SC indicates that FIR issue may be referred to larger bench

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New Delhi, Sep 3 (UNI) The Supreme Court today indicated that it may refer the issue, whether police is duty bound to register an FIR on receipt of information regarding the commission of a cognisable offence, to a larger bench for authentic pronouncement on the issue.

The indication was given today by a bench comprising Justices B N Agarwal and G S Singhvi when majority of states pleaded for giving discretion to the police officer concerned to conduct a preliminary inquiry in appropriate cases to verify the veracity of the allegations made in a complaint.

The apex court was, however, of the view that such discretion will eventually allow the police to refuse to register an FIR or delay the same.

The court was of the view that it may refer the issue to a larger bench for authentic pronouncement on the issue of granting discretion to the police to conduct preliminary investigation before registering an FIR.

Most of the states have, however, taken the stand before the apex court that registering an FIR first and then carrying out an investigation and then arresting the person will breed corruption as in many cases the allegations are reckless. Some of the states have cited the example of political witch hunting by politicians in registering an FIR on the basis of false allegations.

The court, however, was of the view that it has been happening for ages that the police has been registering an FIR before starting investigation and giving them authority to conduct preliminary inquiry before registering the case will tantamount to giving them handle to virtually refuse to register a case on the pretext that the preliminary inquiry is still on as there is no time limit for completing such investigation.

The apex court also indicated that ground reality is, ''If you have money in your pocket, violate the law and get away.'' The court adjourned the hearing of the case till September 16 and also made it clear that the case may be listed for hearing on any other day when this bench is available after the above mentioned date.

The court had earlier directed the Centre, all the states and Union Territories to file affidavits what action should be taken against a police officer refusing to register an FIR.

The court is hearing a petition filed by a mother whose daughter was kidnapped by local goons from Loni in Ghaziabad and the SHO instead of registering a case started putting pressure on the complainant to withdraw her complaint and started harassing her family including her husband.

UNI SC BDP RP AS1655

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