Date: 3 December, 2020
by Divya Menon, UILS, Panjab University
Information given under sub-section 1 of section 154 CrPC is commonly known as First Information Report (FIR). It is the earliest and the first information of a cognizable offence recorded by an officer-in-charge of a police station.
According to section 154(1) CrPC, the recording of an FIR in case of cognizable offences is compulsory. The non-performance of this duty by the Police officer in charge has both consequences and remedies.
Section 154(2) CrPC provides that the informant is entitled to get a copy of the First Information Report lodged by him free of cost.
Section 154(3) CrPC gives remedy to the aggrieved party hit by non-registration of FIR.
OBLIGATION TO REGISTER FIR IN COGNIZABLE OFFENCES:
In Lalita Kumari vs. Govt. of Uttar Pradesh (WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 68 OF 2008), the question before the Supreme Court was whether a police officer is bound to register a First Information Report (FIR) upon receiving any information relating to commission of a cognizable offence under section 154 of CrPC or the police officer has the power to conduct a preliminary inquiry in order to test the veracity of such information before registering the same.
The Supreme Court on 12 November, 2013 in this case held that it is mandatory to register FIR in case the offence being reported is cognizable and falls under the jurisdiction of that Police station.
When a Police officer fails to comply with this obligatory duty, he commits an offence under Section 166A(c) of the IPC.
This provision is not only applicable for certain offences against women but it makes punishable the failure to record any information given to a public servant under Section 154(1) (which relates to registration of FIR).
REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO THE AGGRIEVED PARTY
Section 154(3) CrPC provides that any person aggrieved by the refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to record the information referred to in subsection (1) may send the substance of such information, in writing and by post, to the Superintendent of Police concerned who, if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him, in the manner provided by this Code, and such officer shall have all the powers of an officer in charge of the police station in relation to that offence. This sub-section gives the remedy of approaching the Superintendent of Police or the Commissioner of the police with a written complaint.
If the given remedy fails to do the needful, the informant is legally entitled to file a complaint to the Judicial Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrate u/s 156(3) CrPC asking for FIR to be registered by the police and investigation into the matter.
A Writ Petition in the respective High Court may be filed for the issuance of Mandamus against the defaulting Police officers.