The Jharkhand High Court recently deprecated the practice of Chief Minister Public Hearing Cell pressurizing the police officials to register an FIR.
"There is no provision in law to approach "Mukhya Mantri Jansanbad Kendra", which is absolutely a non-statutory body nor having being vested with any power under Cr.P.C. Further the said "Mukhya Mantri Jansanbad Kendra" has got no jurisdiction to direct the police official to register an FIR and have no power to monitor the same," the bench of Justice Ananda Sen said.
The observation was made in an application for quashing of FIR on the ground that the same had been registered at the pressure of the Cell, also known as the "Mukhya Mantri Jansanbad Kendra".
It was alleged that when the police refused the private Respondent's request to register an FIR as no cognizable offence was disclosed from the information, the Respondent approached the Cell which pressurized the Police to register the FIR.
"I find that the FIR was registered at the direction of the "Mukhya Mantri Jansanbad Kendra" (the Chief Minister Public Hearing Cell) as the informant made a complaint to that Cell, when the FIR was not being registered. This document is the part of the FIR and from perusal of the same, I find that there was a direction by that Cell on 25.12.2017 to register the FIR. Further several directions were given by the said Cell, which would be apparent from pages 26, 27 and 28 of the FIR. Not only direction but the matter was supervised by the said Cell," the bench recorded.
Discouraging such "usurpation of power", the court observed,
"If a written complaint is placed before a police officer wherein cognizable offence is alleged, the Officer cannot refuse to register the same as FIR. If there is refusal or negligence on the part of the police in registering the same, the remedy lies in Code of Criminal Procedure. The complainant/informant can send the complaint to the Superintendent of Police or to the Higher Authority praying therein to register the same. He even has the option to file a complaint before the court of competent jurisdiction. There is no provision in law to approach "Mukhya Mantri Jansanbad Kendra"."
The court noted that in the present case, no cognizable offence was made out and a simple money claim, arising out of a continuing business transaction, had been given the colour of criminal case, "which is nothing but an abuse of the process of law."
Observing that civil liability cannot be converted into a criminal liability (Binod Kumar & Ors. v. State of Bihar & Anr., (2014) 10 SCC 663), the impugned FIR was quashed.
Case Title: Sanjay Kumar Sharda v. State of Jharkhand & Ors.
Case No.: WP (Cr.) No. 395/2019
Quorum: Justice Ananda Sen
Appearance: Advocate Rahul Kumar (for Petitioner); Standing Counsel Navin Kr. Singh (for State); Advocate Chandana Kumari (for Private Respondent)
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