Question: I suspect that the police is trying to falsely implicate me in a criminal case which is under investigation. I don’t know what investigation has been conducted so far. I am told that the daily developments in investigation are mentioned in the case diary maintained by the police. How can I get copy of the case diary from the police station?
Answer: The short answer to your question is that, generally speaking, it is not possible to get copy of the case diary. In particular, during the investigation stage, you cannot get a copy of the case diary; though, during the trial stage, sometimes, it may be possible to get a copy of or refer to the case diary, if the necessary conditions as mandated under law are satisfied. The case diary is considered to be a privileged document which is not accessible to the accused.
Provisions relating to case diary are laid down in Section 172 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.), which is reproduced below:
“172. Diary of proceedings in investigation.—(1) Every police officer making an investigation under this Chapter shall day by day enter his proceedings in the investigation in a diary, setting forth the time at which the information reached him, the time at which he began and closed his investigation, the place or places visited by him, and a statement of the circumstances ascertained through his investigation.
(1-A) The statements of witnesses recorded during the course of investigation under Section 161 shall be inserted in the case diary.
(1-B) The diary referred to in sub-section (1) shall be a volume and duly paginated.
(2) Any Criminal Court may send for the police diaries of a case under inquiry or trial in such Court, and may use such diaries, not as evidence in the case, but to aid it in such inquiry or trial.
(3) Neither the accused nor his agents shall be entitled to call for such diaries, nor shall he or they be entitled to see them merely because they are referred to by the Court; but, if they are used by the police officer who made them to refresh his memory, or if the Court uses them for the purpose of contradicting such police officer, the provisions of Section 161 or Section 145, as the case may be, of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (1 of 1872), shall apply.”
Thus, it is clear from sub-section (3) of Section 172 that an accused is not entitled to get a copy of the case diary or to see the contents thereof, except in two situations (both of these situations are relevant during trial stage):
- When the case diary is used by the police officer, who made it, to refresh his memory while he is giving evidence in the case.
- When the Court uses the case diary for the purpose of contradicting such police officer.
In these two situations (during trial stage), the accused may get access to the case diary for the limited purpose as laid down in Sections 161 and 145 of the Evidence Act, as the case may be. These two sections of the Evidence Act are reproduced below:
“145. Cross-examination as to previous statements in writing.—A witness may be cross-examined as to previous statements made by him in writing or reduced into writing, and relevant to matters in question, without such writing being shown to him, or being proved; but, if it is intended to contradict him by the writing, his attention must, before the writing can be proved, be called to those parts of it which are to be used for the purpose of contradicting him.
161. Right of adverse party as to writing used to refresh memory.—Any writing referred to under the provisions of the two last preceding sections must be produced and shown to the adverse party if he requires it; such party may, if he pleases, cross-examine the witness thereupon.”
However, during the investigation stage, it may not be possible to get access to the case diary since it is specifically declared as such under the law, as mentioned above. Even the RTI Act may not help in this regard.