Mandatory Registration Of FIR For Any Cognizable Offense

Author: Jay Kumar Gupta Student at NMIMS School Of Law, Bengaluru


Introduction

More than half of the participants in a survey which was carried out by the Indian Institute of Public Opinion in New Delhi on the “Image of the Police in India,” found that non-registration of complaints is a general practice in police stations.

In the famous Supreme Court ruling in Lalita Kumari vs Govt. of U.P. and Ors[1], Hon’ble Apex Court acknowledged that, the percentage of F.I.R.s not registered is about comparable to the number of F.I.R.s registered, i.e., around 60 lakh cognizable offenses in 2012. Even when the offense is cognizable, the Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms, chaired by Dr. Justice V.S. Malimath, stated that police officers routinely refuse to listen to the complaint and send the complainant away, stating that the offense is not cognizable.

FIR

A FIR, often referred to as the First Information Report, is a report of any cognizable offence to the police filed by the victim or any other person who recognizes that a cognizable act has been committed.

What Section 154 of CrPC says?

An applicant can make an application to the concerned Superintendent of Police disclosing the details of the offence, and if the superintendent of police is contented that the details disclose the happening of a cognizable offence, he can either personally investigate the case or direct his sub – ordinate officer to do so, as per Section 154 of the CrPC[2]. If the superintendent of police denies lodging an FIR, the injured party may submit an application to a judicial magistrate as per section 156(3) of the CrPC[3], revealing details about the offenses in the application and urging that the magistrate pass an order for the registration of the FIR. If the magistrate is contented that the information disclosed in the application divulges the occurrence of a cognizable offense, the magistrate may order an inquiry under the provisions of Section 156(3) CrPC[4]. The requirement of Section 154 of the Code is that the appropriate officer must lodge the case based on evidence revealing a cognizable offense[5].


Section 154(1) Code of Criminal Procedure[6]

It stipulates that whenever the officer-in-charge receives any information about the commission of any cognizable offence, whether orally or in writing, that information must be reduced to writing by him or by another official under his supervision. The informant should be informed of the writing, and after his approval, a signature of him should be obtained. The final copy must be recorded in a book and kept correctly and well maintained by the official in charge in accordance with the state government’s regulations in this regard. [7]


Provisions under Section 2(c) of the CrPC[8]

A “cognizable” offence is one for which a police officer, in accordance with the first schedule or any other legislation in effect at the time, may arrest without a warrant.


Section 157 in the code of Criminal Procedure,1973.

It guarantees that the preliminary investigation method is followed.[9]


What the word “shall” conveys?

The word “Shall” appears in section 154(1) of the law, indicating that it is required to file an F.I.R. if the information given to the police reveals the occurrence of a cognizable offense. Because there is no “room for doubt” in this section, “shall” means “must.” Additionally, there is no qualifying adjective before facts, like whether details should be logical or credible, and this is not a prerequisite for the registration of a case. Even if your information is incomplete, the police must nonetheless record your F.I.R..[10].


Home Ministry Guidelines, 2013

In 2013, a home ministry guideline was published stipulating that there should be no discrimination in the registration of FIRs. According to the advisory, the registration of FIR is mandatory. Furthermore, An order was delivered to all police stations under these guidelines that the prima facie offense (cognizable offense) must be documented in F.I.R. without even any previous inquiry[11].


Law Commission Report No. 41

The compulsory registration of F.I.R. is mentioned in this report-The CrPC, 1898, and no police officer can contradict it. A police officer may inform you that they have the right to question you under Item No. 18 and may even show you state government standards that require them to make an initial examination before proceeding with the F.I.R. However, because the law commission report is made by the parliament, it will have more weightage in such circumstances.

Article 254(1) in the Constitution of India[12]

(1) If a provision of state legislation conflicts with a provision of a law established by Parliament, then any provision of existing legislation relating to one of the items on the concurrent list can be enacted or amended by the parliament.[13]

(2) The law of the Parliament, whether passed before or after the legislation of the state legislature, shall prevail, and the state legislature’s law shall be null and void to the extent of the repugnancy. [14].


Section 39 of the CRPC,1973[15]

Here, the public is asked to report certain crimes.

