Supreme Court’s Verdict on FIR Registration and Investigation.

DECISION OF MADRAS HIGH COURT;

Madras High Court case of C. Kumaravel v. The Director General of Police and ors., has reiterated that Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure is not an alternate remedy to Section 156(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on refusal of police to register First Information Report on receipt of information regarding the commission of a Cognizable Case.

In the present case, Criminal Original Petition has been filed by the petitioner to direct the respondents to register a case on the complaint of the petitioner dated 3rd April, 2017.

 The Madras High Court headed by Justice G.K. Ilanthiraiyan has re-iterated the principles stated by a Division Bench of Madras High Court in Crl.O.P.(MD)No.13681 of 2018. The Division Bench held that the normal course of remedy on a failure or refusal to record the information is Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure after due compliance of Section 154(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The Bench has directed the Magistrates that no petition shall be entertained without exhausting the remedy under Section 154(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The court give the following directions:

  • Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973,cannot be invoked in all circumstances.
  • It is not an alternative remedy to Section 156(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, but a repository of inherent power.
  • The normal course of remedy on a failure or refusal to record the information is Section 156(3)of the Code of Criminal Procedure after due compliance of Section 154(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  • A petition can be filed invoking the inherent jurisdiction of this Court only after the completion of 15 days from the date of receipt of the information by the Station House Officer. The Registry shall not receive any petition before the expiry of 15 days aforesaid.
  • No petition shall be entertained without exhausting the remedy under Section 154(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  • An informant can send substance of the information to the Superintendent of Police on knowing the decision of the Station House Officer in not registering the case and proceeding with the preliminary enquiry. After conducting the preliminary enquiry, the Station House Officer’s decision in either registering the compliant or closing it will have to be intimated to the informant immediately and in any case not later than 7 days. Once such a decision is made, the informant cannot invoke Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is the remedy lies elsewhere.
  • The directions issued by the Director General of Police in the circulars referred are to be strictly complied with by all the Station House Officers.
  • The affidavit to be filed shall contain particulars regarding the date of complaint, receipt and the date of sending substances of the information to the superintendent of Police under Section 154(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and its receipt. The Registry shall not number any petition without due compliance.
  • This Court is not bound to direct the police to register the complaint in all cases notwithstanding the breach of time table furnished in Lalitha Kumari’s case.
  • The judicial Magistrates, while dealing the petitions under Sections 156(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 are directed to keep in mind the narratives in Lalitha Kumari’s case with specific reference to the cases, which might require a preliminary enquiry before issuing a direction to investigate and after careful perusal of the complaint. The other directions issued by the learned Single Judge in Sugesan Transport’s case are upheld.
  • Eschewing Section 156(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is only on exceptional and rarest of rare cases. Monstrosity of the offence, extreme official apathy and indifference, need to answer the judicial conscience, and existence of hostile environment are few of the factors to be borne in mind to bring a case under the rarest of rare one.

The judge also said, liberty is granted to the petitioner to work out his remedy in accordance with the guidelines given by the Hon’ble Division Bench 

Let’s us consider first applicable provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, related to filing of FIR.

Section 154 of Criminal Procedure Code provides that;

Information in cognizable cases.

(1) Every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be read Over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf.

(2) A copy of the information as recorded under sub- section (1) shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.

(3) Any person aggrieved by a refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to record the information referred to in subsection (1) may send the substance of such information, in writing and by post, to the Superintendent of Police concerned who, if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him, in the manner provided by this Code, and such officer shall have all the powers of an officer in charge of the police station in relation to that offence.

155. Information as to non- cognizable cases and investigation of such cases.

(1) When information is given to an officer in charge of a police station of the commission within the limits of such station of a non- cognizable offence, he shall enter or cause to be entered the substance of the information in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf, and refer the informant to the Magistrate.

(2) No police officer shall investigate a non- cognizable case without the order of a Magistrate having power to try such case or commit the case for trial.

