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Thursday, November 14, 2013

whether under Section 154 CrPC, a police officer is bound to register an FIR when a cognizable offence is made out or he (police officer) has an option, discretion or latitude of conducting some kind of preliminary inquiry before registering the FIR.= Lalita Kumari .... Petitioner (s) Versus Govt. of U.P. & Ors. .... Respondent(s)= Published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40960

whether under Section 154 CrPC,
a police officer is bound to register an FIR when a cognizable offence is made out or he (police officer) has an option, discretion or latitude  of conducting some kind of preliminary inquiry before registering the FIR.=


 In view of the aforesaid discussion, we hold:
     i) Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code,  if
        the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no
        preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation.
    ii) If the information received does not disclose a cognizable  offence
        but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a  preliminary  inquiry
        may be conducted only to ascertain whether  cognizable  offence  is
        disclosed or not.
   iii)  If the inquiry discloses the commission of a  cognizable  offence,
        the FIR must be registered. In cases where preliminary inquiry ends
        in closing the complaint, a copy of the entry of such closure  must
        be supplied to the first informant forthwith and not later than one
        week.  It must disclose reasons in brief for closing the  complaint
        and not proceeding further.
    iv) The police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering offence  if
        cognizable offence is  disclosed.  Action  must  be  taken  against
        erring officers who do not register the FIR if information received
        by him discloses a cognizable offence.
     v) The scope of preliminary inquiry is not to verify the  veracity  or
        otherwise of the information received but only to ascertain whether
        the information reveals any cognizable offence.
    vi) As to what type and in which cases preliminary  inquiry  is  to  be
        conducted will depend on the facts and circumstances of each  case.
        The category of cases in which preliminary inquiry may be made  are
        as under:
        a) Matrimonial disputes/ family disputes
        b) Commercial offences
        c) Medical negligence cases
        d) Corruption cases
        e)  Cases  where  there  is  abnormal  delay/laches  in  initiating
           criminal prosecution,  for  example,  over  3  months  delay  in
           reporting  the  matter  without  satisfactorily  explaining  the
           reasons for delay.
        The aforesaid are only illustrations  and  not  exhaustive  of  all
        conditions which may warrant preliminary inquiry.
   vii) While ensuring and protecting the rights of  the  accused  and  the
        complainant, a preliminary inquiry should be made time bound and in
        any case it should not exceed 7 days.  The fact of such  delay  and
        the causes of it must be reflected in the General Diary entry.
  viii) Since the General Diary/Station Diary/Daily Diary is the record  of
        all information received in a police station, we  direct  that  all
        information relating to cognizable offences, whether  resulting  in
        registration of FIR or leading to an inquiry, must  be  mandatorily
        and meticulously reflected in the said Diary and  the  decision  to
        conduct a preliminary inquiry must also be reflected, as  mentioned
        above.







112)  With the above directions, we dispose of the  reference  made  to  us.
List all the matters before the appropriate Bench for disposal on merits.

                                                                  REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION


                  1 WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 68 OF 2008





Lalita Kumari                                        .... Petitioner (s)

            Versus

Govt. of U.P. & Ors.                                    .... Respondent(s)




                                      2

                                 WITH

                       S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 5986 of 2006

                       S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 5200 of 2009



                     3 CRIMINAL APPEAL No.  1410 OF 2011


                                      4


                     5 CRIMINAL APPEAL No.  1267 OF 2007


                                     AND


                 CONTEMPT PETITION (C) NO. D26722 OF 2008 IN

                  6 WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 68 OF 2008









                               J U D G M E N T



P.Sathasivam, CJI.


1)    The important issue which arises for  consideration  in  the  referred
matter  is
 whether  “a  police  officer  is  bound  to  register  a   First
Information  Report  (FIR)  upon  receiving  any  information  relating   to commission of a  cognizable  offence  under  Section  154  of  the  Code  of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short ‘the Code’) or  the  police  officer  has the power to conduct a “preliminary inquiry” in order to test  the  veracity
of such information before registering the same?”


2)    The present writ petition, under Article 32 of the  Constitution,  has
been filed by one Lalita Kumari  (minor)  through  her  father,  viz.,  Shri
Bhola Kamat for the issuance of a writ of Habeas Corpus or  direction(s)  of
like nature against the respondents herein for the protection of  his  minor
daughter who has been kidnapped.  
The grievance in the  said  writ  petition
is that on 11.05.2008, a written report  was  submitted  by  the  petitioner
before the officer in-charge of the police station  concerned  who  did  not
take any action on the same.  
Thereafter, when the Superintendent of  Police was moved, an  FIR  was  registered.   
According  to  the  petitioner,  even
thereafter, steps were not taken either for apprehending the accused or  for
the recovery of the minor girl child.


3)    A two-Judge Bench of this Court in, Lalita Kumari  vs.  Government  of
Uttar Pradesh & Ors. (2008) 7 SCC  164,
after  noticing  the  disparity  in
registration of FIRs by police officers on case to  case  basis  across  the
country, issued notice to the Union of India, the Chief Secretaries  of  all
the   States   and   Union   Territories   and    Director    Generals    of
Police/Commissioners of Police to the effect that if  steps  are  not  taken
for registration of FIRs immediately and the copies thereof are  not  handed
over to the complainants, they may move the Magistrates concerned by  filing
complaint petitions for appropriate direction(s) to the police  to  register
the case immediately and  for  apprehending  the  accused  persons,  failing
which, contempt  proceedings  must  be  initiated  against  such  delinquent
police officers if no sufficient cause is shown.


4)    Pursuant to the above directions, when the matter  was  heard  by  the
very same Bench in Lalita Kumari vs. Government  of  Uttar  Pradesh  &  Ors.
(2008) 14 SCC 337,  Mr.  S.B.  Upadhyay,  learned  senior  counsel  for  the
petitioner, projected his claim  that  upon  receipt  of  information  by  a
police officer  in-charge  of  a  police  station  disclosing  a  cognizable
offence, it is imperative for him to register a case under  Section  154  of
the Code and placed reliance upon two-Judge Bench decisions  of  this  Court
in State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal 1992 Supp. (1)  SCC  335,  Ramesh  Kumari
vs. State (NCT of Delhi) (2006) 2 SCC 677 and Parkash Singh Badal vs.  State
of Punjab (2007) 1 SCC 1. 
 On the other hand, Mr. Shekhar  Naphade,  learned
senior counsel for the State of Maharashtra submitted that  an  officer  in-
charge of a police station  is  not  obliged  under  law,  upon  receipt  of
information disclosing commission of a cognizable  offence,  to  register  a
case rather the discretion lies with him,  in  appropriate  cases,  to  hold
some sort of preliminary inquiry in relation to the  veracity  or  otherwise
of the accusations made in the report.  
In support  of  his  submission,  he
placed  reliance  upon  two-Judge  Bench  decisions  of  this  Court  in  P.
Sirajuddin vs. State of Madras (1970) 1 SCC 595, Sevi  vs.  State  of  Tamil
Nadu 1981 Supp SCC  43,  Shashikant  vs.  Central  Bureau  of  Investigation
(2007) 1 SCC 630, and Rajinder Singh Katoch vs. Chandigarh Admn.  (2007)  10
SCC 69.  In view of the conflicting decisions of this Court  on  the  issue, the said bench, vide order dated 16.09.2008, referred the same to  a  larger bench.


5)    Ensuing compliance to the above direction, the  matter  pertaining  to
Lalita Kumari was heard by a Bench of  three-Judges  in  Lalita  Kumari  vs.
Government of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. (2012)  4  SCC  1  wherein,  this  Court,
after hearing various counsel representing Union of India, States and  Union
Territories and also  after  adverting  to  all  the  conflicting  decisions
extensively, referred the matter to a Constitution  Bench  while  concluding
as under:-


      “97. We have carefully analysed various judgments  delivered  by  this
   Court in the last several decades. We clearly discern divergent  judicial
   opinions of this Court on the main issue:
whether under Section 154 CrPC,
a police officer is bound to register an FIR when a cognizable offence is made out or he (police officer) has an option, discretion or latitude  of conducting some kind of preliminary inquiry before registering the FIR.


