to order investigation.

In the case of Priyanka Srivastava vs. State of Uttar Pradesh [(2015) 6 SCC 287], the Supreme Court held that there has to be prior applications under Section 154(1) and 154(3) while filing a petition under Section 156(3). It was also observed that the application under Section 156(3) be supported by an affidavit.

Referring to this judgment, the Apex Court in Babu Venkatesh vs State Of Karnataka [ (2022) 5 SCC 639] observed: “This court has further held that, prior to the filing of a petition under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C., there have to be applications under Section 154(1) and 154(3) of the Cr.P.C. This court emphasizes the necessity to file an affidavit so that the persons making the application should be conscious and not make false affidavit. With such a requirement, the persons would be deterred from causally invoking authority of the Magistrate, under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C. In as much as if the affidavit is found to be false, the person would be liable for prosecution in accordance with law.”

A recent Karnataka High Court judgment, referred to both these judgments. In the said case, the complaint was verified by a statement – a verification. “There is a wide difference between a verification and an affidavit. Affidavit is a legally signed and notarized document, whereas, verification is only the statement of the complainant that whatever he has said is true. The accountability of the two are entirely different. Filing a false affidavit can make the complainant accountable and open to legal proceedings, the verification would not. Therefore, the learned Magistrates before whom a complaint is filed under Section 200 of the Cr.P.C. in which investigation under Section 156(3) of Cr.P.C. is sought shall not entertain such complaints, if they are not accompanied by an affidavit”, the court observed.

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