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The Police cannot refuse to register FIR


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When anyone who has seen the occurrence of criminal activity or has even slight knowledge of it, the police on receiving the complaint has no option but to register it and thereafter start investigation.[1] It has no discretion or authority to enquire about credibility of information before registering the case.[2] Where the police refused to register FIR on the basic of a written report on the ground of false allegations as concluded in an ex parte preliminary enquiry, the High Court directed the registration of the FIR and fresh investigation treating the ex parte preliminary enquiry as non est[3]. It has been held that information disclosing cognizable offence is sine qua non for recording FIR and the police cannot refuse to register the case on the ground that it is either not reliable or credible[4].

The registration of FIR for the offence you know is your duty and that of the police to not to refuse to register the FIR. Refusal to record the FIR on the ground that the place of crime does not fall within the territorial jurisdiction of the police-station amounts to dereliction of the duty. The police shall register the information as ‘Zero FIR’ and then pass it to the police station that has jurisdiction over it. ‘Zero FIR’ is a FIR that can be lodged in any police station irrespective of its jurisdiction and later it can be forwarded to the respective police station. Mere delay in logging FIR is no ground of its refusal. However, the court can question the credibility of information but the police has no discretion to reject the same on the ground of delay[5].

No duration of time can be fixed as reasonable for giving information to the police. In one case of rape, the brother of the victim submitted that after his return from the field he was informed that his sister had not returned home, he was informed by two co-villagers that she was seen with the accused, but did not lodged the report as honour of the family involved. The Court held that the delay in lodging FIR was reasonably explained and it cannot be said that FIR was lodged after consultation and deliberation. Section 154 of CrPC lefts no discretion on the police to decide whether or not to register the FIR. It is mandatory in nature and the concerned officer is duty bound to register the case on the basis of the information disclosing a cognizable offence.

[1] Munna Lal v. State of H.P. 1992Cr LJ 1558 (HP)

[2] Naurata Ram v. State of Haryana, 1995 Cr LJ 1568 (P&H)

[3] Tulsi Ram v. State of M.P., 1993 Cr LJ 1165 (MP)

[4] Gurmito v. State of Punjab, 1996 Cr LJ 1254 (P&H)

[5] Ram Singh v. State of M.P. 1989 Cr LJ NOC 206 (MP)


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