FILING POLICE COMPLAINT: CUMBERSOME BUT ESSENTIAL OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, BY MUDIT GOSWAMI

INTRODUCTION: –

Numerous multiple times it is seen that an individual can’t get equity significantly in the wake of getting the criminal law under way due to not appropriately referencing/expressing the important realities in their grumbling. The equivalent even prompts excusal of the case by the Courts. There are different reasons related with the way that why at times even certified complaint become unsuccessful in the courtroom. One such explanation is that the greater part of the occasions the police authorities working at the hour of enlisting complaint are not themselves cautious, and due to this general public misses up a great opportunity, significant and important realities of the case.

Police compliant can be documented by any abused individual against a criminal offense on which the police make a move as per the law. Indian law provides that a police objection can be filed orally. Generally, the police complaint is documented face to face through a written statement. Nevertheless, police complaint is the initial stage of any criminal proceedings. If the compliant is taken, the police can hold up a FIR and initiate the examination in the issue and capture the denounced individual. This article focuses on the some essential which one should know since; police complaint is meant to be “precise” and “to the point” while being self-explanatory and effective at the same time.

WHAT IS COMPLAINT: –

According to Section 2(d) in The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973[1], defines a complaint as under:

“(d) “complaint” means any allegation made orally or in writing to a Magistrate, with a view to his taking action under this Code, that some person, whether known or unknown, has committed an offense, but does not include a police report.

Explanation. – A report made by a police officer in a case which discloses, after investigation, the commission of a non-cognizable offense shall be deemed to be a complaint; and the police officer by whom such report is made shall be deemed to be the complainant;”

In general sense complaint is communicated by an individual to express certain things/realities. Any individual who has a specific kind of complaint about a reality, circumstance, situation, and so forth.

WHERE TO FILE COMPLAINT: –

The complainant can file complaint to the police station where the offence committed or having jurisdiction over the area and report to the Station House Officer / SHO or the higher police officials as the case may be. If the SHO / Inspector is not present, a Sub-Inspector or Head Constable will be the officer-in-charge, who will lodge FIRs. Section 154 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973[2], empowers police officer to register the FIR in cognizable offences. However, police officer cannot investigate the non-cognizable case without the order of a Magistrate as per section 155(3) of the CrPC.[3]

Cognizable offence is only a kind of offence where the police officers are having the power to arrest without any warrant and also to initiate investigation without any previous permission of the court. It is pertinent to understand that the cognizable offences are those which are heinous, gruesome and serious in nature whereas, non-cognizable are those having less serious nature of crimes viz. cheating, defamation, forgery etc.

In non-cognizable offenses, when a complainant moves toward the police headquarters or official in charge, the concerned officer enters such data in his book (maintaining of such written format is recommended by the State Government), according to segment 155(1) of the CrPC. In any case, the powers of the investigating officials remain same in cognizable and non-cognizable offences. However, they have a power to arrest an individual only in the situation of having warrant on his name.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in State Of West Bengal & Ors vs. Swapan Kumar Guha & Ors[4] held that “there is no such thing like unfettered discretion in the realm of powers defined by statutes and indeed, unlimited discretion in that sphere can become a ruthless destroyer of personal freedom. The power to investigate into cognizable offenses must, therefore, be exercised strictly on the condition on which it is granted by the Code”. Hence, a person can register a complaint regardless the offence is non-cognizable, for that he/she needs to initially enlist an objection with the magistrate having appropriate jurisdiction, and also there is no strict specified format for the same i.e. can be as petition or affidavit.[5]

WHAT TO DO IF THE POLICE STATION/POLICE OFFICIALS WON`T REGISTER THE FIR?

