Curing the Malady from False FIR

CURING THE MALADY FROM FALSE FIR

Author: Niharika Rajpurohit, Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University

*This article has been written by the author while pursuing a Certificate Course on Research Methodology with us.

INTRODUCTION: FIR is the first step to initiate any criminal matter. It is a statutory right of a person to lodge a First Information Report (FIR) and a statutory duty of the police personnel to record it. Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 talks about the know-how of recording the FIR[1]. Additionally, Schedule I of Criminal Procedure Code lists certain non-cognizable offence for which section 154 allows the filing of FIR. Ignoring a fit case for the recording of an FIR would not only result in failure to meet the statutory duty but can also result in injustice.

It would be partial in concluding that lodging of FIR is the first step for initiation of the trial, rather the complete conclusion would be to recognize that it starts right with the motive of filing such information. To support this statement, the preposition of Sir John Locke can be used as an analogy. John Locke in his Two Treatises of Government propounded that human nature is backed by tolerance and reason. Such reason and tolerance when coupled with monetary considerations and personal gain allow him to be selfish. Now when an informant approaches to lodge an FIR he not necessarily always approaches with Truth. Hence, this article talks about the existing remedy for filing a false FIR and also the psychological aspect which prospectively brings such instances to society. Knowing the latter part would help us in putting aside the issue of false implication and would reduce the burden society and administration (pragmatically) puts on a person implicated in legal discourse.

Criminal procedure code, 1973 puts a wide statutory duty on police and if he fails then on Magistrate (Section 156)[2] to lodge a complaint in a matter related to the cognizable offence. There are several remedial provisions enacted by the legislature under different statutes, essentially also in Constitution. All of them are discussed briefly hereunder for the scope of this article is vivid.

The high court by the virtue of Procedural code 1973, under section 428 (Inherent powers of High Court)[3] is empowered to quash a false FIR. As per this provision, the High Court can issue any order as it may deem fit to meet the requirements of justice. The power under section 482 is discretionary. The judiciary has declared certain guidelines in State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal [4] for exercising the power by High Court. It was guided by the court that if there is a prima facie case, showing an absence of cognizable offence where the commission of a crime is undisclosed, without the sanction of the court and such investigation shows no evidence of the guilt of accused person then, the High Court has to quash such FIR in the interest of justice.

Article 226 of Constitution[5] empowers an accused who is falsely implicated in a FIR, recorded by a police officer or a government servant and consequently the subordinate court has passed an order against his innocence by ignoring the act that he has been falsely implicated, such a person can approach the High Court under Article 226[6] and request the court to quash such false record implicated against him.  To effectuate its decision the High Court can pass an order under writ of Prohibition or Mandamus as the case may be. Moreover, the court can order compensation to aggrieved party and he can further file a civil suit of malicious prosecution or Defamation.

Additionally, the Criminal procedure code provides an opportunity to get anticipatory bail under section 438[7] which is not the right of such implicated person rather depends on the scrutiny of evidence and facts present before the court. Gurubaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab[8] is a landmark case to understand the complete know-how of the provisions of anticipatory bail.  It was observed that anticipatory bail can be ordered in a cognizable case. It is granted before the arrest of a person who protects his Fundamental Right, Article 22 Protection against detention and arrest of Constitution.

Indian Penal Code also provides for remedy for false implicating a person under section 499[9], 167[10], 211[11] and 182[12]. Similar is the liability in put upon a police person under Indian Penal Code, 1860 section 220[13] and 218[14] where the maximum punishment is three years or fine or both. Now what relevance these provisions charging a police person hold? These provisions are relevant to wreck the mala fide (if any) on the part of a public servant thereby attuning credibility and trust to this position and such government seat.  

The Delhi Commission of Women has published statistics of the year 2013-2014 which 53% of cases were filed false[15]. The report of Delhi commission was published by many news and media organization albeit, the societal perception remains the same till today. A police complaint is such a taboo that it has truth and falsity of any complaint is immaterial to the people and administration in terms of employment (pragmatically). Any legal implication be it true or false has the potential to damage the reputation of a person (not necessarily always cause legal damage). Nonetheless, the statute books have well empowered the malady from the false FIR.

MOTIVE BEHIND THE MADALY: False information is dared inform to authorities to get a counter satisfaction. This satisfaction could be monetary or mental (as John Locke says) or can be due to certain medical conditions. Sometimes such bold behavior is the result of half education and awareness about certain issues such as related to women’s modesty, rape, cruelty against men, child abuse, etc. resulting in it becoming a societal taboo. National Crime Report Bureau report of 2016-2018 shows a disturbing intent of complainants; where out of 550 total reporting 515 have ended as false. State-wise Haryana holds the largest record of the false filing of case amounting to 117 false cases.[16] Criminal jurisprudence demands presumption of innocence unless he is proved guilty has remained only a word considering the pragmatic loss caused to such victim. Therefore, it becomes very important to address the root cause of such a problem for it causes harm not just to reputation but psychological and financial agony too.

