30 Oct 2020 6:44 AM GMT
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has cautioned that even though registration of FIR is mandatory when a complaint discloses commission of a cognizable offence, "the arrest of the accused is not automatic on registration of an FIR." The Single Bench of Justice Raj Mohan Singh has held, "The arrest cannot be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of commission of an offence....
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has cautioned that even though registration of FIR is mandatory when a complaint discloses commission of a cognizable offence, "the arrest of the accused is not automatic on registration of an FIR."
The Single Bench of Justice Raj Mohan Singh has held,
"The arrest cannot be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of commission of an offence. It would be prudent for a Police Officer not to arrest a person without a reasonable satisfaction after some investigation as to the genuineness and bona fide of a complaint and reasonable belief in the context of complicity of the accused. The arrest of person and registration of FIR are not directly linked as both have two concepts, operating under different parameters."
It has further cautioned that misuse of the aforesaid concept of arrest, laid down in the landmark judgment in Lalita Kumari v. Government of Uttar Pradesh, would result in action against the errant Police Officer under Section 166 of IPC.
The Court was hearing plea filed by one Hitesh Bhardwaj under Section 482 of CrPC, seeking appropriate directions to the concerned Police station to register a FIR in pursuance of the criminal complaint filed by him in respect of murder his mother's alleged murder by his brother.
It was submitted by the Petitioner's counsel Abhinav Sood, that the Police had refused to register a FIR after conducting a preliminary inquiry whereas, the Police cannot embark upon full scale inquiry into the complaint without registration of FIR.
Agreeing with this submission, the Single-Judge observed,
"Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 Cr.P.C., if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence. No preliminary inquiry is permitted in such a situation. Preliminary inquiry can be conducted in matrimonial cases, case relating to family disputes, commercial offences, medical negligence cases, corruption cases and the cases where there is abnormal delay of more than 3 months in initiating criminal prosecution or reporting the matter to the police without satisfactory explanation."
"There is no discretion left with the Police Officer to register or not to register an FIR once information of a cognizable offence has been placed before him. Non-registration of criminal case leads to dilution of rules of law and lead to definite lawlessness which is detrimental to the society as a whole."
Thus, a direction was passed to register the Petitioner's complaint as a FIR.
The Bench further clarified that if no case is made out after investigation, it would be prerogative of the Police to file cancellation of the FIR. It held,
"In such eventuality, the complainant would be having a right to file protest petition on receipt of notice from the Court. Thereafter the Court may accept the cancellation report or proceed with the case as a criminal case on receipt of preliminary evidence or may pass any other order in accordance with law including further investigation."
Case Title: Hitesh Bhardwaj v. State of Punjab & Ors.
DAG, Punjab- Ramdeep Pratap Singh, Senior Advocate APS Deol and Advocate HS Deol appeared for the Respondents.
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