It is always said that young students are the future of our country. Recently,
there has been an increase in student activism where students, especially
university going students, have started speaking up against malpractices
committed by those around them. Popular resentment movements have been organized
against measures taken by the government that are oppressive and arbitrary in
the opinion of these students.
There are multiple instances of movements by
students against their college administrations as well. For example, many
students organized mass protests and marches against the Jawaharlal Nehru
University's decision to increase the hostel fees. With the rapidly rising
activism, the Police have also simultaneously started taking actions against
Occurrences of students' arrest are not limited to their
participation in these movements but also include situations where police
officers use their authority to arrest or proceed against students for sitting
in parks with their partners, smoke in public, consume alcohol, breaches of any
curfew or lockdown imposed etc. While some of these actions are genuine and
lawful, others abuse the police's power.
On many occasions, the Police have registered criminal cases against students,
which hampers these students' careers and growth. They cause hardship to
innocent students by affecting them emotionally and economically. They may be
denied various opportunities on account of a criminal record and may be unable
to build a future of their choice. This article lists out the remedies which can
be availed by such students against false and frivolous FIRs that are registered
by the Police.
How does a criminal record affect the students?
Criminal charges against any person can have a serious impact on their lives,
especially in their professional careers, and must not be taken lightly. Many
students wish to pursue higher studies abroad, and having any such criminal
record drastically reduces their chances of getting into good universities.
Criminal convictions negatively reflect upon any opportunities for higher
As per the data collected by Criminal Watchdog, about 66.4% of
university colleges require a declaration of an applicant's criminal records. In
such cases, the odds of admission depend upon the gravity of the offence for
which the applicant student has been charged or convicted. Generally speaking,
charges of violent and sexual offences will lead to rejection, while persons
accused of petty offences may be allowed depending upon the circumstances and
the desired course.
Since foreign studies are usually very expensive, most
students seek financial aids through scholarships and loans; having a criminal
record reduces the likelihood of obtaining any grants, aids or loans.
Furthermore, as students seek housing facilities in or around campus, many
people will be less interested in giving housing facility to students accused or
convicted of a crime. Difficulties may even arise in the grant of visa
application and other clearance by an immigration authority.
A student's past criminal record can impact them when they wish to stay within
India. For instance, in the State of West Bengal and ors. v. Nazrul Islam
Supreme Court has explicitly held that a person accused of any offence or
against whom criminal charges have been levied is not eligible for appointment
to a government job unless an order of acquittal has been passed.
Thus, if any
of the students falsely implicated by the Police wish to be in government
service, they cannot do so unless they have been acquitted by the Court, which
may take years. Some careers require the obtaining of a character fitness
certificate before a person can enter into services.
For example, law students
are required to pass the character fitness test before obtaining their
enrollment with the Bar Council. If medical students are charged with a misdemeanour or any offence related to drugs, they can be prohibited from
practicing medicine altogether. Thus, having any false allegations levied or
proved before a court of law can adversely impact a student's career.
Instances of students' arrest by Police
In the past few years, the arrests of many students for participating in
protests have come to light. In January 2020, the Hyderabad police registered a
criminal case against six students of the University of Hyderabad for attempting
to take out a rally. The students alleged that thePolice maltreated them, and a
complaint was filed without any reason against them.
Similarly, Commissioner KT Balakrishnasuomotu registered a case for the offence of sedition against
students in Bangalore on the basis of a video clip of them holding placards that
said free Kashmir
. The Delhi police booked some students of the JamiaMilliaIslamia University, including Umar Khalid, under the Unlawful
Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly conspiring the communal riots that
took place during demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Police Clearance Certificate
Having criminal cases registered against oneself can also create a hindrance in
obtaining a police clearance certificate (PCC). PCC is an official clearance
certificate that is issued to a person by the Police. It is mandatory for
immigration purposes, especially when one applies to obtain a visa in a foreign
country. Such a visa is required when a student wishes to either study further
or work in a country other than India.
While giving a clearance, the Police
scrutinize the record of the concerned individual, including instances of any
criminal behaviour or allegations. Sometimes, a PCC is also made a requirement
by individual firms or companies seeking to employ a national of a country other
than their own. Thus, when students have, in their past, any association with
criminal groups or instances of unethical behaviour or false criminal cases
lodged against them, they will not be able to pursue a career abroad.