      98. The learned counsel appearing for the Union of India and different
   States have expressed totally divergent views  even  before  this  Court.
   This Court also carved out a special category  in  the  case  of  medical
   doctors in the aforementioned cases of Santosh  Kumar  and  Suresh  Gupta
   where preliminary inquiry had been postulated before registering an  FIR.
   Some counsel also submitted that the CBI Manual also envisages some  kind
   of preliminary inquiry before registering the FIR.


      99. The issue which has arisen for consideration in these cases is  of
   great public importance. In view of the divergent  opinions  in  a  large
   number of cases decided by this Court, it has become extremely  important
   to have a clear enunciation of law and adjudication by a larger Bench  of
   this Court for the benefit of all concerned—the courts, the investigating
   agencies and the citizens.


      100. Consequently, we request the Hon’ble the Chief Justice  to  refer
   these matters to a Constitution Bench of at least  five  Judges  of  this
   Court for an authoritative judgment.”


6)    Therefore, the only question before this  Constitution  Bench  relates
to the interpretation of  Section  154  of  the  Code  and  incidentally  to
consider Sections 156 and 157 also.


7)    Heard Mr. S.B. Upadhyay, learned senior counsel  for  the  petitioner,
Mr. K.V. Vishwanathan, learned Additional Solicitor General  for  the  Union
of India, Mr. Sidharth Luthra, learned Additional Solicitor General for  the
State of Chhattisgarh, Mr. Shekhar Naphade, Mr. R.K. Dash, Ms.  Vibha  Datta
Makhija, learned senior counsel for the State of Maharashtra, U.P. and  M.P.
respectively, Mr. G. Sivabalamurugan, learned counsel for the  accused,  Dr.
Ashok Dhamija, learned counsel for the CBI, Mr. Kalyan Bandopodhya,  learned
senior counsel for the State of West Bengal,  Dr.  Manish  Singhvi,  learned
AAG for the State of Rajasthan and Mr. Sudarshan Singh Rawat.


8)    In order to answer the main issue  posed  before  this  Bench,  it  is
useful to refer the following Sections of the Code:-


      “154. Information in cognizable cases.—
(1) Every information relating
      to the commission of a cognizable  offence,  if  given  orally  to  an
      officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing  by
      him or under his direction, and be read over  to  the  informant;  and
      every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing
      as aforesaid, shall be  signed  by  the  person  giving  it,  and  the
      substance thereof shall be entered in  a  book  to  be  kept  by  such
      officer in such form as the State Government  may  prescribe  in  this
      behalf.


      (2) A copy of the information as recorded under sub- section (1) shall
      be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.


      (3) Any person aggrieved by a refusal on the part  of  an  officer  in
      charge of a police station to record the information  referred  to  in
      subsection (1) may send the substance of such information, in  writing
      and by post,  to  the  Superintendent  of  Police  concerned  who,  if
      satisfied  that  such  information  discloses  the  commission  of   a
      cognizable offence, shall  either  investigate  the  case  himself  or
      direct an investigation to be made by any police  officer  subordinate
      to him, in the manner provided by this Code, and  such  officer  shall
      have all the powers of an officer in charge of the police  station  in
      relation to that offence.


      156. Police officer's power to investigate  cognizable  case.
 (1) Any
      officer in charge of a police station may,  without  the  order  of  a
      Magistrate, investigate any  cognizable  case  which  a  Court  having
      jurisdiction over the local area within the  limits  of  such  station
      would have power to inquire  into  or  try  under  the  provisions  of
      Chapter XIII.


      (2) No proceeding of a police officer in any such case  shall  at  any
      stage be called in question on the ground that the case was one  which
      such officer was not empowered under this section to investigate.


      (3) Any Magistrate empowered under  section  190  may  order  such  an
      investigation as above- mentioned.


      157. Procedure for investigation: 
(1) If, from information received or
      otherwise, an officer in charge of a  police  station  has  reason  to
      suspect the commission of an  offence  which  he  is  empowered  under
      Section 156 to investigate, he shall forthwith send a  report  of  the
      same to a Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of such offence upon
      a police report and shall proceed in person, or shall  depute  one  of
      his subordinate officers not  being  below  such  rank  as  the  State
      Government may, by general or special order, prescribe in this behalf,
      to proceed, to the spot, to investigate the facts and circumstances of
      the case, and, if necessary, to take measures for  the  discovery  and
      arrest of the offender:


      Provided that-


      (a) when information as to the commission of any such offence is given
      against any person by name and the case is not of  a  serious  nature,
      the officer in charge of a police station need not proceed  in  person
      or depute a subordinate officer to make an investigation on the spot;


      (b) if it appears to the officer in charge of a  police  station  that
      there is no sufficient ground for entering  on  an  investigation,  he
      shall not investigate the case.


      Provided further that in relation to an offence of rape, the recording
      of statement of the victim shall be conducted at the residence of  the
      victim or in the place of her choice and as far as  practicable  by  a
      woman police officer in the presence of her  parents  or  guardian  or
      near relatives or social worker of the locality.


      (2) In each of the cases mentioned in  clauses  (a)  and  (b)  of  the
      proviso to sub- section (1), the  officer  in  charge  of  the  police
      station shall state in his report his reasons for not fully  complying
      with the requirements of that sub-section, and, in the case  mentioned
      in clause (b) of the said proviso, the officer  shall  also  forthwith
      notify to the informant, if any, in such manner as may  be  prescribed
      by the State Government, the fact that he  will  not  investigate  the
      case or cause it to be investigated.”


Contentions:


9)    At the foremost, Mr. S.B.  Upadhyay,  learned  senior  counsel,  while
explaining the conditions mentioned in Section 154  submitted  that  Section
154(1) is mandatory as the use of the word  ‘shall’  is  indicative  of  the
statutory intent of the legislature.  He also contended  that  there  is  no
discretion left to the  police  officer  except  to  register  an  FIR.   In
support of the above proposition, he  relied  on  the  following  decisions,
viz., B. Premanand and Ors. vs. Mohan Koikal and Others (2011)  4  SCC  266,
M/s Hiralal Rattanlal Etc. Etc. vs. State of U.P. and Anr. Etc. Etc.  (1973)
1 SCC 216 and Govindlal Chhaganlal Patel  vs.  Agricultural  Produce  Market
Committee, Godhra and Ors. (1975) 2 SCC 482.


10)   Mr. Upadhyay, by further drawing our attention to  the  language  used
in  Section  154(1)  of  the  Code,  contended  that  it   merely   mentions
‘information’ without prefixing the words ‘reasonable’  or  ‘credible’.   In
order to substantiate this claim, he  relied  on  the  following  decisions,
viz., Bhajan Lal (supra), Ganesh Bhavan  Patel  and  Another  vs.  State  of
Maharashtra (1978) 4 SCC 371, Aleque Padamsee and Others vs. Union of  India
and Others (2007) 6 SCC 171, Ramesh  Kumari  (supra),  Ram  Lal  Narang  vs.
State (Delhi Administration) (1979) 2  SCC  322  and  Lallan  Chaudhary  and
Others vs. State of Bihar and Another (2006) 12 SCC 229.  Besides,  he  also
brought to light various adverse impacts  of  allowing  police  officers  to
hold preliminary inquiry before registering an FIR.