It is an obligation of the police headquarters/police authorities to register the FIR of every cognizable offense. In any case, if the Police Station won’t register the FIR, a complaint will be made to the senior authorities. The complaint can be made to the Concerned District Officer or the Superintendent of Police of the concerned District according to section 154(3) CrPC. These officials will look after into the matter after registering the FIR. Additionally, police can’t charge any expense or cash for registering the FIR and for conducting investigation. In the event that any police authorities request any such expense or cash, a complaint ought to be given to the senior police officials. Remedies if no Police officials register the FIR:

  1. If informant stays unsatisfied even after referring to the higher police officials then he/she can additionally seek after the cure referenced under section 156(3) read with section 190 CrPC. This is an alternate channel to get the FIR registered, where a magistrate first takes perception of an offense under section 190 and afterward order for additional investigations under section 156(3).
  2. A complainant may approach to the court while submitting his complaint to the magistrate orally or recorded as a printed version under section 200 of the CrPC. After the cognizance of a complaint, the magistrate will order an investigation in the concerned matter, picking the issue of wisdom. In this approach the complainant and witnesses shall be verified on oath before the magistrate.
  3. For judicial remedy, a writ a writ of mandamus can be filed in the High Court or the Supreme court; under Article 226 or Article 32 of the Constitution of India respectively, guiding the police authorities to fulfill their obligation and register a FIR.[6]
FORMAT OF POLICE COMPLAINT: –

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Lalita Kumari v. Govt. of U.P.[7], issued certain guidelines regarding the registration of FIR and also stated it is mandatory under section 154 of the CrPC to register the FIR. The following guidelines were given by the court:

(1) Registration of FIR is compulsory under Section 154 of the Code if the information received reveals that commission of a cognizable offense and primary investigation is unreasonable in such a circumstance.

(2) If received information by police official doesn’t reveal a cognizable offense however demonstrates the need for a request, a primary investigation might be directed distinctly to learn whether cognizable offense is unveiled or not.

(3) If the investigation reveals the commission of a cognizable offense, the FIR must be enrolled. In situations where primary investigation finishes up in closing the complaint, a duplicate of the record of such closure must be provided to the main informant forthwith and not later than a week. It must reveal the reasons in short for shutting the complaint and not continuing further.

(4) The police official can’t escape from his obligation of registering offense if the cognizable offense is revealed. Action should be taken against failing officials who don’t enroll the FIR if the information got by him reveals a cognizable offense.

(5) The extent of primary investigation is not to check the veracity or in any case of the information got however just to discover whether the information reveals any cognizable offense.

(6) The cases in which primary investigation is to be directed will rely upon the realities and conditions of each case. The classification of cases where primary investigation might be made are as under:

  1. Family or matrimonial related disputes
  2. Commerce related cases
  3. Corruption related cases
  4. Medical Professional negligence cases
  5. Situations where there are anomalous delays in starting criminal proceeding, for instance, more than 3 months delay in registering the issue without sufficiently clarifying the explanations behind the deferral.

(7) While guaranteeing and ensuring the privileges of the charged and the complainant, a starter request ought to be made time bound and regardless, it ought not surpass 7 days. The reality of such deferral and the reasons for it must be reflected in the General Diary record.

(8) As the Daily Diary/General Diary/Station Diary is the record of all information obtained in a police station, it is directed that all information identifying with cognizable offenses, in the case of bringing about enrollment of FIR or prompting an investigation, must be compulsorily and carefully reflected in the said Diary and the action to lead a primary investigation should likewise be reflected, as referenced previously.

As of now there is no specific format has been given by law for filing a complaint however, some point is required to kept in mind while filing. The complaint must be filed immediately with no delay, if there is any mention the same. Whenever given orally, it must be brought down recorded as a hard copy and disclosed to you by the official in charge.

Starting with extreme right corner, where one should mention date and time which would help the police officer later to find the registered FIR. In very left-hand side one should disclose the designation of police office to whom the complaint should be given.  A grievance need not really be made by the victim however might be made by any individual mindful of the offense. This implies even an individual who has information that an offense has happened as far as anyone is concerned, he is compelled by a sense of honor to unveil the equivalent to the police officer. In Hallu & Ors. vs. the State of M.P.[8], it was held that “Section 154 does not require that the Report must be given by a person who has personal knowledge of the incident reported. The section speaks of information relating to the commission of a cognizable offense given to an officer in charge of a police station.”

The complaint must be brief; ambiguity, complicated, technical words, terminologies and unnecessary details should be avoided so that it will be easy to determine and understand the complaint in a nutshell. The headline of complaint should contain the name of complainant, the name of the perpetrator and the offence which is committed thereof.

