BY SANSKAR RASTOGI
LEGAL INTERN, H.K. LAW OFFICES
Nowadays, it is common for people to come across a refusal on registering FIR by the Police Officials. This article is all about what happens if the Police refuses to register FIR, what remedies do people have if they are refused for FIR registration on an unreasonable ground. For knowing the remedies and options which one can pursue against or on such refusal, we first have to know about FIR such as “what is FIR”, “procedure to file FIR”, “who can lodge FIR”.
WHAT IS FIR?
FIR denotes First Information Report. When a Police Officer gets an information about the commission of a cognizable offence, he must prepare a written document on that information which will be known as First Information Report (FIR). This first information report is considered as the base of an investigation and also considered as the first step of criminal proceeding which leads to trial and punishment of the offender. The first information report is generally written down by the police officer in charge of the particular Police Station.
The first information report must include the following as its contents:
- FIR Number
- Name of the complainant.
- Name and description of the offender.
- Description of offence.
- Place and time of offence.
- Witnesses, if any.
LAW INVOLVED IN REGISTRATION OF FIR
It is section 154(1) of criminal procedure code, 1973 which provides that the Police Officer in charge of a Police Station should register the information of a cognizable offence in writing which is given by the complainant.
It is section 155 of criminal procedure code, 1973 which provides that the complainant can lodge first information report in the case of non-cognizable offence but this section does not empower the Police Officer to arrest the accused without the order or warrant issued by the magistrate.
CONSEQUENCES ON REFUSAL OF REGISTERING FIR
It is often seen these days that the Police refuses to lodge first information report in certain cases, however if the Police Officer refuses to register the first information report, one can always use the internet for an online method of lodging first information report. But in our country many people do not know much about internet and have difficulty in learning the technicalities involved thereto, so it will be difficult for them to lodge the first information report online.
We can say that the consequences of not registering the first information report may be that the investigation may not be carry forward as the first information report is the basis of an investigation which is not registered. The offender can get away with the crime committed by him/her, if the first information report is denied to be registered.
The consequence on refusal of registering the first information report on the Police Officer may be of the imprisonment which will amount to 1 year, a writ petition can be filed against the concerned Police Officer or he may be punished according to the provisions of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
REMEDIES WHEN POLICE REFUSES TO FILE FIR
Section 154(3) of criminal procedure code, 1973 provides a remedy regarding the refusal to register first information report:
Superintendent of Police
If a Police Officer refuses to file first information report of any person having the knowledge about the commission of cognizable offence (hereinafter called as the informant) without any reasonable cause, then the person so refused can write a complaint of his case and can send it either to Senior Police Officer of that Police Officer who refused to register the first information report or to the Superintendent of Police or to the Commissioner of Police and he may send that complaint by post and a copy of that complaint can also be sent to the Chief Justice of High Court of the concerned state.
When the concerned Police Officer to whom the complaint was sent by the post, is done with analysing the complaint, the Superintendent of Police or the Commissioner of Police as think fit, can either investigate the matter themselves or may pass on the investigation of the matter to their subordinate and directs them to register first information report and he will direct them to do so only if the information discloses the cognizable offence.
Further Section 156(3) of Criminal procedure code, 1973 provides another remedy regarding the refusal to register first information report:
If the Police Officer denies to register the first information report of the informant without any reasonable cause, then the informant can write a complaint in the form of letter and can send it to the concerned Metropolitan Magistrate.
When the Metropolitan Magistrate is done with analysing the letter, the Metropolitan Magistrate will decide whether to take cognizance or not. The informant can also send an application to the Metropolitan Magistrate asking them to direct the Police Officer to register the first information report and investigate the case, then the Metropolitan Magistrate, if thinks fit, may order to register the first information report for that offence, to investigate the case and to file the report before him.
The informant can approach the Metropolitan Magistrate only when both the Police Officer in charge of the concerned Police Station and the Senior Police Officer has denied to lodge first information report.
Another remedy under article 226 of the Constitution of India is provided if the aggrieved person is not satisfied with the orders or relief which the abovementioned authorities provided:
If the Police Officer denies to register the first information report of the informant within the territorial jurisdiction of that Police Officer, then the person can approach to the Hon’ble High Court for the issuance of writ of mandamus against the Police Officer at fault. When the writ petition is filed the defaulting Police Officer have to give a valid reason for not registering the first information report, if he has no reasonable excuse for not registering the first information report the Police Officer at fault, will be suspended from the post of Police service as he failed to contribute in the administration of justice. The informant can also claim damages or compensation from the Police Officer for depriving the informant from his/her right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Human Rights Commission
The informant so denied of the registration of first information report can also approach either to the National Human Right Commission or to the State Human Right Commission by filing a complaint in the written form, against that Police Officer who refused to register the first information report of the informant.
RELEVANT CASE LAWS
Lalita Kumari V. Government of U.P.
The Apex Court in this case held that it is mandatory for every Police Officer in charge of their Police Station to register the first information report of any cognizable offence given by any person having knowledge of the same. If he did not register the first information report for the cognizable offence, then the legal action can be taken against the defaulting Police Officer.
The Apex Court also held that if the Police Officer is not sure that the information discloses the cognizable offence then the information needs a preliminary inquiry to ascertain whether cognizable offence is disclosed or not.
The Apex Court also mentioned some type of cases which needs preliminary inquiry as the information of that type of cases usually discloses cognizable offence:
- Matrimonial disputes or Family disputes,
- Commercial offences,
- Medical negligence,
- Corruption cases, etc.
Ram Bihari V. State of Madhya Pradesh
In this case the court stated that filing of an FIR is the basic right of every aggrieved person, to what extent the complaint gives true information about the offence is the matter to be decided by the court and in respect of truthfulness or otherwise the Police Officer cannot refuse to register the FIR of the aggrieved person.
Thus, the court after considering all the facts and circumstances of the present case directed the respondents to register the FIR lodged by the Petitioner within a period of one week.
Mohindro V. State of Punjab and Others
In this case the court stated that if the criminal case is not registered, means if FIR has not been registered no criminal case can be maintained and without any criminal case the enquiry into the offence cannot be made. It will consequently affect the victim as no investigation is made no case could be made and the accused remains unpunished.
In the present case police failed to register FIR for no reason, the court directed the Police to register the case and investigate the matter.
Ramesh Kumari V. State (NCT of Delhi)
In this case the court stated that the first stage or the first step towards justice in a criminal case is the stage of registration of crime and registration of crime i.e. registration of FIR is a mandatory duty to be performed by Police, in this case too it was stated that the Police Officer cannot refuse to register FIR on the ground of reliability of the information provided by the informant/complainant.
Finally, the court stated that the Officer in charge of a Police Station is statutorily obliged to register FIR if the information disclosing the cognizable offence is disclosed before him.
 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
 (2014) 2 SCC 1.
 Writ Petition 10098 of 2005
 AIR 2006 SC 1322 : (2006) 2 SCC 677