11)   Mr. K.V. Viswanathan, learned Additional Solicitor  General  appearing
on behalf  of  Union  of  India  submitted  that  in  all  the  cases  where
information is received under Section 154 of the Code, it is  mandatory  for
the police to forthwith enter the same into the register maintained for  the
said purpose, if the same relates to commission  of  a  cognizable  offence.
According to learned ASG, the  police  authorities  have  no  discretion  or
authority, whatsoever, to ascertain the veracity of such information  before
deciding to register it.  He also pointed out that  a  police  officer,  who
proceeds to the spot under Sections 156 and 157 of the Code,  on  the  basis
of either a cryptic information or source information,  or  a  rumour  etc.,
has to immediately, on gathering information relating to the  commission  of
a cognizable offence, send a report (ruqqa) to the police  station  so  that
the same can be registered as FIR.  He also highlighted the  scheme  of  the
Code relating to  the  registration  of  FIR,  arrest,  various  protections
provided to the accused and the power of police to close investigation.   In
support of his claim, he relied on various decisions  of  this  Court  viz.,
Bhajan Lal (supra), Ramesh Kumari (supra) and Aleque Padamsee  (supra).   He
also deliberated upon the distinguishable judgments  in  conflict  with  the
mandatory proposition, viz., State of Uttar  Pradesh  vs.  Bhagwant  Kishore
Joshi (1964) 3 SCR 71,  P.  Sirajuddin  (supra),  Sevi  (supra),  Shashikant
(supra), Rajinder Singh Katoch (supra), Jacob Mathew vs. State of  Punjab  &
Anr. (2005) 6 SCC 1.  He concluded his  arguments  by  saying  that  if  any
information disclosing a cognizable offence is led  before  an  officer  in-
charge of a police station satisfying the requirements of Section 154(1)  of
the Code, the said police officer has no other option except  to  enter  the
substance thereof in the prescribed form, that is  to  say,  to  register  a
case on the basis of such information. Further, he emphasized  upon  various
safeguards provided under the Code against filing a false case.


12)   Dr. Ashok Dhamija, learned counsel for the  CBI,  submitted  that  the
use of the word “shall” under Section 154(1) of the  Code  clearly  mandates
that if the information given to a police officer relates to the  commission
of a cognizable offence, then it  is  mandatory  for  him  to  register  the
offence.  According to learned counsel, in such circumstances, there  is  no
option or discretion given to the police.  He  further  contended  that  the
word “shall” clearly implies a mandate and  is  unmistakably  indicative  of
the statutory intent.  What is necessary, according to  him,  is  only  that
the  information  given  to  the  police  must  disclose  commission  of   a
cognizable offence.  He also contended that Section 154  of  the  Code  uses
the word “information” simpliciter and does  not  use  the  qualified  words
such  as  “credible  information”  or  “reasonable  complaint”.   Thus,  the
intention of  the  Parliament  is  unequivocally  clear  from  the  language
employed that a mere information relating  to  commission  of  a  cognizable
offence is sufficient to register an FIR.  He  also  relied  on  Bhajan  Lal
(supra), Ramesh Kumari (supra), Aleque Padamsee  (supra),  Lallan  Chaudhary
(supra), Superintendent of Police, CBI vs. Tapan Kumar Singh  (2003)  6  SCC
175, M/s Hiralal Rattanlal (supra), B. Premanand  (supra),  Khub  Chand  vs.
State of Rajasthan AIR 1967 SC 1074, P. Sirajuddin (supra),  Rajinder  Singh
Katoch (supra), Bhagwant Kishore Joshi (supra), State  of  West  Bengal  vs.
Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights,  West  Bengal  (2010)  3  SCC
571.  He also pointed out various safeguards provided in  the  Code  against
filing a false case.  In the end,  he  concluded  by  reiterating  that  the
registration of FIR is mandatory under Section  154  of  the  Code,  if  the
information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no  preliminary
inquiry is permissible in such a  situation.   Further,  he  also  clarified
that  the  preliminary  inquiry  conducted  by  the   CBI,   under   certain
situations, as provided under the CBI Crime Manual, stands  on  a  different
footing due to the special provisions relating to the CBI contained  in  the
Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, which is saved under  Sections
4(2) and 5 of the Code.


13)   Mr. Kalyan Bandopadhyay, learned senior counsel  appearing  on  behalf
of the State  of  West  Bengal,  submitted  that  whenever  any  information
relating to commission of a cognizable offence is received, it is  the  duty
of the officer in-charge of a police station to record the same and  a  copy
of such information,  shall  be  given  forthwith,  free  of  cost,  to  the
informant under Section 154(2) of the Code.   According  to  him,  a  police
officer has no other alternative but to record the information  in  relation
to a cognizable offence in the first instance.  He also highlighted  various
subsequent steps to be followed  by  the  police  officer  pursuant  to  the
registration of an FIR.  With regard to the scope  of  Section  154  of  the
Code, he relied on H.N. Rishbud and Inder Singh vs. State of Delhi AIR  1955
SC 196, Bhajan Lal (supra), S.N. Sharma vs. Bipen Kumar Tiwari (1970) 1  SCC
653, Union of India vs. Prakash P. Hinduja (2003) 6 SCC  195,  Sheikh  Hasib
alias Tabarak vs. State of Bihar  (1972)  4  SCC  773,  Shashikant  (supra),
Ashok Kumar Todi vs. Kishwar Jahan  and  Others  (2011)  3  SCC  758,  Padma
Sundara Rao (Dead) and Others vs. State of T.N.  and  Others  (2002)  3  SCC
533, P. Sirajuddin (supra), Rajinder Singh Katoch (supra), Bhagwant  Kishore
Joshi (supra) and Mannalal Khatic vs. The State AIR 1967 Cal 478.


14)   Dr. Manish Singhvi, learned Additional Advocate General for the  State
of Rajasthan, submitted that Section 154(1) of the Code mandates  compulsory
registration of FIR.  He also highlighted various safeguards inbuilt in  the
Code for lodging  of  false  FIRs.   He  also  pointed  out  that  the  only
exception relates to cases arising under the Prevention  of  Corruption  Act
as, in those cases, sanction is necessary before taking  cognizance  by  the
Magistrates and the public servants are accorded some kind of protection  so
that vexatious cases cannot be filed to harass them.


15)   Mr. G. Sivabalamurugan, learned counsel for the appellant in  Criminal
Appeal No. 1410 of 2011,  after  tracing  the  earlier  history,  viz.,  the
relevant provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure of  1861,  1872,  1882
and  1898  stressed  as  to  why  the  compulsory  registration  of  FIR  is
mandatory.  He also highlighted the recommendations of  the  Report  of  the
41st Law Commission  and  insertion  of  Section  13  of  the  Criminal  Law
(Amendment) Act, 2013 with effect from 03.02.2013.


16)   Mr. R.K. Dash, learned senior  counsel  appearing  for  the  State  of
Uttar Pradesh, though initially commenced his arguments  by  asserting  that
in order to check unnecessary harassment to innocent persons at  the  behest
of unscrupulous complainants, it is desirable  that  a  preliminary  inquiry
into the allegations  should  precede  with  the  registration  of  FIR  but
subsequently after considering the salient features  of  the  Code,  various
provisions like Sections 2(4) (h), 156(1), 202(1), 164,  various  provisions
from the U.P. Police Regulations, learned senior counsel contended  that  in
no case recording of FIR should be deferred till verification of  its  truth
or otherwise in case of information relating to a  cognizable  offence.   In
addition to the same, he also  relied  on  various  pronouncements  of  this
Court, such as, Mohindro vs. State  of  Punjab  (2001)  9  SCC  581,  Ramesh
Kumari (supra), Bhajan Lal (supra), Parkash Singh Badal (supra),  Munna  Lal
vs. State of Himachal Pradesh 1992 Crl. L.J. 1558, Giridhari Lal  Kanak  vs.
State and others 2002 Crl. L.J. 2113 and  Katteri  Moideen  Kutty  Haji  vs.
State of Kerala 2002 (2) Crimes 143.  Finally, he concluded  that  when  the
statutory provisions, as envisaged in Chapter XII of  the  Code,  are  clear
and unambiguous, it would not be legally permissible to allow the police  to
make a preliminary inquiry into the allegations before  registering  an  FIR
under Section 154 of the Code.


