Criminal Law- Supreme Court’s Recent Verdict on FIR Registration and Investigation

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June 20, 2019

In a recent case taken up by the Supreme Court in the case of C.Kumaravel v. The Director of Police & ors., the Supreme Court has reiterated the important tenets pertaining to investigation by Magistrate under Section 156(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure. They are as under:

  • That Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure cannot be invoked in all circumstances. It is not an alternative remedy to Section 156(3) of CrPC but a repository of inherent power.
  • That normal course of remedy on a failure or refusal to record the information is Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure after due compliance of Section 154(3) of CrPC
  • That a petition can be filed invoking the inherent jurisdiction of this Court only after the completion of 15 days from the date of receipt of the information by the Station House Officer. The Registry shall not receive any petition before the expiry of 15 days aforesaid.
  • That no petition shall be entertained without exhausting the remedy under Section 154(3) of CrPC
  • That an informant can send substance of the information to the Superintendent of Police on knowing the decision of the Station House Officer in not registering the case and proceeding with the preliminary enquiry. After conducting the preliminary enquiry, the Station House Officer’s decision in either registering the compliant or closing it will have to be intimated to the informant immediately and in any case not later than 7 days. Once such a decision is made, the informant cannot invoke Section 482 Cr.P.C.as the remedy lies elsewhere.
  • The directions issued by the Director General of Police in the circulars referred are to be strictly complied with by all the Station House Officers.
  • The affidavit to be filed shall contain particulars regarding the date of complaint, receipt and the date of sending substances of the information to the superintendent of Police under Section 154(3) of CrPC and its receipt. The Registry shall not number any petition without due compliance.
  • That the Judicial Magistrates, while dealing the petitions under Sections 156(3) of CrPC are directed to keep in mind the narratives in Lalitha Kumari’s case with specific reference to the cases, which might require a preliminary enquiry before issuing a direction to investigate and after careful perusal of the complaint.
  • That eschewing Section 156(3) of CrPC is only on exceptional and rarest of rare cases. Monstrosity of the offence, extreme official apathy and indifference, need to answer the judicial conscience, and existence of hostile environment are few of the factors to be borne in mind to bring a case under the rarest of rare one.