Complaint body may be drafted in three sections:

  1. First section which contain the details of the incident i.e. whatever is happened with the victim or complainant, how the perpetrator executed with the complainant, how it all started etc.
  2. Second section contains the series of events which happened later on, in the wake of meeting with the complainant and what turned out badly which lead to the filing of the current grievance. This section may also contain the section under which wrong has been happened, however, wrong section does not corrupt the lineament of complainant.
  3. Third section must contain complete details of complainant with lineage, permanent/temporary address and telephone or mobile number in working condition (it is advised to give minimum two phone number for proper tracking of the communication) and prayer clause clearly stating to the police official as to what action the complainant want to seek. It is usually prayed that a FIR can be registered, the accused can be arrested and brought to the books in light of a legitimate concern for equity.

However, as far as details of the incidents is concerned, in Moti Lal v. State of UP[9] it is held that “the FIR need not contain every minute detail about the occurrence. It is not a substantive piece of evidence. It is not necessary that the name of every individual present at the scene of the occurrence should be stated in the first information report.”. Also, in Dharmendra Singh v. State of UP[10], the court held that “the F.I.R. and the statement recorded under Section 161, Cr.P.C. are not encyclopaedia, to give each and every minute details which had come into light during the deposition in the Court. Sometime witnesses do not think it proper to get it mentioned in the F.I.R. or in their statements recorded under Section 161, Cr. P.C. but it does not mean that the facts do not exist.”

FINALIZING THE DRAFT AND OTHER ASPECTS OF FIR: –

After finalizing your police complaint, one must carefully read the draft and sign it. Ideally two copies should be taken of the complaint. One for the Police official and second copy is for the informant/complainant. Any complaint given to a Police Officer is appropriately acknowledged in their Daily Diary (D.D.) Register and a formal getting in the Second duplicate is given by underwriting the Stamp of the Police official concerned and furthermore composing the DD Number. The communication of complaint can be made by courier, Speed Post, email of SHO/other police officials and online registration of FIR.

Phone calls or telephonic communication may also constitute a valid FIR if it is unambiguous, clear and not vague and cryptic. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Sidhartha Vashisth: Alias Manu Sharma vs State (NCT of Delhi) or Jessica Lal Murder Case[11] held that “Phone calls made immediately after an incident to the police constitutes an FIR only when they are not vague and cryptic. Calls purely for the reason of getting the police to the scene of crime do not necessarily constitute the FIR”.

After the Nirbhaya 2012, zero FIRs can be file in any police station, irrespective of the jurisdictional limitations and place of the occurrence. The police officials who neglect to consent to the enrollment of Zero FIR may attract prosecution under Section 166A of IPC.[12]

Notwithstanding the above said, it is pertinent to note that one should not file a false complaint against anyone, because giving forged or wrong complaint to the police official, can lead to a punishable offence under section 203 of IPC.[13]

CONCLUSION: –

It is significant for each person to comprehend the essential ideas identifying with a FIR. A complainant can comprehend his own case simply in the wake of understanding these central laws. Indeed, even a short comprehension of these ideas can be useful while choosing the correct procedure. A FIR is a significant record as it sets the procedure of criminal justice in action. Having known every one of the above said realities, we can get success in the courtroom by simply providing the required information and get the perpetrator behind the bars.

[1] The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1963, No. 2, Acts of Parliament, 1964 (India).

[2] The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1963, No. 2, Acts of Parliament, 1964 (India).

[3] The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1963, No. 2, Acts of Parliament, 1964 (India).

[4] 1982 AIR 949

[5] Dalmia V, ‘FIR (First Information Report) – Putting Criminal Enforcement Machinery In Motion In India – Criminal Law – India’ (Mondaq.com, 2020) <https://www.mondaq.com/india/crime/892708/fir-first-information-report-putting-criminal-enforcement-machinery-in-motion-in-india> accessed 3 June 2020.

[6] Ibid.

[7] W.P.(Crl.) No. 000068 / 2008

[8] 1974 AIR 1936, 1974 SCR (3) 652

[9] (2010) 2 Cr.LJ 1937(SC)

[10] 1998 Cr.LJ 2064(All)

[11] Crl.A. No. 000179 / 2007

[12] The Indian Penal Code, 1860, No. 45, Acts of Parliament, 1860 (India).

[13] The Indian Penal Code, 1860, No. 45, Acts of Parliament, 1860 (India).

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