17)   Mr. Sidharth Luthra, learned Additional  Solicitor  General  appearing
for the State of Chhattisgarh, commenced his arguments  by  emphasizing  the
scope  of  reference  before  the  Constitution  Bench.   Subsequently,   he
elaborated on various judgments which held that  an  investigating  officer,
on receiving  information  of  commission  of  a  cognizable  offence  under
Section 154 of the Code, has power to  conduct  preliminary  inquiry  before
registration of FIR, viz., Bhagwant Kishore  Joshi  (supra),  P.  Sirajuddin
(supra), Sevi (supra) and Rajinder Singh Katoch  (supra).  Concurrently,  he
also brought to  our  notice  the  following  decisions,  viz.,  Bhajan  Lal
(supra), Ramesh Kumari (supra), Parkash  Singh  Badal  (supra),  and  Aleque
Padamsee (supra), which  held  that  a  police  officer  is  duty  bound  to
register an FIR, upon receipt of  information  disclosing  commission  of  a
cognizable offence and the power  of  preliminary  inquiry  does  not  exist
under the mandate of Section 154.  Learned ASG has put forth  a  comparative
analysis of Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure  of  1898  and  of
1973. He also highlighted that every  activity  which  occurs  in  a  police
station [Section 2(s)] is entered  in  a  diary  maintained  at  the  police
station which may be called as the General Diary,  Station  Diary  or  Daily
Diary.  He underlined  the  relevance  of  General  Diary  by  referring  to
various  judicial  decisions  such  as  Tapan  Kumar  Singh   (supra),   Re:
Subbaratnam & Ors. AIR 1949  Madras  663.   He  further  pointed  out  that,
presently, throughout  the  country,  in  matrimonial,  commercial,  medical
negligence and corruption  related  offences,  there  exist  provisions  for
conducting an inquiry or preliminary inquiry by the  police,  without/before
registering an FIR under Section 154 of the Code.  He also  brought  to  our
notice various police rules prevailing in the States of  Punjab,  Rajasthan,
U.P., Madhya Pradesh, Kolkata,  Bombay,  etc.,  for  conducting  an  inquiry
before registering an FIR. Besides, he also attempted to draw  an  inference
from the Crime Manual of the CBI to highlight  that  a  preliminary  inquiry
before registering a case is permissible and legitimate in the eyes of  law.
Adverting  to  the  above  contentions,  he  concluded  by   pleading   that
preliminary  inquiry  before  registration  of  an  FIR   should   be   held
permissible. Further, he emphasized that the power to carry out  an  inquiry
or preliminary inquiry by the police, which  precedes  the  registration  of
FIR will eliminate the misuse of the process, as  the  registration  of  FIR
serves as an impediment against a person for  various  important  activities
like applying for a job or a passport, etc.  Learned ASG  further  requested
this Court to frame guidelines for   certain  category  of  cases  in  which
preliminary inquiry should be made.


18)   Mr. Shekhar Naphade, learned senior counsel  appearing  on  behalf  of
the State of  Maharashtra,  submitted  that  ordinarily  the  Station  House
Officer (SHO) should record an FIR upon  receiving  a  complaint  disclosing
the ingredients of a cognizable offence, but in certain situations, in  case
of doubt about the correctness or credibility of the information, he  should
have the discretion of holding a preliminary inquiry and thereafter,  if  he
is satisfied that there is a prima facie case  for  investigation,  register
the FIR.  A mandatory duty of registering FIR should not be cast  upon  him.
According  to  him,  this  interpretation  would   harmonize   two   extreme
positions, viz., the proposition that the moment  the  complaint  disclosing
ingredients of a cognizable offence  is  lodged,  the  police  officer  must
register an FIR without any scrutiny whatsoever is  an  extreme  proposition
and is contrary to the mandate of Article 21 of the Constitution  of  India,
similarly, the other extreme point of view is that the police  officer  must
investigate the case substantially before registering an FIR.   Accordingly,
he pointed out that both must be rejected and a middle path must be  chosen.
 He also submitted  the  following  judgments,  viz.,  Bhajan  Lal  (supra),
Ramesh Kumari (supra), Parkash Singh  Badal  (supra),  and  Aleque  Padamsee
(supra) wherein it has been held that if a complaint alleging commission  of
a cognizable offence is received in the police station, then the SHO has  no
other option but  to  register  an  FIR  under  Section  154  of  the  Code.
According to learned senior counsel, these verdicts require  reconsideration
as they have interpreted Section 154 de hors the  other  provisions  of  the
Code and have failed to consider the impact of Article 21 on Section 154  of
the Code.


19)   Alongside, he pointed out  the  following  decisions,  viz.,  Rajinder
Singh Katoch (supra), P. Sirajuddin (supra), Bhagwant Kishore Joshi  (supra)
and Sevi (supra), which hold that before registering an  FIR  under  Section
154 of the Code, it is open to the police  officer  to  hold  a  preliminary
inquiry to ascertain whether there is a prima facie case of commission of  a
cognizable offence or not.  According to  learned  senior  counsel,  Section
154 of the Code forms part of a chain of statutory  provisions  relating  to
investigation and, therefore, the scheme of provisions of Sections 41,  157,
167, 169, etc., must have a bearing on the interpretation  of  Section  154.
In addition, he  emphasized  that  giving  a  literal  interpretation  would
reduce the  registration  of  FIR  to  a  mechanical  act.   Parallelly,  he
underscored the impact  of  Article  21  on  Section  154  of  the  Code  by
referring to Maneka Gandhi  vs. Union of India (1978)  1  SCC  248,  wherein
this Court  has  applied  Article  21  to  several  provisions  relating  to
criminal law.   This  Court  has  also  stated  that  the  expression  “law”
contained in Article 21 necessarily postulates law which is  reasonable  and
not merely  statutory  provisions  irrespective  of  its  reasonableness  or
otherwise.  Learned senior counsel pleaded that in the light of Article  21,
provisions of Section 154 of the Code must be read down to mean that  before
registering an FIR, the police officer must be satisfied  that  there  is  a
prima facie case for investigation.  He also  emphasized  that  Section  154
contains implied power of the police officer to hold preliminary inquiry  if
he  bona  fide  possess  serious  doubts  about  the  credibility   of   the
information given to him.  By pointing out  Criminal  Law  (Amendment)  Act,
2013, particularly, Section 166A, Mr.  Naphade  contended  that  as  far  as
other cognizable offences (apart from those mentioned in Section  166A)  are
concerned, police has a discretion to hold preliminary inquiry if  there  is
some doubt about the correctness of the information.


