Legal Remedies available against lodging of false First Information Report (FIR) Lawyers Advice
A First Information Report is a document registered by the police for criminal cases under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). One of the man criterion for registering the First Information Report is that the same can only be registered in cases of cognizable offences.
Inherent powers of the High Court and few crucial points to be understood by the accused before submitting any petition to quash the First Information Report: –
The Section 482 of Code of the Criminal Procedure confers the High Court with some inherent powers which allows them to give any order that might be necessary to meet the ends of the justice and prevent the abuse of the court procedure. Now, in cases of false or frivolous First Information Reports against the person he or she might get the FIR quashed from the High Court. And, if the High court after assessing the entire case concludes that the FIR is frivolous nature, then using its inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the First Information Report would be quashed. There are some challenges which are certain for an accused to face while quashing the First Information Report. Thus, it is important to understand few pivotal points before going ahead with the procedure to quash the First Information Report. These include: –
- Lack of Prima Facie evidence- If the FIR registered is frivolous in nature, then in such case, no prima facie evidence shall be available against the accused.
- Lack of material in the allegations made in FIR- Absurdity in the material of allegation of the First Information Report streamlines the procedure of quashing the First Information Report.
- Evil intention on the part of the person who lodged the First Information Report or simply an intention to inflict harm on the accused.
- An Intent to cause harm on the part of the public servant by lodging FIR with incorrect documents.
- The act on the basis of which the First Information Report is registered does not constitute any offence.
Provision against person deliberately making information in respect of someone to the public servant with intention to inflict harm against such other person: –
According to section 182 of the Indian Penal Code, if anybody deliberately furnishes frivolous information to the public servant, with the sole motive to cause harm to the other person, he/she will face an imprisonment that may extend to a period of six months, or a fine of not more than one Thousand Rupees, or with both the aforementioned things. In Harbhajan Singh Bajwa v. Senior Superintendent of Police (2000 Cri LJ 3297) the Punjab & Haryana High Court held that any information when given to a concerned authority is discovered to be false by the same or the averments made in the FIR is frivolous, then the concerned authority shall initiate proceedings under section 182 of the Indian Penal Code. Now, here, since the imprisonment is only for a period of six months, the concerned authority is required to file the complaint under Section 182 of the Indian Penal Code within a period of one year from the date of discovering the falsity in the accusations made in the First Information Report/Complaint.
Different stages for quashing the First Information Report: –
It may be important to note that there are three stages of quashing the First Information Report, namely: –
- The first stage is before the registration of charge sheet by the Police officer.
- The second stage is after the registration of charge sheet by the Police.
- The third stage is the beginning of the trial.
Now, in the first stage where the charge sheet is yet to be registered by the Police officer, an application made under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to the High Court shall only be quashed if the same would cause grave injustice to the victim. The High Court has been conferred with the power to issue the Mandamus writ directing the Police officer to perform his duty in accordance with the law. The same is only possible where the it is proved that Police officer has registered a frivolous First Information Report.
In the second stage, after registering the charge sheet, the aggrieved person can file the complaint to quash the First Information Report. Previously, filing complaint to quash FIR after the registration of the charge sheet was a bit challenging. However, now it may be interesting to note that the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Anand Kumar Mohatta & Anr. v. State (Government of NCT of Delhi) (AIR 2018 SC 838) held that even though the charge sheet is registered by the Police officer, the High Court may still quash the FIR against him using its inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of the Criminal Procedure. Furthermore, even if a discharge application filed under section 227 of Code of Criminal Procedure is pending before the magistrate court, the High Court still holds the power to quash the FIR under the aforementioned section.
In the third stage, i.e. post-commencement of the trial, the accused may file an application under Section 232 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Basically, the instant section deals with acquittal of the accused. Now, here before quashing the FIR and acquitting the accused, there points are taken into consideration. These are: –
- No prima facie evidence can be established in respect of the offence from the charge sheet filed by the Police officer.
- The trial cannot be proceeded ahead as the same might put an obstacle to securing justice and also cause harm to the procedure of the court. Now, such a situation arises due to lack of solid evidence against the accused.
