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Protest Petition or Narazi Petition: Examining Legal Aspects

The concept of a 'protest petition' or 'narazi petition' is not explicitly defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure. In fact, it is not mentioned at all in the Code. It is a practice that has been recognized and originated from the filing of a police report by the investigating agency under Section 173 (2) of the CrPC. Essentially, a protest petition is a formal objection filed against the Final Report. It may contain various requests, such as rejecting the Final Report and summoning the accused under Section 190 (1) (b) of the CrPC, ordering further investigation, or treating the protest petition as a complaint.

A Police Report submitted to the magistrate or judge after completion of the investigation can be in the form of Charge Sheet or Final Report as True, Final Report as False, Final Report as Mistake of Fact, Final Report as Mistake of Law or Final report as Non-cog and in all these cases protest petition can be filed with the magistrate by the complainant on being dissatisfied with the course and manner of investigation of the case by the investigating police officer.

A protest petition can be filed by the person who lodged the First Information report (FIR). While the Code does not contain any provision for the informant who filed the first information report to submit a protest petition, this has traditionally been allowed. The accused is not required to be present during hearing of the protest petition. One may file a protest petition if dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint by the police or court.

This is usually done when the authorities, such as the magistrate, are contemplating closing the case due to insufficient evidence on the basis of final report submitted by the investigating officer under section 173 (2) CrPC. The individual submitting the protest petition aims to dispute this ruling and bring forth their concerns to the court.

When an individual is unhappy with the police report presented to the court, they may file a protest petition, which is a formal document. This is done by the aggrieved party or complainant and is considered a complaint according to Section 190 (a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

A protest petition is designed to bring the court's focus to the information present in the case diary, which suggests the accused's participation in the offence. It acts as a platform for the plaintiff to provide further proof or reasoning to bolster their argument.

Once the investigating police submit a final report to a magistrate in accordance with Section 173(2)(i), various outcomes may arise. The report may indicate that certain individuals have committed an offence, prompting the magistrate to consider their options. They may accept the report, acknowledging the offence and initiating legal proceedings by issuing process.

A Magistrate is empowered by Section 190 (1) (b) of the CrPC to issue summonses to individuals who have not been named as defendants in the charge sheet or implicated in the initial police report. On the other hand, they may disagree with the report, resulting in the termination of proceedings or the consideration of additional evidence provided by the investigating officer.

Alternatively, the magistrate may choose to direct further investigation under Section 156(3) and require the police to submit a supplementary report in accordance with Section 173(8) of the Code. In addition, the magistrate may decide to treat a protest complaint as a formal complaint and proceed in accordance with Sections 200 and 202 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Filing of Protest Petition on Submission of Charge Sheet:
Even upon the submission of a charge sheet, it is possible to file a protest petition. In the event that an individual does not agree with the details included in the charge sheet or feels that it does not accurately portray their perspective, they have the option to submit a protest petition in order to dispute it. This grants them the opportunity to present their opposition and supporting proof to the court for evaluation.

Number of Times a Protest Petition can be Filed:
There is no set restriction on the number of times a protest petition can be submitted in a case. Nevertheless, it is crucial to understand that constantly filing similar petitions without fresh evidence or significant justifications may not be viewed positively by the court and may result in repercussions for abusing the legal system. Each petition should offer novel details or legal points to be taken into account.

Manipulating or exploiting the legal system or processes for personal gain or to cause harm to others is known as abusing the legal system. This can involve actions like initiating baseless lawsuits, making deceitful allegations, unjustifiably prolonging proceedings, or engaging in other unethical or deceptive tactics. These actions not only undermine the credibility of the legal system but can also lead to penalties such as fines, reprimands, or potentially even criminal charges. It is crucial to uphold the integrity of the legal process and use it ethically and responsibly in the pursuit of justice and the maintenance of the rule of law.

Court Judgments:
  • According to a two-judge panel consisting of Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice Dipankar Datta, it is worth noting that despite the police's final report being accepted and the accused being discharged, the Magistrate still has the authority to acknowledge the offense through a complaint or a Protest Petition with similar allegations. This can occur even after the acceptance of the final report.
  • In the case of Vishnu Kumar Tiwari v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court addressed the proper approach for judges to take when handling protest petitions. This scenario involves a situation where an individual has filed a complaint with the police, but their claim is dismissed for lack of evidence. In such a scenario, the judge must inform the complainant if they agree with the police's decision. The complainant then has the opportunity to present their arguments as to why they believe the decision is incorrect by filing a protest petition, even though it is not officially permitted.

    The Supreme Court stated that if the protest petition meets all the requirements of a complaint, the judge can treat it as such and take appropriate action. However, if the judge fails to do so, the complainant has the right to file a new complaint, and the judge must then follow the standard procedures for handling complaints as required under Sections 200 and 202 CrPC. Although it is common practice, there is no clause in the Criminal Procedure Code that allows the Informant/Complainant to submit a Protest Petition.
  • In the case of Abhinandan Jha and others v. Dinesh Mishra (1967) 3 SCC 668, the Hon'ble Supreme Court explicitly stated that even if a report under Section 173 is submitted stating that no case is made out to summon an accused for trial, a Magistrate has the power to order further investigation under Section 156 (3) of the Code. Additionally, if protest petitions are filed, they can be treated as complaints and be proceeded with according to the law. The Magistrate is not obligated to follow the opinion of the investigating officer.
  • The Supreme Court, in the case of Zunaid v. State of UP, observed that a magistrate has the discretion to treat a protest petition as a complaint case when they receive a final report. Zunaid had filed a First Information Report (FIR) accusing the accused of attacking and abusing him and his family due to an ongoing feud. This resulted in the police filing charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. However, upon receiving the final police report, Zunaid was dissatisfied and filed a protest petition with the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM).

    The CJM rejected the police report and treated the protest petition as a complaint case, summoning the accused after recording statements. The accused challenged this decision in the Allahabad High Court, which ruled in their Favor. Zunaid then appealed to the Supreme Court against the High Court's decision. In this legal dispute, the core issue is the magistrate's authority to convert a protest petition into a formal complaint case. Zunaid, unhappy with the conclusions of the police report, sought recourse through the protest petition process.

    The CJM's decision to treat the petition as a complaint case sparked a legal battle, with the accused questioning the magistrate's power. The matter eventually reached the Supreme Court, where Zunaid appeals against the High Court's ruling, seeking a review of the CJM's decision and the summoning of the accused to face trial based on his complaint.

The use of a protest petition is essential in maintaining a delicate equilibrium between the interests of the State, represented by the prosecuting agency, and the individual rights and concerns of the complainant. It emphasizes the need for a fair and inclusive approach to justice that takes into consideration the perspectives of all parties involved.

In essence, the protest petition, as defined in the Criminal Procedure Code, is a vital component of India's criminal justice system. It upholds values such as fairness, responsibility, and prioritizing the victim's needs, thereby enhancing the legal structure and striving towards a just outcome while upholding the rights of all stakeholders.

Written By: Md.Imran Wahab, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565 

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