Police must register the FIR says Supreme Court

It has been felt many a times that police do not register the FIR even in the cognizable offences and the complainant is kept in dark and he keep on requesting the police authorities to register the FIR.  Now this menace has been solved, as the Supreme Court has ruled that police are mandatorily required to register the FIR when approached by complainants willing to report a cognizable offence.

The five judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam said in Lalita Kumari Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh that action will be taken against the police officer for his failure to register a First Information Report (FIR) on the complaint of a cognizable offence. The bench, in its ruling, stated that adequate disciplinary action must be taken against all police officers who fail to register a First Information Report (FIR) on complaints against cognizable offence. The bench also stated that all preliminary investigations must be completed within no more than seven days. The objective of preliminary investigations, according to the law, is just to evaluate whether or not the complaint provides sufficient information about a serious offence (instead of evaluating the veracity of the complaint).

The Supreme Court issued the following Guidelines regarding the registration of FIR:-

(i)   Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code, if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation.

(ii)   If the information received does not disclose a cognizable offence but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a  preliminary  inquiry  may  be  conducted only  to ascertain whether cognizable offence is disclosed or not.

(iii)   If  the inquiry discloses the commission of  a cognizable offence, the  FIR  must be registered. In cases where preliminary inquiry ends in closing the complaint, a copy of the entry of such closure must be supplied to the first informant forthwith and not later than  one week.  It must disclose reasons in brief  for closing the complaint and not proceeding further.

(iv)   The police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering offence if cognizable offence is disclosed. Action must be taken against erring officers who do not register the FIR if information received by him discloses a cognizable offence.

(v)   The scope of preliminary inquiry is not to verify the veracity or otherwise of the information received but only  to ascertain  whether  the information  reveals any cognizable offence.

(vi)   As  to  what  type  and  in  which  cases  preliminary inquiry is to be conducted will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. The category of cases in which preliminary inquiry may be made are as under:

(a) Matrimonial disputes/ family disputes

(b) Commercial offences

(c) Medical negligence cases

(d) Corruption cases

(e)   Cases where there is abnormal delay/laches  in initiating criminal prosecution, for example, over 3 months delay in reporting the matter without satisfactorily explaining the reasons for delay. The aforesaid are only illustrations and not exhaustive of all conditions which may warrant preliminary inquiry.

(vii)  While  ensuring  and  protecting  the  rights  of  the accused and the complainant, a preliminary inquiry should  be  made  time  bound  and  in  any  case  it should not exceed 7 days. The fact of such delay and the causes of it must be reflected in the General Diary entry.

(viii)  Since the General Diary/Station Diary/Daily Diary is the record of all information received in a police station, we direct that all information relating to cognizable offences, whether resulting in registration of FIR or leading to an inquiry, must be mandatorily and meticulously reflected in the said Diary and the decision to conduct a preliminary inquiry must also be reflected, as mentioned above.


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