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Is A Police Officer Bound To Register FIR?

There is a lot of disparity in registration of fir by police officer across the country which is sadden as it hampers the legal justice.

This question was meticulously scrutinized in a landmark case called Lalita Kumari vs. State of UP in which the judges held that the police officer is bound to register a FIR upon receiving the information of the commission of a cognizable offence.

Steps taken by the judges.
A two judges' bench in 2008 issued a notice to UOI [Union Of India] the chief secretaries of all the states and director general of commissioner of police to take effective steps in registration of FIR failure to comply with the order the complainant can move to magistrate by filing complaint petition praying for appropriates steps to be taken and apprehending the accused.

What is FIR and its importance.

The word FIR stands for first information report. According to the section 154 sub section [1] of CPC,
FIR is the very first information recorded by the police officer. The chief role of the FIR is to set the law in motion.
[2] the information received of cognizable offence is recorded so that it cannot be embellished.

Facts about FIR

Each FIR has a unique annual number which helps to track over the registration of FIR and keep strict control by the supervisory police officer and by the courts.

Difference between General diary and FIR
  1. General diary consists of day-to-day proceedings and its copy is not sent to judicial proceeding FIR is a summary of the incident.
  2. Signature of complainant is not needed of general diary. Signature of complainant is needed on FIR
  3. It is only the gist of the offence to be noted in the general diary Complete complaint to be jolted down n FIR.

What is cognizable offence?

Cognizable offences are Offences heinous in nature in which the law gives the power to the police officer to arrest the culprit without any warrant.
Section 2 [c] of CRPC deals with cognizable offence.

What is the section pertaining to registration of FIR?

Section 154 Of Crpc Deals With Registration It Says:
every information related to the commission of cognizable offence if given orally must be reduced into writing, or in writing to officer in charge of police station and signed by the informant must be entered in a book.

Repercussion on the account of failure to register FIR.
Section 166 of IPC deals with the disobeying of law and failure
to perform duty by a public officer.
166- if a public officer fails to record information related to cognizable offence, he will be rigorously punished for term not less than 6 months but can exceed to 2 years.

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution

Article 21 gives the right that no person shall be deprived of his fundamental right.
Non registration of FIR curtails the fundamental right of complainant

Whether credibility of information necessary?

The police officer cannot refuse the registration of FIR on the ground that he is not satisfied with the credibility of the information given by the complainant.

Is it necessary to conduct preliminary inquiry?

In case of cognizable offence conducting preliminary inquiry is not necessary.
However, in certain cases preliminary inquiry is important.

In which cases preliminary inquiry is to be conducted.
It is expressly held that preliminary inquiry has to be conducted in the following matters.
  1. Matrimonial/Family disputes
  2. Commercial offences
  3. Medical negligence
  4. Corruption cases
  5. Cases where there is atypical delay in initiating criminal prosecution

Examination of the case: Lalita Kumari versus state of Uttar Pradesh and others.
This case was filed under the writ of Habeas corpus by the minor through his father
Case was heard Before 5 judges' bench
Facts: A submission of complaint was submitted by the father of the minor to the officer of police station; however, no action was taken in regarding the submission.
Later FIR was registered however no steps were taken to recover the child.

Issue 1:
whether non registration of FIR infringes the right of the victim; shall non registration be considered as manipulation of the legal system.

2-if the complaint does not disclose the cognizable offence but the FIR is compulsory registered then will it be considered as infringement.
Law Involved -Section 154 of CRPC., Article 21 of Indian constitution.


Held:
Thus it was held that the registration of FIR is compulsory if the offence is cognizable in nature. However, if the information received does not disclose the commission of cognizable offence, then a preliminary injury may be conducted to ascertain the nature of the offence.

In the chronicles of investigation or after it if the police found out that the information given by the complainant was mendacious in nature, police will have the option to prosecute the complainant.

In case of preliminary inquiry: the inquiry should be done within 7 days and in failure to do so the reason of delay has to be mentioned in the general diary.

If the preliminary inquiry ends with closing the complaint the reason for the ending coupled with the copy of the entry of such closure must be supplied to the first informant within one week.

The officer who tries to get away from his duty of registering the information must be severely punished.

The court also directed that the general diary should consist of the status of information, whether the information received was pen downed to writing and the updates of the inquiry and the aforesaid was made mandatory.

The court also suggested that if a police officer refuses to exercise the jurisdiction vested in him the deprived person can send the information in writing by post to the superintendent of the police.

Conclusion:
With the help of an important case we were able to understand the duty of police officers and right of citizens as well non- citizens. Non registration of F.I.R not only violates the legal right of a person guaranteed in a statute but also infringes the constitutional right of individual. Thus, we should be aware of our common right and not get mistreated by government officials who are not performing their duty diligently.

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