20)   In case of allegations relating to medical negligence on the  part  of
the doctors, it is pointed out by drawing  our  attention  to  some  of  the
decisions of this Court  viz.,  Tapan  Kumar  Singh  (supra),  Jacob  Mathew
(supra) etc., that no medical professional should be  prosecuted  merely  on
the basis of the allegations in the  complaint.   By  pointing  out  various
decisions, Mr. Naphade emphasized that in appropriate  cases,  it  would  be
proper for a police officer, on receipt  of  a  complaint  of  a  cognizable
offence, to satisfy himself that at least prima facie  allegations  levelled
against the accused in the complaint are credible.  He also  contended  that
no single provision of a statute can be read and interpreted  in  isolation,
but the statute must be read as a whole.  Accordingly, he  prayed  that  the
provisions of Sections 41, 57, 156, 157, 159, 167, 190, 200 and 202  of  the
Code must be read together.  He also pointed out that Section 154(3) of  the
Code enables any complainant whose complaint is not registered as an FIR  by
the officer in-charge of the police station to approach  the  higher  police
officer for the purpose of getting his complaint registered as  an  FIR  and
in such a case, the higher police officer has all the  powers  of  recording
an FIR and directing investigation into the  matter.   In  addition  to  the
remedy available  to  an  aggrieved  person  of  approaching  higher  police
officer, he can also move the concerned Magistrate  by  making  a  complaint
under Section 190 thereof.  He further emphasized that  the  fact  that  the
legislature has provided adequate remedies against refusal to  register  FIR
and  to  hold  investigation  in  cognizable  offences,  is  indicative   of
legislative intent that the police  officer  is  not  bound  to  record  FIR
merely because the ingredients of a cognizable offence are disclosed in  the
complaint, if he has doubts about the veracity of the  complaint.   He  also
pointed out that the word “shall” used in the statute does not  always  mean
absence of any discretion in the matter.  For the said proposition, he  also
highlighted  that  this  Court  has  preferred   the   rule   of   purposive
interpretation to the rule of literal interpretation for which he relied  on
Chairman Board of Mining  Examination  and  Chief  Inspector  of  Mines  and
Another vs. Ramjee (1977) 2 SCC 256, Lalit Mohan  Pandey  vs.  Pooran  Singh
(2004) 6 SCC 626, Prativa Bose vs. Kumar Rupendra Deb Raikat  (1964)  4  SCR
69.  He further pointed out that it is impossible to put the  provisions  of
Section 154 of the Code in a straightjacket formula.   He  also  prayed  for
framing of some guidelines as regards registration  or  non-registration  of
FIR.  Finally, he pointed out that the requirement of  Article  21  is  that
the procedure should be fair and just.  According  to  him,  if  the  police
officer has doubts in the matter, it is imperative that he should  have  the
discretion of holding a  preliminary  inquiry  in  the  matter.   If  he  is
debarred from holding such a preliminary inquiry, the procedure  would  then
suffer from  the  vice  of  arbitrariness  and  unreasonableness.  Thus,  he
concluded his arguments by pleading that Section 154 of  the  Code  must  be
interpreted in the light of Article 21.


21)   Ms. Vibha Datta Makhija, learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  the
State of Madhya Pradesh submitted that a plain reading of  Section  154  and
other provisions of the Code shows that it  may  not  be  mandatory  but  is
absolutely obligatory on the part of the police officer to register  an  FIR
prior to taking any steps or  conducting  investigation  into  a  cognizable
offence.   She  further  pointed  out  that  after   receiving   the   first
information of an offence and prior to the registration of the  said  report
(whether oral or written) in the First Information Book  maintained  at  the
police  station  under  various  State  Government  regulations,  only  some
preliminary  inquiry  or  investigative  steps  are  permissible  under  the
statutory framework of the Code to the  extent  as  is  justifiable  and  is
within the window of statutory discretion granted strictly for  the  purpose
of ascertaining whether there has been a commission or not of  a  cognizable
offence.  Hence, an investigation, culminating into  a  Final  Report  under
Section 173 of the Code, cannot be called into question and be  quashed  due
to the reason that a part of  the  inquiry,  investigation  or  steps  taken
during investigation are conducted after  receiving  the  first  information
but prior to  registering  the  same  unless  it  is  found  that  the  said
investigation is unfair, illegal,  mala  fide  and  has  resulted  in  grave
prejudice to the right of the accused to fair investigation.  In support  of
the above contentions, she traced the earlier provisions  of  the  Code  and
current statutory framework, viz., Criminal Law (Amendment) Act,  2013  with
reference to various decisions of this Court.  She  concluded  that  Section
154 of the Code leaves no area of doubt that where a cognizable  offence  is
disclosed, there is no discretion on the part of the  police  to  record  or
not to record the said information, however, it  may  differ  from  case  to
case.


22)   The issues before the Constitution Bench of this Court  arise  out  of
two main conflicting areas of concern, viz.,


(i)   Whether the immediate non-registration  of  FIR  leads  to  scope  for
      manipulation  by  the  police  which  affects   the   right   of   the
      victim/complainant to have a complaint immediately  investigated  upon
      allegations being made; and


(ii)  Whether in cases where  the  complaint/information  does  not  clearly
      disclose the commission  of  a  cognizable  offence  but  the  FIR  is
      compulsorily registered  then  does  it  infringe  the  rights  of  an
      accused.


Discussion:


23)   The FIR is a pertinent document in the criminal law procedure  of  our
country and its main object from the point of view of the  informant  is  to
set the  criminal  law  in  motion  and  from  the  point  of  view  of  the
investigating  authorities  is  to  obtain  information  about  the  alleged
criminal activity so as to be able to take suitable steps to  trace  and  to
bring to book the guilty.


24)   Historical experience has thrown up cases from both  the  sides  where
the grievance of the victim/informant of non-registration of valid  FIRs  as
well  as  that  of  the  accused  of  being   unnecessarily   harassed   and
investigated upon false charges have been found to be correct.


25)   An example of the first  category  of  cases  is  found  in  State  of
Maharashtra vs. Sarangdharsingh Shivdassingh Chavan & Anr. (2011) 1 SCC  577
wherein  a writ petition was filed challenging the order  of  the  Collector
in the District of Buldhana directing not to register any crime against  Mr.
Gokulchand Sananda, without obtaining  clearance  from  the  District  Anti-
Money Lending Committee and  the  District  Government  Pleader.   From  the
record, it was revealed that out of 74 cases, only in  seven  cases,  charge
sheets were filed alleging illegal  moneylending.   This  Court  found  that
upon instructions given by the Chief Minister  to  the  District  Collector,
there  was  no  registration  of  FIR  of  the  poor  farmers.    In   these
circumstances, this Court held the said instructions to be ultra  vires  and
quashed the same.  It is argued that cases like above exhibit the  mandatory
character of Section 154, and if it is held  otherwise,  it  shall  lead  to
grave injustice.


26)   In Aleque Padamsee (supra), while dealing with the  issue  whether  it
is within the powers of courts to issue  a  writ  directing  the  police  to
register a First Information Report in a case where it was alleged that  the
accused had made speeches likely to disturb  communal  harmony,  this  Court
held that “the police officials ought to register  the  FIR  whenever  facts
brought to their notice show that a cognizable offence has  been  made  out.
In case the police officials fail to do so, the  modalities  to  be  adopted
are as set out in Section 190 read with Section 200 of the Code.”  As  such,
the Code itself provides several checks for  refusal  on  the  part  of  the
police authorities under Section 154 of the Code.


27)   However, on the other hand, there are a number of cases which  exhibit
that there are instances where the power of the police to  register  an  FIR
and initiate  an  investigation  thereto  are  misused  where  a  cognizable
offence is not made out from the contents of the complaint.   A  significant
case in this context is the case of Preeti  Gupta  vs.  State  of  Jharkhand
(2010) 7 SCC 667 wherein this Court has expressed its  anxiety  over  misuse
of Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short  ‘the  IPC’)  with
respect to which a large number of  frivolous  reports  were  lodged.   This
Court  expressed  its  desire  that   the   legislature   must   take   into
consideration the informed public opinion and  the  pragmatic  realities  to
make necessary changes in law.


28)   The abovesaid judgment  resulted  in  the  243rd  Report  of  the  Law
Commission of India submitted on 30th August, 2012.  The Law Commission,  in
its Report, concluded that though the offence under Section 498-A  could  be
made compoundable, however, the extent of  misuse  was  not  established  by
empirical data, and, thus, could not be a ground to denude the provision  of
its efficacy.  The  Law  Commission  also  observed  that  the  law  on  the
question  whether  the  registration  of  FIR  could  be  postponed  for   a
reasonable time is in a state of uncertainty and can  be  crystallized  only
upon this Court putting at rest the present controversy.