While the Police has the authority to deny issuing a PCC on the ground of a
pending criminal trial, an aggrieved student can file a writ petition under
Article 226 of the Constitution to direct the Police to issue a clearance
certificate. In DrShahul Hameed Aboobacker v. Regional Passport Officer
, it was
held that a person could be granted a PCC only in the absence of any adverse
information that renders them ineligible for the grant of travel facilities.
The pendency of a criminal case is not a reason by itself to render the individual
ineligible for grant of travel facilities, and one can obtain the permission of
the Court before which the case is pending and then travel abroad.
Remedies against false FIRs lodged by the Police
The police file fIRs only in cognizable cases, i.e. the cases that do not
require an arrest warrant from the Magistrate. False lodging of cases by the
Police can severely impact a student's life and career and is an outright abuse
of power. It is used as a means to suppress the voices of those who are in an
inferior position. Once a criminal complaint or an FIR is filed, there is less
possibility that the individual will not be proceeded against.
such situations, a student can take recourse to the following legal remedies:
Quashing of FIRUnder Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the High Court has
an inherent power to 'pass such orders as are necessary to prevent the abuse of
process of the Court or secure the ends of justice'. Section 482 bestows the
High Court with wide powers, and the Court has been approached on various
occasions to quash frivolous FIRs and complaints filed against persons.
Section does not list out any well-defined grounds for quashing of FIR, but the
Courts have evolved various considerations to be looked at in such situations.
In Prashant Bharti v. NCT of Delhi, the Court held that in petitions for
quashing of FIRs, the Court must ascertain whether the material presented by the
accused person is sufficient to persuade any reasonable man to believe that the
allegations are false or lack any factual basis. It should also be seen whether
the continuance of a criminal case will serve the ends of justice or misuse the
process of the Court.
In RP Kapur v. the State of Punjab, it was held by the Apex Court that a
criminal proceeding could be quashed if any of the three situations are
satisfied, namely, there is a legal bar against the endurance of the
proceedings, or the contents of the FIR do not, prima facie, being out a
criminal offence or when there is no evidence of the commission of such
A writ petition under Article 226
A falsely accused student can also invoke writ jurisdiction of the High Courts
for quashing of false complaints or FIRs. A criminal writ petition can be filed
before the High Court praying for dismissing the criminal charges. In Kapil
Aggarwal v. Sanjay Sharma, the Supreme Court held that if an FIR has been filed
only to harass the accused person or is an abuse of the process of Courts or it
amounts to pressurizing the accused, the High Courts can exercise their powers
under Article 226 of the Constitution or Section 482 of CrPC and quash the
Filing a complaint under the Indian Penal CodeLodging of a false FIR or criminal complaint is an offence under the Indian
Penal Code (IPC). Both Sections 182 and 211 of IPC deal with filing a false
report, but Section 182 applies only to private persons for knowingly providing
false information to a public servant, whereas Section 211 can be used to proceed
against any person instituting false criminal proceedings against a person.
provision lays down that whoever, with a mala fide intention to cause injury to
another institutes any criminal proceedings against them when they know that
there is no legal or factual ground for such proceeding against the other, shall
be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to seven years
and be liable to pay fine.
Similarly, under Section 220 of IPC, any person having the legal authority to
commit a person to trial or keep them in confinement, corruptly or maliciously
keeps them in confinement or commits them for trial and acts contrary to law
shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend up to seven years or fine
or with both.
Filing of unnecessary and false cases against innocent persons amounts to gross
injustice. It causes them to suffer mentally and constitutes a wasteful
expenditure. If students are arbitrarily booked for exercising their rights or
without any fault, they will be oppressed and denied opportunities to better
This may result in the blocking of several career paths and may
impose restrictions on their movement. The law provides remedies to students who
are falsely implicated or without any reasonable grounds. It is imperative that
abuse of power by the Police must be checked, and innocent persons must be
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Kishan Dutt Kalaskar
Authentication No: MA34083011145-19-0521