According to sec-4(k) of CrPC,1898-Inquiry includes every inquiry other than a trial conducted under this Code by a Magistrate or Court. Section 159 of the Code empowers a Magistrate on receipt of a police report under Section 157, Cr.P.C. to hold a preliminary inquiry in order to ascertain whether an offence has been committed and, if so, whether any persons should be put upon their trial. In cases triable by the court of sessions and proceedings take place before a Magistrate, which are in the nature of an inquiry preparatory to sending the accused to take his trial before the Court of Session ; the Magistrate in such cases is bound either to discharge the accused or commit him for trial, but he has no power to declare an accused either guilty or innocent of the offence with which he is charged. An inquiry is also done by a Magistrate in cases triable by himself under S. 202 of the Code.
On a complaint being filed before a Magistrate, he examines the complainant and the witnesses on oath in order to find out whether there is any matter which calls for investigation by a criminal court. The Magistrate may not act on the complaint and dismiss it if he distrusts the statements of the complainant and the witnesses and the result of the inquiry does not establish sufficient ground for proceeding. All these proceedings are in the nature of inquiry. Investigation:
According to sec-4(i) of CrPC,1898- Investigation includes all the proceedings under this Code for the Collection of evidence conducted by a police-officer or by any person other than a Magistrate who is authorised by Magistrate in this behalf: Investigation consists of steps taken by a police officer other than a Magistrate to ascertain whether any offence has been committed at all and, if so, by whom and what is the evidence on which the prosecution can be based. Investigation can also be made by a person specially authorized by a Magistrate to do so. The case is only started if investigation by the police reveals that an offence has been committed by the accused, otherwise not.
Differences between inquiry and investigation Provsion Inquiry Investigation According to sec-4(k) of CrPC,1898-Inquiry According to sec-4(i) of CrPC,1898- includes every inquiry other than a trial Investigation includes all the proceedings conducted under this Code by a Magistrate or Court. under this Code for the Collection of evidence conducted by a police officer or any person authorized by a magistrate.