OTHER ASPECTS DEALING WITH FIR UNDER CrPC @LexCliq by Anisha Roy

OTHER ASPECTS DEALING WITH FIR UNDER CrPC

REGISTRATION OF FIR

The question whether it is obligatory for the police to register FIR on information given by an informant has been answered in the affirmative by the five-member Bench in Lalita Kumari v. Govt. of U.P. It has been categorically ruled that the provisions of Section 154 (1) is mandatory and the officer concerned is duty bound to register the case on the basis of information disclosing commission of cognizable offence. In the other words, it is mandatory provision. However, if no cognizable offence is made out in the information given, then the FIR need not be registered immediately and the police may conduct a preliminary verification for the limited purpose of ascertaining as to whether a cognizable offence has been committed. The Court has mentioned some such areas as matrimonial family disputes, medical negligence cases, etc.

 

EVIDENTIARY VALUE OF FIR

The police can make three different kinds of statements. The first kind of statement is one which can be recorded as an FIR, the second kind of statement is one which can be recorded by the police during the investigation, and third kind of statement is any kind of statement which would not fall under any of the two categories mentioned above. Evidence is the matter of testimony manifesting fact on particular precision or circumstances. The first information report is not considered a substantive piece of evidence in the court of law because it is not given in a trial, given in the absence of oath, and is not scrutinized by cross-examination. But the relative importance of a first information report is far greater than any other statement recorded by police during the course of investigation. It is the foremost information the police gets about commission of an offence and thus it can be used to corroborate the story put forward by the informant u/s 157 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 or to contradict his version of facts u/s 145 of the Act in case he is summoned as a witness in the case by court. “The contents of the FIR can only be used for contradiction and corroboration of the maker and not any other eye witness”. It was held in Pandurang Chandrakant Mhatre vs. State of Maharashtra, that it is fairly well settled that first information report is not a substantive piece of evidence and it can be used only to discredit the testimony of the maker thereof and it cannot be utilised for contradicting or discrediting the testimony of other witnesses.

 

WHAT IF A POLICEMAN REFUSES TO RECORD AN FIR?

The object of Section 154 will be defeated if the police officer in charge of the police station refuses to record the information as required by the provisions of section 154 (1). Therefore, sub-section (3) of Section 154 provides a remedy in such a situation. According to Section 154 (3), if any person is aggrieved by a refusal on the part of the police officer in charge of a police station to record the information, he may send by post the substance of such information in writing to the Superintendent of Police concerned. If the Superintendent is satisfied that the information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, he shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by a subordinate police officer in the manner provided by the Code. One has the option to file a private complaint before the court having jurisdiction. One can always approach the State Human Rights Commission or National Human Rights Commission in case the police acts in a negligent or biased manner. Section 154 (3) further provides that such subordinate police officer investigating the offence shall have aa the powers of an officer in charge of police station in relation to that offence.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN FIR & A POLICE COMPLAINT

The main point of difference between a first information report and a police complaint is that an FIR relates a cognizable offence whereas a police complaint can be filed for both non-cognizable and cognizable class of offences. Though the basic meaning of both is a complaint but they are different in terms of offences they deal with, punishments, legal consequences, evidentiary value, etc. further, a complaint is to be given to a magistrate either by the way of spoken words or in writing, whereas the first information report is lodged at the police station nearby the place of commission of crime. In the case of a first information report, the offence involved is of cognizable nature and thus the police has authority to initiate the investigation in the said case without prior permission from the Magistrate and then file a charge sheet. On the other hand, when a Magistrate takes cognizance of an offence on the basis of a complaint, he orders an investigation in the matter and can also direct the police to lodge an FIR if he feels that the offence is of a serious nature. He is not empowered to take sou moto cognizance on the complaint if he is satisfied that there is no grave offence requiring an immediate course of action. He can act upon the complaint only if it reveals a prima facie commission of an offence. The Court in the matter of P. Kunhumuhammed v. State of Kerala held that, “the report of a police officer following an investigation contrary to Section 155(2)(3) could be treated as complaint under Section 2(d) and Section 190(1)(a) if at the commencement of the investigation the police officer is led to believe that the case involved the commission of a cognizable offence or if there is a doubt about it and investigation establishes only commission of a non-cognizable offence.

QUASHING OF FIR

The Indian legal system has empowered the High Courts with power to quash criminal proceedings in a case if it is satisfied that such quashing is necessary to meet the ends of justice and to prevent misuse of power, rights, and freedoms provided by law. The High Court and Supreme Court have the power to quash F.I.R. on lawful grounds by the virtue of Sec. 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. These powers of the Courts are referred to as ‘inherent powers of Court’. In the matter of Devendra & Ors. v. State of U.P., it was held that, “it is now well-settled that high Courts ordinarily would exercise its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the CrPC if the allegations made in the FIR, even if given face value and taken to be correct in their entirety, do not make out any offence. When the allegations made in the FIR or the evidence collected during the investigation, do not satisfy the ingredients if an offence, the superior courts would not encourage harassment in a criminal court for nothing”

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