(3) Any police officer receiving such order may exercise the same powers in respect of the investigation (except the power to arrest without warrant) as an officer in charge of a police station may exercise in a cognizable case.

(4) Where a case relates to two or more offences of which at least one is cognizable, the case shall be deemed to be a cognizable case, notwithstanding that the other offences are non- cognizable.

156. Police officer’ s power to investigate cognizable case.

(1) Any officer in charge of a police station may, without the order of a Magistrate, investigate any cognizable case which a Court having jurisdiction over the local area within the limits of such station would have power to inquire into or try under the provisions of Chapter XIII.

(2) No proceeding of a police officer in any such case shall at any stage be called in question on the ground that the case was one which such officer was not empowered under this section to investigate.

(3) Any Magistrate empowered under section 190 may order such an investigation as above- mentioned.

190. Cognizance of offences by Magistrates.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Chapter, any Magistrate of the first class, and any Magistrate of the second class specially empowered in this behalf under sub- section (2), may take cognizance of any offence-

(a) upon receiving a complaint of facts which constitute such offence;

(b) upon a police report of such facts;

(c) upon information received from any person other than a police officer, or upon his own knowledge, that such offence has been committed.

(2) The Chief Judicial Magistrate may empower any Magistrate of the second class to take cognizance under sub- section (1) of such offences as are within his competence to inquire into or try.

Section 482 in The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

482. Saving of inherent powers of High Court. Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.

DECISION OF SUPREME COURT; 

In a recent case taken up by the Supreme Court in the case of C. Kumaravel v. The Director of Police & ors., the Supreme Court has reiterated the important tenets pertaining to investigation by Magistrate under Section 156(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure. They are as under:

  • That Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure cannot be invoked in all circumstances. It is not an alternative remedy to Section 156(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 but a repository of inherent power;
  • That normal course of remedy on a failure or refusal to record the information is Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure after due compliance of Section 154(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973;
  • That a petition can be filed invoking the inherent jurisdiction of this Court only after the completion of 15 days from the date of receipt of the information by the Station House Officer. The Registry shall not receive any petition before the expiry of 15 days aforesaid;
  • That no petition shall be entertained without exhausting the remedy under Section 154(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973;
  • That an informant can send substance of the information to the Superintendent of Police on knowing the decision of the Station House Officer in not registering the case and proceeding with the preliminary enquiry. After conducting the preliminary enquiry, the Station House Officer’s decision in either registering the compliant or closing it will have to be intimated to the informant immediately and in any case not later than 7 days. Once such a decision is made, the informant cannot invoke Section 482 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 as the remedy lies elsewhere;
  • The directions issued by the Director General of Police in the circulars referred are to be strictly complied with by all the Station House Officers;
  • The affidavit to be filed shall contain particulars regarding the date of complaint, receipt and the date of sending substances of the information to the superintendent of Police under Section 154(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and its receipt. The Registry shall not number any petition without due compliance.
  • That the Judicial Magistrates, while dealing the petitions under Sections 156(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 are directed to keep in mind the narratives in Lalitha Kumari’s case with specific reference to the cases, which might require a preliminary enquiry before issuing a direction to investigate and after careful perusal of the complaint.
  • That eschewing Section 156(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is only on exceptional and rarest of rare cases. Monstrosity of the offence, extreme official apathy and indifference, need to answer the judicial conscience, and existence of hostile environment are few of the factors to be borne in mind to bring a case under the rarest of rare one.

 Disclaimer: The entire contents of this article have been prepared on the basis of relevant provisions and as per the information existing at the time of the preparation. Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the information provided, author assume no responsibility, therefore. Users of this information are expected to refer to the relevant existing provisions of applicable Laws and take appropriate advice of consultants. The user of the information agrees that the information is not professional advice and is subject to change without notice. Author assume no responsibility for the consequences of the use of such information.

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