Police be given opportunity to verify allegations: SC

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New Delhi, Sep 29 (UNI) The Supreme Court today indicated that police should be given an opportunity to verify the allegations made in a complaint before registering an FIR.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal, however, fixed December 16 for hearing a petition filed by one Lalita Kumari whose minor daughter was kidnapped by some anti-social elements of the area. The SHO, Loni, Ghaziabad instead of registering an FIR, colluded with the culprit and started pressurising the girl's family members to withdraw the complaint and also to settle land dispute.

A bench comprising Justices B N Agarwal and G S Singhvi had earlier referred the issue to a three-judge bench in view of the conflicting judgement on the issue whether police should immediatley register a case on receipt of information regarding a cognizable offence or should be given discretion to conduct a preliminary investigation before lodging an FIR.

A two-judge bench observed that this discretion is used as a tool by the police officers to refuse to register a case after taking bribe from the offending party and therefore, this discretion amounted to giving them a handle for not registering a case.

The Chief Justice, however, felt otherwise and was of the view that police should be allowed to cross check and verify the veracity of the allegations before registering an FIR.

A two-judge bench also wanted to fix accountability against the police officers for refusing to register an FIR. The chief secretaries of all the States and Union Territories and the Union Home Secretary have already filed their counter affidavits and majority of the states have pleaded for grant of discretion to the police officers to conduct preliminary inquiry before registering a case to protect the innocent citizens from malicious prosecution.

UNI SC BDP RP DS1355

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