Colorable Investigation

There is a subtle difference between a defective investigation and one brought forth by a calculated and deliberate action or inaction. While dealing with a defective investigation, Court is expected to sift evidence available and find out truth. Every case involves a journey towards truth.

We are distressed to note, investigation has not been conducted in a fair manner [Kumar v. State, (2018) 7 SCC 536]. A fair investigation would become a colorable one when there involves a suppression. Suppressing motive, injuries and other existing factors which will effect modifying or altering charge would amount to a perfunctory investigation and, therefore, become a false narrative.

Hon’ble Justice M.M. Sundresh, Arvind Kumar v. State of Rajasthan, [Criminal Appeal No. 753 of 2017].


It is true, falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus may not have unadulterated application to criminal jurisprudence. Courts have always preferred to do what Mythological Swan, Hamsa is believed to do, namely, to separate milk and water from a mixture of two. The idiom ‘sifting the chaff from the grain’ has become very old and worn out and requires replacement.

M.M. Sundresh J in Arvind Kumar v. State of Rajasthan, 2021 SCC Online SC 1099 crystallized this principle as follows: “The principle governing ‘sifting the chaff from the grain’ has to be applied. However, when evidence is inseparable and such an attempt would either be impossible or would make evidence unacceptable, natural consequence would be one of avoidance.”

Hon’ble Justice V. Ramasubramanian, Ramabora v. State of Karnataka, [Criminal Appeal No. 1697 of 2011] decided on 10.08.2022.