29)   In order to arrive at a conclusion in the light of divergent views  on
the point and also to answer the above contentions, it is pertinent to  have
a look at  the  historical  background  of  the  Section  and  corresponding
provisions that existed in the previous enactments of the Code  of  Criminal
Procedure.


Code of Criminal Procedure, 1861


      “139. Every complaint or information preferred to an officer in charge
      of a police station, shall be reduced into writing and  the  substance
      thereof shall be entered in a diary to be kept  by  such  officer,  in
      such form as shall be prescribed by the local government.”


Code of Criminal Procedure, 1872


       “112. Every complaint preferred to an officer in charge of  a  police
      station, shall be reduced into writing, and shall be signed, sealed or
      marked by the person making it; and the  substance  thereof  shall  be
      entered in a book to be kept by such officer in the form prescribed by
      the local government.”


Code of Criminal Procedure, 1882


      “154. Every information relating to the  commission  of  a  cognizable
      offence if given orally to an officer in charge of a  police  station,
      shall be reduced to writing by him, or under  his  direction,  and  be
      read over to the informant; and every such information, whether  given
      in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by  the
      person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book
      to be kept by such form  as  the  government  may  prescribe  in  this
      behalf.”






Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898


      “154. Every information relating to the  commission  of  a  cognizable
      offence if given orally to an officer in charge of a  police  station,
      shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be read
      over to the informant; and every such information,  whether  given  in
      writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall  be  signed  by  the
      person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book
      to be kept by  such  officer  in  such  form  as  the  Government  may
      prescribe in this behalf.”


Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973


      “154. Information in cognizable cases: 
1) Every  information  relating
      to the commission of a cognizable  offence,  it  given  orally  to  an
      officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing  by
      him or under his direction, and be read over  to  the  informant;  and
      every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing
      as aforesaid, shall be  signed  by  the  person  giving  it,  and  the
      substance thereof shall be entered in  a  book  to  be  kept  by  such
      officer in such form as the State Government  may  prescribe  in  this
      behalf.


      [Provided that if the information is given by the woman  against  whom
      an offence under Sections 326A, 326B, 354,  354A,  354B,  354C,  354D,
      376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376E or Section 509 of the  Indian  Penal
      Code is alleged  to  have  been  committed  or  attempted,  then  such
      information shall be recorded by a woman police officer or  any  woman
      officer:-


      Provided further that:-


      (a) in the event  that  the  person  against  whom  an  offence  under
      Sections 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D, 376,  376A,  376B,  376C,  376D,
      376E or Section 509 of the Indian Penal code is alleged to  have  been
      committed or attempted  is  temporarily  or  permanently  mentally  or
      physically disabled then such  information  shall  be  recorded  by  a
      police officer, at the residence of the person seeking to report  such
      offence or at a convenient place  of  such  person’s  choice,  in  the
      presence of an interpreter or a special educator, as the case may be;


      (b)   the recording of such information shall be videographed;


      (c)   the police  officer  shall  get  the  statement  of  the  person
      recorded by a Judicial Magistrate under clause (a) of sub-Section (5A)
      of Section 164 as soon as possible.]


      (Inserted by Section 13 of ‘The Criminal  Law  (Amendment)  Act,  2013
      w.e.f. 03.02.2013)


      (2) A copy of the information as recorded under sub- section (1) shall
      be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.


      (3) Any person aggrieved by a refusal on the part  of  an  officer  in
      charge of a police station to record the information  referred  to  in
      subsection (1) may send the substance of such information, in  writing
      and by post,  to  the  Superintendent  of  Police  concerned  who,  if
      satisfied  that  such  information  discloses  the  commission  of   a
      cognizable offence, shall  either  investigate  the  case  himself  or
      direct an investigation to be made by any police  officer  subordinate
      to him, in the manner provided by this Code, and  such  officer  shall
      have all the powers of an officer in charge of the police  station  in
      relation to that offence.


      A perusal of the  above  said  provisions  manifests  the  legislative
intent in both old codes and the new code  for  compulsory  registration  of
FIR in a case of  cognizable  offence  without  conducting  any  Preliminary
Inquiry.


30)   The precursor to the present Code of 1973 is the Code of 1898  wherein
substantial changes were made in the powers and procedure of the  police  to
investigate.  The starting point of the powers of police  was  changed  from
the power of the officer in-charge of a police station to  investigate  into
a cognizable offence without the order of a Magistrate, to the reduction  of
the first information regarding commission of a cognizable offence,  whether
received orally or in writing, into writing and  into  the  book  separately
prescribed  by  the  Provincial  government   for   recording   such   first
information.


31)   As such, a significant change that took place by way of the 1898  Code
was with respect to the  placement  of  Section  154,  i.e.,  the  provision
imposing  requirement  of  recording   the   first   information   regarding
commission of a cognizable offence in the  special  book  prior  to  Section
156, i.e., the provision empowering the  police  officer  to  investigate  a
cognizable offence.  As such, the objective of such placement of  provisions
was clear which was to ensure that the recording of  the  first  information
should be the starting point of any investigation by  the  police.   In  the
interest of expediency of investigation since  there  was  no  safeguard  of
obtaining permission from the Magistrate to commence an  investigation,  the
said procedure of recording first information in their books along with  the
signature/seal of  the  informant,  would  act  as  an  “extremely  valuable
safeguard”  against  the  excessive,  mala  fide  and  illegal  exercise  of
investigative powers by the police.


32)   Provisions contained in Chapter XII of the Code deal with  information
to the police and their powers to investigate.  The said  Chapter  sets  out
the procedure to be followed during  investigation.   The  objective  to  be
achieved by the procedure prescribed in the  said  Chapter  is  to  set  the
criminal law in motion and to provide for all procedural  safeguards  so  as
to ensure that the investigation is fair and is not mala fide and  there  is
no scope of tampering with the evidence collected during the  investigation.



33)   In addition, Mr. Shekhar Naphade,  learned  senior  counsel  contended
that insertion of Section 166A in IPC indicates that registration of FIR  is
not compulsory for all offences other than what is  specified  in  the  said
Section. 
By Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013, Section 166A was inserted  in
Indian Penal Code which reads as under:-


      “Section 166A—Whoever, being a public servant.—


      (a) knowingly disobeys any direction of the law  which  prohibits  him  from requiring the attendance at any  place  of  any  person  for  the  purpose of investigation into an offence or any other matter, or


      (b) knowingly disobeys, to the prejudice  of  any  person,  any  other direction of the law regulating the manner in which he  shall  conduct such investigation, or


      (c) fails to record any information given to him under sub-section (1) of Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, in relation to cognizable  offence  punishable  under  Section  326A,  Section  326B, Section 354, Section 354B, Section 370,  Section  370A,  Section  376,   Section 376A, Section 376B, Section 376C, Section 376D, Section  376E,
      Section 509 shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment  for  a  term
      which shall not be less than six months but which may  extend  to  two
      years and shall also be liable to fine.”






Section 166A(c) lays down that if a public servant  (Police  Officer)  fails
to record any information given to him under Section 154(1) of the  Code  in
relation to cognizable offences punishable under Sections 326A,  326B,  354,
354B, 370, 370A, 376, 376A 376B, 376C, 376D, 376E or Section 509,  he  shall
be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall  not  be  less
than six months but may extend to two years and  shall  also  be  liable  to
fine. Thus, it is the stand of learned counsel that this  provision  clearly
indicates that registration of FIR is imperative and police officer  has  no
discretion in the matter in  respect  of  offences  specified  in  the  said
section. Therefore, according to him, the legislature accepts  that  as  far
as other cognizable offences are concerned, police has discretion to hold  a
preliminary  inquiry  if  there  is  doubt  about  the  correctness  of  the
information.


