Criminal Law: Difference between Inquiry and Investigation


May 09, 2018

Inquiry and Investigation- The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) renders a separate and specific definition for both the terms, however owing to their dictionary meaning the two words are often confused and used interchangeably.




According to Section 2(g) of CrPC, it means every inquiry other than trial conducted under the CrPC by a Magistrate or Court. According to Section 2(h) of the CrPC investigation includes all proceedings under the CrPC for collection of evidence conducted by a Police Officer or any person (other than a Magistrate) authorized by a Magistrate in this behalf.
Inquiry refers to proceedings conducted by a Court or a Magistrate. An investigation refers to the proceedings or steps taken by an authority like Police Officer. An investigation is not conducted by Magistrate, it is conducted by a person authorized in this behalf by the Magistrate.
An Inquiry primarily aims at determining the truth of reported crime or falsity of facts if any. Investigation mainly comprises the process of collection of evidence.
Inquiry can either be Judicial or non-Judicial. Investigation cannot be a judicial process.
Proceedings under Chapter X (D) [maintenance of public order and tranquility] and Section 176 [inquiry by Magistrate into cause of death] is an Inquiry. Investigation involved the following process:

–          Reporting at the incident of crime

–          Ascertaining facts and circumstances of the case

–          Discovery and arrest of suspected persons

–          Collection of evidence

–          Determining whether on the basis of facts and evidence collected there is a case to put the accused on trial or file a chargesheet.