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Karnataka High Court Directs DGP To Hold Departmental Enquiry Against Police Officer For Inordinate Delay In Registering FIR Even After Magistrate's Order

Mustafa Plumber
1 Feb 2023 7:39 AM GMT
BJP,  Shivajinagar Assembly Constituency, Electoral roll, Election commission

The Karnataka High Court has directed the Director General and Inspector General of Police to hold a departmental enquiry against police inspector Praveen K.Y of the Cottonpet Police station, for failure to comply with the order passed by the Magistrate court directing registration of First Information Report on a private complaint of theft.

Justice M Nagaprasanna said lawful orders passed by the judicial authority are required to be scrupulously enforced by the police and failure to do so constitutes a constitutional tort arising out of breach of a fundamental right of access to justice for victims of crime. "Such breach amounts to serious misconduct and gross dereliction of duty justifying imposition of major penalty. Such gross dereliction of official duty by the Law Enforcement Agencies cannot be countenanced," the court said.

The direction was given in the judgment on a petition filed by one M Prakash who had approached the court seeking appointment of any other police officer to investigate the complaint filed by him under sections 380, 503, 410, 414, 425, 442, 451 read with Section 34 of the IPC.

As per the private complaint, the accused in the morning hours of 26-03-2021 forcibly broke open the doors of residence of the petitioner, stole many articles in the house. The complainant and the accused are stated to be fighting a dispute over family properties.

The magistrate court vide its order dated 29-04-2022 directed registration of the complaint by the Cottonpet Police Station for investigation under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C and also directed the matter be listed on 26-07-2022.

Though the Cottonpet Police received the certified copy of the order on 04.05.2022, the crime was not registered. On 26-07-2022, when the matter was posted before the court, a reminder was also sent to the Police Station for registration of the crime and reporting such registration. Even then the crime was not registered. Finally, the case was registered only on 18.10.2022 after about 5½ months of reference being made by the Magistrate.

The police defended the delay by saying that the reference though was received on 04-05-2022, the file was misplaced from the table of the Inspector and the moment the file was traced, the case was immediately registered. It was submitted that the Inspector of Police, who had mishandled the file, had been placed under suspension and the present incumbent has filed an affidavit that such instances would not be repeated.


The court said the Magistrate had directed investigation to be conducted on the complaint of the petitioner under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C, which was received by the Cottonpet Police on 04-05-2022.

“Law requires that, when the Magistrate directs investigation to be conducted under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C., the investigation has to commence immediately and for the investigation to commence, a FIR should be registered without any loss of time,” it observed.

Noting that the case was registered 5 months and 21 days after the direction by Magistrate, the bench said there has been blatant callousness on the part of the Station House Officer of Cottonpet Police Station, who has displayed "lackadaisical attitude" towards registration of the crime.

The court refused to accept the justification for delay offered by the police that, upon enquiry, it was noticed that the order of the Magistrate had been misplaced, and while taking out some other file, the present officer i.e., the Inspector holding the post of PSI found the order of reference and registered the crime immediately.

“Registration of an FIR on a cognizable offence, more particularly, on a reference being made by the learned Magistrate under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C. is imperative and of paramount importance, as the investigation has to commence on such registration," said the court.

It added that the action of registration of crime with an inordinate delay "would disclose culpable negligence on the part of the Law Enforcement Agency in compliance with the lawful order passed by the learned Magistrate under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C. for registration of FIR and for investigation into cognizable offences.”

“The failure to register the crime by the then Officer in-charge of the Cottonpet Police Station cannot be brushed aside, as a mere loss of file and tracing of it. The said officer cannot and should not be left off the hook, more so, in the light of the affidavit admitting such dereliction of duty filed by the State," it said.

The court disposed of the petition after the police informed the court that the final report has been filed in the case but called for a compliance report of action on the departmental enquiry.

Case Title: M Prakash And M Vinayaka & ANR

Case No: WRIT PETITION NO. 20269 OF 2022

Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 37

Date of order: 25-01-2023

Appearance: M Prakash, party in person

AGA M. Vinod Kumar for R2.

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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