Zero FIR Meant To Provide Quick Redressal To Victims; May Be Lodged At Any Police Station Irrespective Of Where Incident Took Place: Delhi HC
The Delhi High Court has recently expressed it's displeasure over the failure of Delhi Police in registration of FIR and illegal transfer of investigation to another Police Station in a rape case."This Court finds it unfortunate that institutions that are supposed to protect the life and liberty of common citizens are quick to shirk their responsibilities. This invariably weakens the trust...
The Delhi High Court has recently expressed it's displeasure over the failure of Delhi Police in registration of FIR and illegal transfer of investigation to another Police Station in a rape case.
"This Court finds it unfortunate that institutions that are supposed to protect the life and liberty of common citizens are quick to shirk their responsibilities. This invariably weakens the trust of common citizens that is imposed in these investigative agencies," observed Justice Subramonium Prasad.
The Bench was dealing with a petition filed by a woman, a resident of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, who had alleged that she was sexually assaulted and raped. The woman sought restoration of investigation by the GTB Enclave Police Station in Delhi which had illegally transferred the same to Ghaziabad's Indrapuram Police Station.
It was the case of the petitioner that on 23.07.2019, she had filed an FIR disclosing various incidents of sexual assault and rape committed against her from the year 2008 to 2019 at various places, including at jurisdiction of GTB Enclave police station. The Delhi Police registered a 'Zero FIR' and transferred the investigation to UP Police.
The plea had therefore sought directions on the SHO Police Station GTB Enclave to continue the investigation by registering the FIR and withdrawing the same from Indrapuram police station.
In the given facts of the case, the Court at the outset held that as per Section 154 CrPC, if any information relating to the commission of any cognizable offence is received by a Police Station, the Police is duty bound to register the FIR. However, if the crime does not occur within the jurisdiction of the said Police Station, then after registration of the 'Zero FIR', the same has to be transferred to the concerned Police Station where the offence has indeed been committed.
"Only difference between 'FIR' and 'Zero FIR' is that an FIR is registered where the incident has occurred within the jurisdiction of a particular Police Station, and a zero FIR can be lodged at any Police Station irrespective of where the incident has taken place."
"A Zero FIR is more efficient and is meant to provide quick redressal to the victim so that timely action can be taken after registration of the FIR."
In the instant case, the alleged offence was said to have taken place within the jurisdiction of Police Station GTB Enclave.
Therefore, the Court was of the opinion that the Police Station GTB Enclave was obligated to register an FIR and not a "Zero FIR", and not delve into whether the Petitioner resided in the city or what was the specific time, date and place of the alleged incident.
"By embarking on the journey of trying to get the investigation transferred to Ghaziabad, U.P., Police Station GTB Enclave has displayed a failure in dispensation of their obligation to take into account the seriousness and gravity of the offence that has been disclosed by the Petitioner in the complaint," the Court said.
Significantly, the provision of 'Zero FIR' came up as a recommendation in the Justice Verma Committee Report, in the new Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, after the horrendous Nirbhaya rape and murder case which took place in December 2012. The provision states: "A zero FIR can be filed by the victim, irrespective of their residence or place of occurrence of crime".
Thus, the Court was of the view that the mere disclosure that one of the incidents had taken place within the vicinity of Police Station GTB Enclave was sufficient for an FIR to be registered at that Police Station, and not a Zero FIR as was done in the case.
"Failure to register a regular FIR costs precious time that could be utilised in conducting the investigation and can also lead to destruction of important evidence," it added.
Accordingly, the Court disposed of the plea by directing Indrapuram Police Station to hand-over the documents to GTB Enclave Police Station for conducting investigation in the matter.