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Police can’t deny FIR in cognisable offence, says HC

October 29, 2020 05:57 AM


Police can’t deny FIR in cognisable offence, says HC
Surender Sharma

Chandigarh : The Punjab and Haryana high court has held that it is mandatory for the police to register an FIR in a complaint of cognisable 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 three months in initiating criminal prosecution or reporting the matter to the police without satisfactory explanation,” the bench of justice Raj Mohan Singh said.

The bench further added that it would be the prerogative of the police to file cancellation of the FIR after investigation. “In such an eventuality, the complainant has a right to file a 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,” the bench said.

The court was hearing a plea from one Hitesh Bhardwaj who had suspected that his brother killed their mother who reportedly died of cardiac arrest in Batala in March this year. His brother was also an accused in the murder case of their father in New Delhi in 2013. Bhardwaj had made a police complaint, seeking registration of FIR for murder. But the police didn’t act on the same. The brothers had a dispute over property and will of the mother. Bhardwaj had approached the high court on September 10, said, Abhinav Sood, his counsel.

The police in the case in hand had conducted a preliminary enquiry in which they reached a conclusion that she died of cardiac arrest. It had also noted that brothers had a property dispute. Hence, an FIR was not registered.

The bench observed that the intention of the legislature is to ensure prompt investigation of a cognisable offence. “There is no discretion left with the police officer to register or not to register an FIR once information of a cognisable 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. Even the action against erring police officer is warranted in such circumstances in which FIR is not registered in respect of cognisable offence,” the bench said, directing registration of FIR in the case in hand.

The bench also said that if a person has a grievance that the police is not registering the FIR, then he/she can approach the senior superintendent of police in writing and if such representation does not yield any satisfactory result, then it would be open to the aggrieved person to approach the magistrate concerned.

The bench further noted that the arrest of the accused is not automatic on registration of an FIR and cannot be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of commission of an offence.

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