34)   Although, the argument is as persuasive as it appears, yet,  we  doubt
whether such a presumption can be drawn in contravention to the  unambiguous
words employed in the said provision. Hence, insertion of  Section  166A  in
the IPC vide Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013, must be read  in  consonance
with the provision and not contrary to it.  The insertion  of  Section  166A
was in the light  of  recent  unfortunate  occurrence  of  offences  against
women.  The intention of the legislature in  putting  forth  this  amendment
was  to  tighten  the  already  existing  provisions  to  provide   enhanced
safeguards  to  women.  Therefore,  the  legislature,  after  noticing   the
increasing crimes against women in our country, thought  it  appropriate  to
expressly punish the police officers for their failure to register  FIRs  in
these cases. No  other  meaning  than  this  can  be  assigned  to  for  the
insertion of the same.


35)   With this background, let us discuss the submissions in the  light  of
various decisions both in favour and against the referred issue.


Interpretation of Section 154:


36)   It may be mentioned in this connection that  the  first  and  foremost
principle of interpretation of a statute in every system  of  interpretation
is the literal rule of interpretation. All that we have to see at  the  very
outset is what does the provision say?  As a result, the  language  employed
in Section 154 is the determinative factor of  the  legislative  intent.   A
plain reading of Section 154(1) of the Code provides  that  any  information
relating to the commission of a cognizable offence if  given  orally  to  an
officer-in-charge of a police station shall be reduced into writing  by  him
or under his direction. There is no ambiguity in  the  language  of  Section
154(1) of the Code.


37)    At  this  juncture,  it  is  apposite  to  refer  to  the   following
observations of this Court in M/s Hiralal Rattanlal  (supra)  which  are  as
under:


        “22...In construing  a  statutory  provision,  the  first  and  the
      foremost rule of construction is the literary construction.  All  that
      we have to see at the very outset is what does that provision say?  If
      the  provision  is  unambiguous  and  if  from  that  provision,   the
      legislative intent is clear, we need not call into aid the other rules
      of construction of  statutes.  The  other  rules  of  construction  of
      statutes are called into aid only when the  legislative  intention  is
      not clear…”


The above decision was followed by this Court in B.  Premanand  (supra)  and
after referring the abovesaid observations in the case of Hiralal  Rattanlal
(supra), this Court observed as under:


        “9. It may be mentioned in  this  connection  that  the  first  and
      foremost principle of interpretation of a statute in every  system  of
      interpretation is the literal rule of interpretation. The other  rules
      of interpretation e.g. the mischief  rule,  purposive  interpretation,
      etc. can only be resorted to when the plain words  of  a  statute  are
      ambiguous or lead to no intelligible  results  or  if  read  literally
      would nullify the very object of the statute. Where  the  words  of  a
      statute are absolutely clear and unambiguous, recourse cannot  be  had
      to the principles of interpretation other than the literal rule,  vide
      Swedish Match AB v. SEBI (2004) 11 SCC 641.





      The  language  of  Section  154(1),  therefore,  admits  of  no  other
construction but the literal construction.


38)   The legislative intent of Section 154 is vividly elaborated in  Bhajan
Lal (supra) which is as under:-


        “30. The legal mandate enshrined in Section 154(1)  is  that  every
      information relating to the commission of a "cognizable  offence"  (as
      defined Under Section 2(c) of the Code) if given orally (in which case
      it is to be reduced  into  writing)  or  in  writing  to  "an  officer
      incharge of a police station" (within the meaning of Section  2(o)  of
      the Code) and signed by the informant should be entered in a  book  to
      be kept by such officer in such  form  as  the  State  Government  may
      prescribe which form is commonly called as "First Information  Report"
      and which act of entering the information in the said form is known as
      registration of a crime or a case.


        31. At the stage of registration of a crime or a case on the  basis
      of the information disclosing a cognizable offence in compliance  with
      the mandate of Section  154(1)  of  the  Code,  the  concerned  police
      officer cannot embark upon an inquiry as to whether  the  information,
      laid by the informant is reliable and genuine or otherwise and  refuse
      to register a case on the ground that the information is not  reliable
      or credible. On the other hand, the officer  in  charge  of  a  police
      station is statutorily obliged to register a case and then to  proceed
      with the investigation if he has reason to suspect the  commission  of
      an offence which he is empowered under Section  156  of  the  Code  to
      investigate, subject to the  proviso  to  Section  157.  (As  we  have
      proposed to make a detailed discussion about the  power  of  a  police
      officer in the field of investigation of a cognizable  offence  within
      the ambit of Sections 156 and 157 of the Code in the ensuing  part  of
      this judgment, we do not  propose  to  deal  with  those  sections  in
      extenso in the present context.) In case, an officer in  charge  of  a
      police station refuses to exercise the jurisdiction vested in him  and
      to register a case on the information of a cognizable offence reported
      and thereby violates the statutory duty  cast  upon  him,  the  person
      aggrieved by such refusal can send the substance of the information in
      writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police concerned  who  if
      satisfied that the information forwarded to him discloses a cognizable
      offence, should either investigate  the  case  himself  or  direct  an
      investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to  him  in
      the manner provided by sub-section (3) of Section 154 of the Code.


        32. Be it noted that in Section 154(1) of the Code, the legislature
      in its  collective  wisdom  has  carefully  and  cautiously  used  the
      expression “information” without qualifying the  same  as  in  Section
      41(1)(a) or (g) of  the  Code  wherein  the  expressions,  “reasonable
      complaint” and “credible information” are used.  Evidently,  the  non-
      qualification of the word “information” in Section  154(1)  unlike  in
      Section 41(1)(a) and (g) of the Code may be for the  reason  that  the
      police officer should not refuse to record an information relating  to
      the commission of a cognizable offence and to register a case  thereon
      on the ground that he is not  satisfied  with  the  reasonableness  or
      credibility of the information. In other  words,  ‘reasonableness’  or
      ‘credibility’ of the said information is not a condition precedent for
      registration of a case. A comparison of the present Section  154  with
      those of the earlier Codes will  indicate  that  the  legislature  had
      purposely thought it fit to employ only the word “information” without
      qualifying the  said  word.  Section  139  of  the  Code  of  Criminal
      Procedure of 1861 (Act 25 of 1861) passed by the  Legislative  Council
      of India read that ‘every complaint or information’  preferred  to  an
      officer in charge of a police station should be reduced  into  writing
      which provision was subsequently modified by Section 112 of  the  Code
      of 1872 (Act 10 of 1872) which thereafter read that ‘every  complaint’
      preferred to an officer in charge of a police station shall be reduced
      in writing. The word ‘complaint’ which occurred in previous two  Codes
      of 1861 and 1872 was deleted and in that place the word  ‘information’
      was used in the Codes of 1882 and 1898  which  word  is  now  used  in
      Sections 154, 155, 157 and 190(c) of the present Code of 1973  (Act  2
      of 1974). An overall reading of all the Codes makes it clear that  the
      condition which is sine qua non  for  recording  a  first  information
      report is that there must be information  and  that  information  must
      disclose a cognizable offence.


        33. It is, therefore, manifestly  clear  that  if  any  information
      disclosing a cognizable offence is laid before an officer in charge of
      a police station satisfying the requirements of Section 154(1) of  the
      Code, the said police officer has no other option except to enter  the
      substance thereof in the prescribed form, that is to say, to  register
      a case on the basis of such information.


39)   Consequently, the condition that is sine qua non for recording an  FIR
under Section 154 of the Code is that there must  be  information  and  that
information  must  disclose  a  cognizable  offence.   If  any   information
disclosing a cognizable offence is led before an officer in  charge  of  the
police station satisfying  the  requirement  of  Section  154(1),  the  said
police officer has no other option except to enter the substance thereof  in
the prescribed form, that is to say, to register a  case  on  the  basis  of
such information. The provision of Section 154 of the Code is mandatory  and
the concerned officer is duty bound to register the case  on  the  basis  of
information disclosing a  cognizable  offence.  Thus,  the  plain  words  of
Section 154(1) of the Code have to be given their literal meaning.


