“An Executive Magistrate has no role to play in directing the police to register an F.I.R. on basis of a private complaint lodged before him.” – SC
The question as to whether an executive magistrate is competent to direct police personnel to register an FIR as per the Code of Civil Procedure was considered by a bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Navin Sinha.
The facts of the case were that the respondents alleged that appellants by misrepresentation and cheating had persuaded them to take admission in an unrecognized institution. The appellants contended that a no objection certificate had been obtained from the Chhatrapati Sahuji Maharaj University, Kanpur for the establishment of the three-year Law course. Affiliation had also been granted by the university. But, there were many aggrieved students. Amongst these, a student lodged a complaint with the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Unnao that she had been duped into taking admission in an unrecognized institution. The Sub Divisional Magistrate, on the very same day, without furthermore, directed the police to register a first information report.
While analyzing the case, the Supreme Court discussed the scheme of sections related to the First Information Report (FIR). Section 154 of the Code provides for registration of a first information report at the instance of an informant, reduced into writing and signed by the person giving it. Section 154(3) stipulates that in the event of a refusal on part of an officer in charge of a police station to record such information, it may be sent in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police who will direct investigation into the same. Section 190 of the Code provides for taking of cognizance by a Magistrate either on a complaint or upon a police report. Similarly, Section 156(3) provides that any Magistrate empowered under Section 190 may order such an investigation, and which also includes the power to direct the lodgement of an F.I.R. The Code in Section 200 provides for lodging of a complaint before the Magistrate, who after examination of the complainant and witnesses, if any, can take cognizance.
Hence by observing the above-discussed scheme of FIR, the Supreme Court observed that-
“It is therefore apparent that in the scheme of the Code, an Executive Magistrate has no role to play in directing the police to register an F.I.R. on basis of a private complaint lodged before him. If a complaint is lodged before the Executive Magistrate regarding an issue over which he has administrative jurisdiction, and the Magistrate proceeds to hold an administrative inquiry, it may be possible for him to lodge an F.I.R. himself in the matter. In such a case, entirely different considerations would arise. A reading of the F.I.R. reveals that the police has registered the F.I.R on directions of the Sub Divisional Magistrate which was clearly impermissible in the law. The SubDivisional Magistrate does not exercise powers under Section 156(3) of the Code. The very institution of the F.I.R. in the manner done is contrary to the law and without jurisdiction.”
The court also said that the respondent could have lodged an FIR herself under Section 154or 154(3)of the Code. She also had the option of approaching the concerned magistrate under Section 156(3)in the event of a refusal by the police. The final remedy was also available to the respondent by filing a complaint under Section 200 of the Code before the jurisdictional Magistrate. Due to the said observations, the Supreme Court quashed the FIR filed by the girl by saying that it will have to be considered by the appropriate authority or forum in accordance with law.