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MHA Issues Advisory For Mandatory Registration Of FIR, Time Bound Investigation In Cases Of Sexual Violence [Read Advisory]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
10 Oct 2020 11:50 AM GMT
MHA Issues Advisory For Mandatory Registration Of FIR, Time Bound Investigation In Cases Of Sexual Violence [Read Advisory]
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The Women Safety Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs has directed all the State Governments and UT Administrations to mandatorily register an FIR and conduct time-bound investigations, in case information is received relating to sexual offences against women. The States have been instructed to investigate and take stringent action against the concerned officers who do not follow...

The Women Safety Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs has directed all the State Governments and UT Administrations to mandatorily register an FIR and conduct time-bound investigations, in case information is received relating to sexual offences against women.

The States have been instructed to investigate and take stringent action against the concerned officers who do not follow the procedure laid down for investigation under CrPC and the Indian Evidence Act.

The Central Government has reminded the Police departments of "Zero FIR", in case the crime is committed outside the jurisdiction of police station. It is further reminded that in case they fail to take cognizance of such incidents, they shall be liable to criminal prosecution under Section 166A(c) of IPC.

It may be noted that the family of the victim in Hathra case has alleged that the local Police refused to register their FIR on time. While the matter is still pending adjudication in two different writ petitions before the Allahabad High Court as well as the Supreme Court, the Central Government recapitulated the following laws:

  • Compulsory registration of FIR in case of cognizable offence under Section 154(1) of CrPC. The law also enables the police to register FIR or a "Zero FIR" in the event of receipt of information on commission of a cognizable offence, which includes cases of sexual assault on women.
  • Section 173 of CrPC provides for completion of police investigation in relation to rape in two months.
  • Section 164-A of CrPC provides that in rape/ sexual assault investigation the victim shall be examined by a registered medical practitioner under consent within twenty-four hours from the time of receiving the information relating to the commission of such offence.
  • Section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, provides that the statement, written or verbal, by a person who is dead shall be treated as relevant fact in the investigation when the statement is made by a person as to the cause of his death, or as to any of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death.
  • In Purshottam Chopra & Anr. v. State (Govt. of NCT Delhi), the Supreme Court directed that a particular statement, when being offered as dying declaration and satisfies all the requirements of judicial scrutiny, cannot be discarded merely because it has not been recorded by a Magistrate or that the police officer did not obtain attestation by any person present at the time of making of the statement.
  • The Directorate of Forensic Science Services (DFSS) under the MHA has issued Guidelines for collection, preservation & transportation of forensic evidence in sexual assault cases for Investigation Officers and Medical Officers. In order to facilitate the State Police, Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) has issued Sexual Assault Evidence Collection (SAEC) Kits to every State/UT. It is necessary to use these SAEC kits in every case of sexual assault reported.

The Ministry further remarked,

"even with stringent provisions in law and several capacity building measures undertaken, any failure of police to adhere to these mandatory requirements may not augur well for the delivery of criminal justice in the country, especially in context of women safety. Such lapses, if noticed, need to be investigated into and stringent action taken immediately against the concerned officers responsible for the same."

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