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A Second F.I.R Cannot Be Filed Based On The Same Facts Of The Case: In Rajasthan High Court

A Second F.I.R. cannot be filed based on the same facts of the case because the events and circumstances that led to the two F.I.R.s must be different. Or the crime committed in each must be different, or the person accused of committing the crime must be another reason than the previous one. Only then the second F.I.R. is allowed. The High Court Of Rajasthan upheld this through a single Learned Bench  MR. JUSTICE SANDEEP MEHTA in SOURABH GARG V. STATE OF RAJASTHAN (S.B. Criminal Misc(Pet.) No. 6337/2021).

Facts of the case – The accused petitioner has filed a miscellaneous petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C., seeking quashing of the F.I.R. No.407/2021 lodged at the Police Station Anti-Corruption Bureau, Udaipur for offenses under Sections 7 and 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Amendment) Act, 2018 (in the future referred to as ‘the Act’ for brevity).

The Learned Senior Counsel discovered Shri Shishodia, assisted by Shri Abhijeet Sharma, appearing for the accused petitioner via video conferencing, strongly and vehemently urging the registration of the impugned F.I.R. is entirely illegal. Since the Investigating Officer did not obtain prior approval to launch the investigation from the appropriate Government as required by Section 17A of the Act, he also contends that the registration of the contested F.I.R. violates the ratio established by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Counsel used the decisions of T.T.Antony v. State of Kerala & Ors., Amitbhai Anilchandra Shah v. The Central Bureau of Investigation & Ors to strengthen his viewpoint.

Contrary to learned Counsel for the petitioner, the learned Public Prosecutor aggressively and angrily rejected the petitioner’s representations. He stated that some mobile phones were seized during the investigation of F.I.R. No.183/2021. An analysis of the conversations on them revealed additional transactions involving the exchange of illegal gratifications, forming a distinct series of offending acts punishable under Sections 7 and 8 of the Act. As a result, according to the expert Public Prosecutor, the contested F.I.R. is not a second F.I.R. based on the same circumstances, but rather a new F.I.R. based on the acceptance of illicit gratification, and there is no illegality in its registration.

After reviewing the arguments, the Learned Judge contends that a slew of cases, two of which (T.T.Antony and Amitbhai Shah) have been cited by Shri Shishodia, have established that a second F.I.R. cannot be filed based on the same facts. Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, as amended by Act No.16 of 2018, clearly states that a police officer cannot conduct an investigation or inquiry into an offense relating to recommendations made or decisions made by a public servant in the performance of official functions or duties without the prior approval of the concerned Government. However, the Section does not bar the filing of an F.I.R. Demanding and accepting bribes are unquestionably not activities related to recommendations or decisions made by a public servant in the performance of official functions or duties. As a result, the earlier permission restriction enshrined in Section 17A of the Act would not apply when an inquiry is requested into suspicions of bribe demand and acceptance.

Given the arguments posed by the Counsels, the Learned Judge is convinced that the impugned F.I.R. cannot be considered a second F.I.R. on the same facts and that because the offenses under Sections 7 and 8 of the Act have been applied in the case. The restrictions contained in Section 17A of the Act do not apply, and thus prior approval of the Government is not required for investigating such allegations. As a result, the Learned Judge deems this miscellaneous petition to be without merit, and it is rejected as such. The request for a stay is also denied.

Click here to view the Judgement

Reviewed by Rangasree.

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