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Action Must be Taken against Police Officials who avoid registering FIR in Cognizable Offence: In Karnataka High Court

The Superintendent of Police of Uttara Kannad District was directed by the Dharwad Bench of the Karnataka High Court to Enquire into and take suitable action against a Police Inspector for failing to register a First Information Report (FIR)  in a Cognizable Offence. 

It was noted by Justice Suraj Govindraj in the case of Ganesh S Hegde v. State of Karnataka and Ors (Writ PetitionNo.100746/2022) that the conduct of the officer was in violation of the directions issued by the Supreme court in Lalita Kumari vs. Government of Uttar Pradesh

Facts of the case: 

The Petitioner’s Sister and her Husband along with 30 Gundas (Gangsters) had entered his property and used force to remove the Areka Nut Crop around his Property while threatening him. 

No action was taken by the Police Inspector in the Taluka when the Petitioner called him, and a phone call made to the Police Helpline on 112 also did not result in anything. The Petitioner then called the Deputy Superintendent of Police who subsequently directed the Police inspector to take action. However, the Inspector only called the Petitioner and his sister to the police station but did not register a complaint. 

Aggrieved by this the Petitioner approached the High Court arguing in his petition that his rights had been violated by the non-registration of an FIR by the officer as per the procedure described in Lalita Kumari (supra). 

Issue:  

“Whether on information being received, either on the police helpline or directly to a police station, the concerned Officer can carry out a enquiry, requiring the complainant to attend an enquiry before registering of a complaint?” 

Submissions of the petitioners: 

the respondents have not registered an FIR in pursuance of first information provided by the petitioner and therefore, his rights have been violated so also the procedure prescribed by the Apex Court in the case of Lalita Kumari Vs. Government of Uttar Pradesh and others, reported in (2014) 2 SCC 1. 

Since the petitioner had informed the 4th respondent and or the Police helpline about the commission of a cognizable offence, an FIR ought to have been registered which till date has not been registered. On this ground, he submits that, the relief as sought is required to be granted. 

Submission of the Respondents: 

there is no call received by the 4th respondent, a call was made only to the police helpline No.112, the operator had informed the person attending the emergent call in the sub- police station, who in fact had visited the spot and having found that there are some disturbance had directed the persons present there not to cause any nuisance and had asked them to attend to Police Station along with the documents of the disputed property. 

Though the petitioner’s sister attended to the enquiry along with the possession receipt and Judgment copy, the petitioner did not attend to the enquiry and as such his complaint was not registered. 

He further submits that, the petitioner directly approached the Office of the Deputy Superintendent of Police , complaining about the trespass to the land when respondent No.3 forwarded the same to the respondent No.4 seeking for a report in the matter. 

Court Findings: 

The Court observed that a First Information Report (FIR) is supposed to be registered whenever any information is disclosed about the commission of an offence by the person receiving it. The offences reported by the Petitioner were cognizable under sections 441 and427ofthe Indian Penal Code. 

The police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering offence if cognizable offence is disclosed. Action must be taken against erring officers who do not register the FIR if information received by him discloses a cognizable offence. 

The Tahsildar of the District was directed by the Court to register the First Information Report (FIR) as per the Petitioner’s complaint and to consider his representation. The Superintendent of Police was also directed to enquire into the matter and take suitable action against the respondent No.4 for violation of the directions issued by the Apex Court. Accordingly, the writ petition was allowed. 

Judgement Reviewed by Manju Molakalapalli 

Click Here To View Judgement

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