Apparently, there exist number of remedy to address the issue in question but aiming the motive behind such behaviour would result in more favourable law and order. The famous case of Garry Dotson[17] can be best exemplified. Gary was the first person who was benefitted by the invention of DNA evidence, after serving the conviction for half a century. The accused in this case was falsely implicated under number of charges by supposed victim Cathleen Crowell, a minor then. It was only later, that she accepted that she self-inflicted the injuries fearing the consequence of the unprotected consensual sex between the two. To create a possible circumstance she had to falsely implicate Gary to avoid the embarrassment.[18]  An Article published by US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health[19] has come out with three major categories of motives which derive the intent to lodge false FIR. It says in case of sexual offence generally the motives are Alibi, Revenge and emotional support[20]. Simplifying these categories, motive can be read as Rivalry, Commercial benefit, Material gain, Emotional gain, Sympathy, Abnormal mental state, Recognition and shameful character of certain acts in the society such as rape and cruelty against men; feeling of disgust and sorrow after consensual sex (indicates the lack of sex education and sense of identification). Analytically, the article says that gain (of any simplified category) in higher probabilities is a driving force behind any motive. This underline motive (a kind of emotionally driven state) is so diverse that it would be practical that each shall be considered as per the facts and circumstance. Of course! Excluding the case of mental imbalance such as sadomasochistic acts, hallucination, personality disorders, etc. thereto the suggestion put forth in this article gains a substantial pedestal.

SUGGESTION AND CONCLUSION: It can be concluded that False filing of FIR in not one but multi-dimensional.  To indeed, put an end to this issue in toto it is required that we take a multi-dimensional approach only. The statute books of Indian Penal code 1860, Criminal Procedure Code 1973 and Constitution of India 1950 have provided enough remedy on one side.  Perhaps, there is one additional thing that can aid in proper exercise of these provisions; which is the aid of Preliminary enquiry. The statute books mandate preliminary inquiry in case of cognizable cases only. It is an enquiry done before filing of FIR to ascertain the credibility of information provided by complainant. Case such as 498 A, 306, 493, 375 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 and likewise has proved as a successful front.

In my opinion, conducting a preliminary inquiry shall not be case-specific, rather it shall be done in each case while considering simultaneously, the psychological aspects mentioned in this article. The process to initiate such inquiry shall be hazel free, unlike the present status quo where the permission of a competent authority is required before conduction such inquiry. Moreover, if at all there appears a false complaint case then the victim of such a case shall be provided with psychological assistance on state expense and the provision to award him compensation shall remain the same as is given already. It shall be the duty of the state, strictly to see that the victim of such malady is restored back to his previous state.


[1] “Information in case of cognizable cases” Code of criminal Procedure, 1973

[2] “Police officer’s power to investigate cognizable cases” Code of criminal Procedure, 1973

[3] “Inherent power of High Court” Code of criminal Procedure, 1973

[4] 1992 AIR 604

[5] “Power of High Court to issue certain orders” Constitution of India 1950, Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice

[6] “Inherent power of High Court” Code of criminal Procedure, 1973

[7] “Direction for grant of bail to person apprehending arrest” Code of criminal Procedure, 1973

[8] 1980 SCR (3) 383

[9] ‘’Defamation” Indian Penal Code, 1860

[10] ’Public Servant Framing an Incorrect Document with intent to cause injury” Indian Penal Code, 1860

[11] ’False charge of offence made with intent to injure” Indian Penal Code, 1860

[12] ’False information, with intent to cause public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person” Indian Penal Code, 1860

[13] “Commission for trial or confinement by person having authority who knows that he is acting contrary to law” Indian Penal Code, 1860

[14] “Public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture” Indian Penal Code, 1860

[15] https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-53-rape-cases-filed-between-april-2013-and-july-2013-false-delhi-commission-of-women-2023334

[16] https://ncrb.gov.in/sites/default/files/Crime%20in%20India%202018%20-%20Volume%202.pdf

[17] 424 N.E.2d 1319 (Ill. App. Ct. 1981)

[18] http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictions/exonerations/il/gary-dotson.html

[19] Andre W. E. A. De Zutter and Robert Horselenberg,” MOTIVES FOR FILING A FALSE ALLEGATION OF RAPE”, 17 Feb. 2017

[20] EJ.Kanin, ’’THREE KIND OF MOTIVES”, Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 1994

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