According to the ratio of judgment rendered in Lalita Kumari’s case (supra), the reliability, genuineness and credibility of the information are not conditions precedent for registration of case. The intention of the Legislature is to ensure prompt investigation of a cognizable offence in accordance with law. There is no discretion left with the Police Officer to register or not to register an FIR once information of a cognizable offence has been placed before him. Non-registration of criminal case leads to dilution of rules of law and lead to definite lawlessness which is detrimental to the society as a whole. Even the action against erring police officer is warranted in such circumstances in which FIR is not registered in respect of cognizable offence. The Hon’ble Apex Court has provided some exceptions to the mandatory registration of FIR. If the information does not disclose commission of cognizable offence, but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, preliminary inquiry may be conducted only to ascertain whether cognizable offence is made out or not. If the inquiry discloses cognizable offence, the FIR be registered. In case preliminary inquiry ends in closing the complaint, information is required to be supplied to the complainant within one week after disclosing the reasons in brief for closing the complaint and not proceeding further.
The preliminary inquiry can be made in matrimonial disputes/family disputes/criminal offences / medical negligence cases, corruption cases and cases where there is an abnormal delay in initiating criminal prosecution for more than three months in reporting the matter without satisfactory explanation for the delay. The preliminary inquiry has to be completed within seven days and the delay if any, should be reflected in the general / daily diary of the Police Station.
If a person has a grievance that the Police is not registering the First Information Report under Section 154 Cr. P.C, then he can approach the Sr. Superintendent of Police under Section 154(3) Cr. P.C. by way of filing a representation in writing. If such representation does not yield any satisfactory result and the FIR is not registered, then it would be open to the aggrieved person to file an application under Section 156(3) Cr. P.C. before the Magistrate concerned. On receipt of such application under Section 156(3) Cr. P.C., the Magistrate can direct for registration of FIR. The Magistrate can also monitor the investigation to ensure an appropriate investigation.
The Hon’ble Apex Court has explained the position of law in Madhu Bala vs. Suresh Kumar, 1997(3) R.C.R. (Criminal) 679. . Language of Section 154 Cr. P.C., is suggestive of the fact that the Police is bound to proceed to conduct investigation into a cognizable offence even without receiving information about commission of such an offence, if the Officer-in-charge of the Police Station otherwise suspects the commission of such an offence. The Legislative intent is, therefore, quite clear to ensure prompt investigation of every cognizable offence in accordance with law. In view of aforesaid, there is no reason that there should be any discretion or option left with the Police to register or not to register an FIR when information is given about commission of a cognizable offence. The requirement of Section 154 Cr. P.C., is only that the report must disclose the commission of a cognizable offence. Receipt of such information would be sufficient to set the Investigating Agency into action. Language of Section 154(3) Cr. P.C. would further make it abundantly clear that no information of commission of cognizable offence can be ignored. The aforesaid provision was added by way of amendment revealing the intention of the Legislature to ensure to take action as the inaction would result in unjustified protection of the offender.
Therefore, conducting the investigation into an offence after registration of FIR under Section 154 Cr. P.C. is the procedure established by law and the same is in conformity with Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Registration of FIR under Section 154 Cr. P.C. and arrest of the accused are entirely different things. The arrest of the accused is not automatic on registration of an FIR. The arrest cannot be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of commission of an offence. It would be prudent for a Police Officer not to arrest a person without a reasonable satisfaction after some investigation as to the genuineness and bona fide of a complaint and reasonable belief in the context of complicity of the accused. The arrest of person and registration of FIR are not directly linked as both have two concepts, operating under different parameters. Misuse of aforesaid concept would result in action against the Police Officer under Section 166 IPC.
Registration of FIR is thus mandatory under Section 154 Cr. P.C., if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence. No preliminary inquiry is permitted in such a situation. Preliminary inquiry can be conducted in matrimonial cases, cases relating to family disputes, commercial offences, medical negligence cases, corruption cases and the cases where there is abnormal delay of more than 3 months in initiating criminal prosecution or reporting the matter to the police without satisfactory explanation.