Supreme Court Guidelines in respect of quashing the First Information Report: –
In Sundar Babu & Ors v. State of Tamil Nadu (Criminal Appeal No. 773 of 2003), the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India laid down the following directions which should be considered while quashing the First Information Report:
- Lack of prima facie evidences against the accused in respect of the allegations made in the First Information Report.
- The offence alleged in the First Information Report against the accused is not cognizable in nature.
- Lack of evidence or the evidence gathered does not constitute the commission of offence in the hands of the accused.
- The allegations made out in the First Information Report is absurd or unimaginable in nature.
- There exists a bar or obstacle to the legal proceedings under any act concerned with criminal matters.
Important factors with respect to appeal for an anticipatory bail and conditions relating to the acceptance and decline of such an appeal: –
A person having a false First Information Report registered against him can file an application for anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It may be noted that application for an anticipatory bail can be made both in bailable and non-bailable offences. Here, the aggrieved person can apply for such anticipatory bail before either the High court or the Session court. Now, there are some factors upon which the grant of anticipatory bail is based. These factors are as follows: –
- Rejection of the bail shall lead to humiliation and harassment of the person making such application.
- Where it has been proved that the charges made against the person is false in nature or the same has been made out to wreak vengeance against such person.
Now, here there are certainly two possibilities namely, acceptance of the application followed by the grant of anticipatory bail and rejection of the application leading to decline of the bail. In the former case, the person (applicant) will have to follow the following conditions, namely:
a. Present himself in person for interrogation whenever summoned by the Police officer.
b. Refrain from threatening any person to make any disclosure of facts or evidence to the court or the Police.
c. Cannot leave India without prior permission from the Court.
While in latter case, the Police officer holds liberty to arrest the accused. However, even after the arrest, he may file an application under Section 437 of the Code of the Criminal Procedure which deals with grant of bail in cases of non-bailable offences subject to certain conditions. He may also file an application under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This section deals with the special powers of High Courts and Court of Session regarding bail. However, in cases of offences punishable with death penalty or imprisonment for life, under Section 437(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the court after granting the bail may impose certain conditions which the same might feel necessary.
Legal Provisions to deal with a person and public servants registering frivolous charges with ulterior motive against another person: –
Now, in cases where a person files frivolous charges against another person to initiate criminal proceedings with an intention to inflict harm on the latter. The latter can make an application under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Power of a Police officer to examine or investigate a cognizable offence following orders of the magistrate), or can make a complaint under section 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (examination of complainant) before the magistrate court against the person making such false complaint. The person making such frivolous charges shall be imprisoned under Section 211 of the Indian Penal Code.
In cases where a public servant/ police officer frames false reports or documents with the purpose to inflict harm on the other person, then in such cases the Public servants shall be penalised under Section 167 of the Indian Penal Code.
First Information Report stands quashed by the High Court if the same was filed with an ulterior motive to threaten someone- Case Law example: –
In, N. Chandra Mohan v. The State (Crl. O.P. No. 21414 of 2019), the wife had falsely implicated her husband of sexually assaulting their 11 year-old daughter. She even went beyond saying that her husband had illegitimate relationship with their daughter who later became pregnant. However, her pregnancy was terminated medically. After observing the entire matter, the Hon’ble Madras High Court found that the complaint made by the wife was effectuated with ulterior motive in order to threaten her husband. Thus, the court using its inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure quashed the First Information Report registered under the Protection of Child from Sexual Offences Act against the husband. This is one of the latest cases where there was a petition made to the court in resect of quashing of the First Information Report to prevent the abuse of the court procedure as the complaint was made to wreak vengeance against the accused.
To conclude, laws are framed for the security and protection of people but in cases where the same is being misused, there are another set of laws to deal with them. For a person who has a frivolous FIR registered against him can get it quashed from the High court by comprehending few pivotal points and guidelines of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. These false First Information Report/ Complaint lodged with evil intentions to implicate the person can cause harm to the reputation of such person. It is necessary for him to strongly act against such accusations in accordance with the law.
Authored By: Adv. Anant Sharma & Aniket Pandey