  1. Every individual……….. should immediately disclose details to the closest Magistrate or police officer of such council or intension.[16]


Supreme Court Ruling in support of Section 154 of CrPC

  1. In the case of State of Haryana and Ors vs Ch. Bhajan Lal and others[17],The SC held that revealing a cognizable offense is placed in front of an officer-in-charge of a police station that satisfies the criteria of Section 154(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, that very same police officer has no other option but to enter the substance of the information in the prescribed form, that is, to lodge a case based on such data[18].


  1. In the case of Ramesh Kumari vs State (N.C.T. of Delhi) and Ors[19], The non-qualification of the term “information” mentioned in section 154(1) of CrPc was upheld in this judgment to mean that the police officer could not deny recording any information that is relevant to the occurrence of the cognizable offense. The words ‘reasonability’ or ‘credibility’ of the provided material are not required for a case to be filed. The provisions of section 154 of the law are mandatory, and the appropriate official is required to file a complaint based on such information indicating a cognizable infraction.[20].


  1. In the case of State of Maharashtra and Ors vs Shiv das Singh Chavan and others[21], in para 25 of the judgment, it was said that the legal position is well established that if the information is lodged with the police and the information discloses the conduct of a cognizable offense, the police must file the First Information Report in compliance with section 154…[22]


  1. In the case of Lalita Kumari vs Govt of U.P. and Ors[23], It was ruled that lodging of the F.I.R. as per Section 154 of the Code is compulsory and that no preliminary inquiry is permissible. If a cognizable offense is divulged, the police officer cannot escape his obligation to record the offense. If evidence gathered by him reveals a cognizable offense, strict actions will be taken against defaulting officers who refuse or fail to register the F.I.R.[24]


Conclusion

The research reports were surprising and worrisome, urging everyone to take action to address the problem. The establishment of a monitor authority by the competent authorities is urgently required to reduce the number of incidents of non-registration of FIRs. Despite several Supreme Court Guidelines, the data shows that there has been no improvement in reducing the number of non-registrations of FIR cases. Everyone must be informed that those in positions of authority cannot abuse their influence to encroach on citizens’ inherent rights. The significance of the CrPc. and provisions such as Sec. 154(1), should be thoroughly explained and disseminated to the general public.


References

[1] Lalita Kumari vs Govt. of U.P. and Ors, Citation Writ Petition (Criminal) No 68 of 2008[1]

[2] Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Section 154.

[3] Ysrao Judge, The power of the magistrate under Section 156(3) of Cr. P.C., Legal Service India (6 Feb. 2022 , 11:25 AM

http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/1142/The-Power-of-The-Magistrate-Under-Section-156-(3)-of-Cr.P.C.html#:~:text=156(3).%22&text=%22It%20is%20well%20settled%20that,the%20commission%20of%20an%20offence.

[4] Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 Section 156(3)

[5] Deepak Sharma, what is FIR? Legal Service India (6 Feb. 2022 , 23:03 PM)

https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-2897-what-is-an-fir-.html

[6] IndianKanoon.org, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/378667/#:~:text=(1)%20Every%20information%20relating%20to,reduced%20to%20writing%20as%20aforesaid%2C (last visited Feb 6,2022)

[7] ibid

[8] IndianKanoon.org, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1743414/ (last visited 6 Feb 2022)

[9] Ibid

[10] Supra Note 4

[11] Ministry of Home Affairs, Advisory on no discrimination in compulsory registration of FIRs-Regarding, No. 15011/91/2013-SC/ST-W,2015 (India)

https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/AdvisoryCompulsoryRegistrationFIRs_141015_3.pdf

[12] IndianKanoon.org, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/344383/ (last visited 6 Feb 2022)

[13] ibid

[14] ibid

[15] IndianKanoon.org, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1445515/ (last visited 6 Feb 2022)

[16] ibid

[17] State of Haryana and Ors vs Ch. Bhajan Lal and ors Equivalent citations :1992 AIR 604

[18] Ibid

[19] Ramesh Kumari vs State (N.C.T. of Delhi) and Ors Citation 2006(2) SCC 677

[20] ibid

[21] State of Maharashtra and Ors vs Shiv das Singh Chavan and others, Citation 2011(1) SCC 577

[22] Ibid

[23] Supra Note 1

[24] Ibid


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