In a suit filed under the purview of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, the Delhi High Court held that the court shall not entertain any second FIR or any form of another investigation for the same offence. The above was ordained in the case of ATIR v. State of NCT Delhi [CRL.M.C. 1197/2021 & CRL.M.A. 6104/2021] which was presided by a single judge bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad on September 1st 2021.
The facts of the above cases are perplexing due to the obscurity highlighted by multiple FIRs of the same facts. The complainant came back home to his house in the evening, after work, and found his house on Arson. The house was located in Maujpur Area, Delhi. Furthermore, it was also claimed that a Fire Brigade was called to the site to put the fire off. In the same FIR, he also claimed that he bore a loss of 7-10 lakhs of rupees. To his astonishment, the perpetrator of the offence was unknown. In furtherance to the above FIR, the complainant filed multiple FIRs bearing same facts. Only changes were of the value of the things that were compromised as the result of the arson.
While the case being heard, many landmark judgments of T.T. Antony v. State of Kerela [2001 6 SCC 181], Babubhai v. State of Gujarat [(2010) 12 SCC 254], Anju Chaudhary v. State of U.P. [(2013) 6 SCC 384] were quoted in order to put emphasis on the pertinent case.
The court, after perusal of facts and evidence, held that “The law on the subject has been settled keeping in line with the principles enunciated by the Supreme Court of India. There can be no second FIR and no fresh investigation in respect of the same cognizable offence or same occurrence giving rise to one or more cognizable offences”. In addition to the above, the court related the case with the principle and held that “It, therefore, cannot be said that there are five separate incidents and, therefore, five separate FIRs cannot be registered for the very same incident as it is contrary to the laws laid down by the Supreme Court. It cannot be said that the incidents were separate or the offences are different. As stated earlier, a perusal of the charge-sheets filed in the respective FIRs show that they are more or less identical and the accused are also same. However, if there is any material that has been found against the accused the same can be placed on record in FIR No.106/2020 (original petition)”.
Judgement reviewed by- Pranav Vyas.