New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it is mandatory for the police to register an FIR if a complainant approaches it for the registration of a cognizable offence.
“Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code, if the information discloses commission of a cognisable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation,” and, “If the information received does not disclose a cognisable offence but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted only to ascertain whether cognisable offence is disclosed or not,” the constitution bench said in its judgment.
The apex court constitution bench comprising Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justice B S Chauhan, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S A Bobde said action will be taken against the police officer who fails to register First Information Report (FIR) on the complaint of a cognisable offence.
“A perusal of the provisions manifests the legislative intent in both old codes and the new code for compulsory registration of FIR in a case of cognisable offence without conducting any preliminary inquiry,” said Chief Justice Sathasivam, speaking for the bench.
The court direction came as it addressed the question whether “a police officer is bound to register a first information report (FIR) upon receiving any information relating to commission of a cognisable offence under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or the police officer has the power to conduct a “preliminary inquiry” in order to test the veracity of such information before registering the same?”
The question in reference was made by a three-judge bench, headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari in February 2012 in a matter relating to kidnapping of a minor girl in Uttar Pradesh.
Cognisable offences are those which attract punishment of three years or more in case of conviction and where an investigating officer can arrest an accused without warrant.
However, the court added a rider that if a complainant prima facie does not disclose a cognisable offence, then the investigating officer is entitled to conduct preliminary inquiry just to ascertain whether the complaint constitutes one.