Tuesday, January 10, 2012



-For dummies -

Panchanama is very important document for Police ,public prosecuting officer[PP],accused ,victims and defence counsels.Every young police officer and budding lawyer should grasp nuances of the investigating procedures ,drafting good panchanama is one of the vital component in all criminal cases.

Once FIR is lodged by complainant or any information  is received  by the Station House officer by an anonymous caller or friend of police, criminal law sets into motion with lodging of FIR ,the work of police officer begins, first and foremost duty of Investigating officer is preceding to the scene of offence or crime  with his team consists of Photographer,Forensic team[clues team]or Dog Squad[if necessary ] and keenly survey the scene of offence to draft the mediators report mentioning all details without missing vital clues.

The good and intelligent I.O diligently observes the scene of offence and meticulously prepare the Panchanama with a drawing sketch,speaking to all people present at the scene of the offence.

It is very important to know to whom I.O is interacting,some times suspects or supporters of accused, them selves may mislead the police to divert the attention of the Police team and dilute the case.

It is always advisable to pick up respectful, honest,impartial ,unbiased ,healthy panchas[it is advisable to avoid old &sick people],it may be crime scene, or weapons recovery or  recovery of contraband.

The possibility of  wining the prosecution case depends upon the drafting of good panchanma with all minute details without missing vital clues,which can decide the outcome of the prosecution case.

If loose ends or discrepancies or inaccuracy exists in panchanama,it will invariably helps the accused to escape the law and prosecution case ends in acquittal and hard work of I.O goes waste.  

The Panchanama is also prepared during search and search operations for various crimes or investigations after obtaining search warrant from trial courts under Sections 94,97 and 100 of Criminal Procedure code ,search can be conducted with out search warrant from the courts under Section 165.

It is duty of I.O pick up all vital clues/documents ,which will only helps the case,it is prudent for I.O  to avoid scrap material[insignificant documents/material],which won't help the prosecution case.  

The Definition of Panchanama:

Panchanama is also called Mediators report. 'Panch' means in Sanskrit respectable persons.The panchanama is statement of persons present at the time of arrest,search and seizure.

The Panchanama statement will be recorded  at the scene of crime /offence with presence of Investigating officers ,Prosecuting witnesses,accused and two mediators,who should be unbiased,independent and honest persons.

The panchanama is very important document in criminal cases because it will be send to trial court long with FIR &CD/ CR  and contraband materials/weapons or Exhibits recovered recovered from scene of offence.

The Essentials of Panchanama :

  • Description of the scene of offence with sketch&drawing and photographs.
  • Persons found at scene of offence.
  • Records found at scene of offence or weapons or exhibits.
  • The contraband material found during search&seizure.
  • Taking Photo's
  • It should be signed by the prosecution Witness[PW],Prosecuting officer /I.O and mediators.

Chief Ingredients of the Panchanama :  

  1. Names of officers conducting Panchanama
  2. Place ,Date and Time
  3. Description of Panchas
  4. Description of Scene of offence with Sketch describing the scene neatly , with direction of body placed [ North ,South,East and West ],houses ,boundaries of the house.
  5. Mentioning exhibits/weapons recovered at the scene of offence[like cloths, documents ,personal belonging  or other human particles.],prepare list of articles recovered at the scene of offence.
  6. Explaining the panchas ,purpose of search &seizure with or with out order of the court. 
  7. Describing persons found working at the time of Search and Seizure mentioning their age and nature of duty undertaken at that place.
  8. List of legal documents found during  Search and Seizure.
  9. Description of contraband &particular place where they have been found ,during Search and Seizure.
  10. Brief statement of persons found at scene of offence or place where contraband material found.
  11. Drawing of samples &its procedure.
  12. The records searched and verified relevant to the case.
  13. List of articles seized during search and seizure should be given to accused.
In several cases ,the court voiced the importance of Panchanama and its value in prosecution cases.The loose documentation of panchanama will help the accused/suspects.
It is very important for police department to train the young policemen in the art of  drafting good panchanama and senior police officers should take initiative to train and help junior colleagues while drafting panchanama ,especially complicated cases .
It is advised and it is better to draft panchanama in regional language ,if I.O is not well conversant with English.The court will find bad document,hard to understand or comprehend  , when it is poorly drafted with grammatical errors and inadequate or inaccurate  description,in order to avoid such problems ,it is better to draft the panchanama in local language.Bad Panchanama or charge sheet is bone to accused and his counsel. 

The good investigating skills of the Police plays vital in all criminal cases ,an good police man is nightmare to defence counsel and help ful to the trial court to come to the  logical conclusion and finally, punish the quilty persons.

The police officer should cultivate the habit of reading criminal law manuals and other materials given by the police department and be well conversant with procedures /process,which won't give any scope for accused to escape the law. 
Problems with  Hostile Witnesses:
Only problem confronting prosecution is witness turning hostile,which is the main reason for acquittal of cases,all hard work of police goes waste, conviction rate increases ,if they ensure that witness don't turn hostile,but it never happens in reality. We don't have witness protection mechanism.The trend of witness turning hostile should be curbed,which is not an easy task.

The defence counsel ,however smart ,intelligent or famous [brand name], he may be ,can't win his client case ,if case is excellently, meticulously and smartly investigated by an intelligent ,duty minded and honest police officer. 

Author : 

The author of the informative peice of  article is practicing advocate &legal consultant, ,Andhra Pradesh High Court&other courts at Hyderabad,A.P -Hyderabad and also worked as Legal consultant to A.P Women's Commission for some time.

Note:This is only an informative peice of article for dummies not reference material,for further reading &understanding ,read Criminal Major Acts and Criminal Rules of Practice.


Bhavin Sangoi said...

A very good informative article.

DeEpAK KaRtHiK (420) said...

Informative :)

Hariharan Valady said...

Very useful.


@Deepak @Bhavin @ Hariharan Valady -Many thanks

Kenneth Elman said...

June 22, 2013
From Kenneth Ellman, Box 18, Newton, NJ. 07860 USA
Email: ke@kennethellman.com
Thank you for the explanation of "panchanama". It appears to be the Indian equivalent of a complete Police or Arresting officer Report here in the US.
During trial such documents can be used to examine and cross examine those who authored the documents. Such documents are also used to impeach witnesses and obtain information for further Defense investigation.
Is the “Panchanama” expression only used for the preliminary documents prepared at time of initial investigation? Is there a different expression for the final document prepared after investigation has been completed? Are there different expressions for different stages of the investigative report or is the “Panchanama” just updated?
Is the entire “Panchanama” made available for examination by Defense Counsel and if so at what stage of proceeding?
Thanks again.
Kenneth Ellman
email: ke@kennethellman.com

Kenneth Ellman said...

June 22, 2013
From Kenneth Ellman, email:ke@kennethellman.com
In further review there appears to be a significant difference between the Arresting/Investigating Officer Reports here in US and the “Panchanama”. It appears that the “Panchanama” is created with the Prosecuting Attorney/Government Prosecutor, and then sent to the Court. In the US the Police Reports are normally not created with the Prosecuting Attorney. The Police do not normally send any documents directly to the Court, that would normally be done by the Prosecuting Attorney. The Prosecuting Attorney is normally NOT part of the Police Investigation. The Police Reports/Investigation and any Reports/Investigation of the Prosecuting Attorney are totally separate, both by Office and function.
Let me know if I am correct about practice in India.
Thank you.
Kenneth Ellman

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