‘Shall’


40)   The use of the word “shall” in Section  154(1)  of  the  Code  clearly
shows the legislative intent that it is mandatory to register an FIR if  the
information given to the police discloses the  commission  of  a  cognizable
offence.


41)   In Khub Chand (supra), this Court observed as under:


        “7…The term “shall” in its ordinary significance is  mandatory  and
      the court shall ordinarily  give  that  interpretation  to  that  term
      unless such an interpretation leads to  some  absurd  or  inconvenient
      consequence or be at variance with the intent of the  legislature,  to
      be collected from other parts of the Act. The construction of the said
      expression depends on the provisions of a particular Act, the  setting
      in which the expression appears, the object for which the direction is
      given, the consequences that would flow from the infringement  of  the
      direction and such other considerations...”






42)   It is relevant to mention that the object of using  the  word  “shall”
in the context of  Section  154(1)  of  the  Code  is  to  ensure  that  all
information relating to all cognizable offences is  promptly  registered  by
the police and investigated in accordance with the provisions of law.


43)   Investigation of offences and prosecution of offenders are the  duties
of the State.  For “cognizable offences”, a duty  has  been  cast  upon  the
police to register FIR and to  conduct  investigation  except  as  otherwise
permitted specifically under Section 157 of  the  Code.   If  a  discretion,
option or latitude is allowed to the police in the  matter  of  registration
of FIRs, it can have serious consequences on the public order situation  and
can also adversely affect the rights  of  the  victims  including  violating
their fundamental right to equality.


44)   Therefore, the context in which the word “shall”  appears  in  Section
154(1) of the  Code,  the  object  for  which  it  has  been  used  and  the
consequences that will follow from the  infringement  of  the  direction  to
register FIRs, all these factors clearly show that the word “shall” used  in
Section  154(1)  needs  to  be  given  its  ordinary  meaning  of  being  of
“mandatory” character.  The provisions of Section 154(1) of the  Code,  read
in the light of the  statutory  scheme,  do  not  admit  of  conferring  any
discretion on the officer in-charge of  the  police  station  for  embarking
upon a preliminary inquiry prior to  the  registration  of  an  FIR.  It  is
settled position of law  that  if  the  provision  is  unambiguous  and  the
legislative intent is clear, the court need  not  call  into  it  any  other
rules of construction.


45)   In view of the above, the use of the word  ‘shall’  coupled  with  the
Scheme of the Act lead to the conclusion that the legislators intended  that
if an information relating to commission of a cognizable offence  is  given,
then it would mandatorily be registered by  the  officer  in-charge  of  the
police station.  Reading ‘shall’ as ‘may’, as  contended  by  some  counsel,
would be against the Scheme of the Code.  Section 154 of the Code should  be
strictly construed  and  the  word  ‘shall’  should  be  given  its  natural
meaning.  The golden rule of interpretation can be given  a  go-by  only  in
cases where the language of the section is  ambiguous  and/or  leads  to  an
absurdity.


46)   In view of the above, we are satisfied  that  Section  154(1)  of  the
Code does not have any ambiguity in this regard and is in clear  terms.   It
is relevant to mention that Section 39 of the Code casts  a  statutory  duty
on every person  to  inform  about  commission  of  certain  offences  which
includes offences covered by Sections 121 to 126, 302, 64-A, 382, 392  etc.,
of the IPC.  It would be incongruous to suggest that though it is  the  duty
of every citizen to inform about commission of an offence,  but  it  is  not
obligatory on the officer-incharge of  a  Police  Station  to  register  the
report.  The word ‘shall’ occurring in Section 39 of  the  Code  has  to  be
given the same meaning as the word ‘shall’ occurring in  Section  154(1)  of
the Code.


‘Book’/‘Diary’


47)    It  is  contented  by  learned  ASG  appearing  for  the   State   of
Chhattisgarh that the recording of first information under  Section  154  in
the  ‘book’  is  subsequent  to  the  entry  in  the  General  Diary/Station
Diary/Daily  Diary,  which  is  maintained  in  police  station.  Therefore,
according to  learned ASG, first information is a document at  the  earliest
in the general diary, then if any preliminary inquiry is needed  the  police
officer may  conduct  the  same  and  thereafter  the  information  will  be
registered as FIR.


48)   This interpretation is wholly unfounded. The First Information  Report
is in fact the “information” that is received first in point of time,  which
is either given in writing  or  is  reduced  to  writing.   It  is  not  the
“substance” of it, which is to be entered in the  diary  prescribed  by  the
State Government.  The term ‘General Diary’ (also called as ‘Station  Diary’
or ‘Daily Diary’ in some States) is maintained not under Section 154 of  the
Code but under the provisions of Section 44 of the Police Act, 1861  in  the
States to which it applies,  or  under  the  respective  provisions  of  the
Police Act(s) applicable to a State or under the Police Manual of  a  State,
as the case may be.  Section 44  of  the  Police  Act,  1861  is  reproduced
below:-


           “44. Police-officers to keep diary.—It  shall  be  the  duty  of
           every officer in charge of a police-station to  keep  a  general
           diary in such form as shall, from time to time, be prescribed by
           the State Government and to record therein  all  complaints  and
           charged preferred, the names of all persons arrested, the  names
           of the complainants, the  offences  charged  against  them,  the
           weapons or property  that  shall  have  been  taken  from  their
           possession or otherwise, and the  names  of  the  witnesses  who
           shall have been examined.  The Magistrate of the district  shall
           be at liberty to call for any inspect such diary.”


49)   It is pertinent to note that during the year 1861, when the  aforesaid
Police Act, 1861 was passed, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1861  was  also
passed.  Section 139 of that Code dealt with registration of  FIR  and  this
Section is also referred to the word  “diary”,  as  can  be  seen  from  the
language of this Section, as reproduced below:-


      “139. Every complaint or information preferred to an officer in charge
      of a Police Station, shall be reduced into writing, and the  substance
      thereof shall be entered in a diary to be kept  by  such  officer,  in
      such form as shall be prescribed by the local government.”


Thus, Police Act, 1861 and the Code of Criminal  Procedure,  1861,  both  of
which were passed in the same year, used the same word “diary”.


50)   However, in the year 1872, a new Code came  to  be  passed  which  was
called the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1872.  Section 112 of the Code  dealt
with the issue of registration of FIR and is reproduced below:-


      “112. Every complaint preferred to an officer in charge  of  a  Police
      station shall be reduced into writing, and shall be signed, sealed, or
      marked by the person making it; and the  substance  thereof  shall  be
      entered in a book to be kept by such officer in the form prescribed by
      the Local Government.”






51)   It is, thus, clear that in the Code of  Criminal  Procedure,  1872,  a
departure was made and the word ‘book’ was used in place  of  ‘diary’.   The
word ‘book’ clearly referred to FIR book to be  maintained  under  the  Code
for registration of FIRs.


52)     The question that whether the FIR is to be recorded in the FIR  Book
or in General Diary, is no more res integra.  This issue  has  already  been
decided authoritatively by this Court.


53)   In Madhu Bala vs. Suresh Kumar (1997) 8 SCC 476, this Court  has  held
that FIR must be registered in the  FIR  Register  which  shall  be  a  book
consisting of 200 pages.  It is true that the substance of  the  information
is also to be mentioned in the Daily diary (or  the  general  diary).   But,
the basic requirement is to register the FIR in the FIR  Book  or  Register.
Even in Bhajan Lal (supra), this Court held that FIR has to be entered in  a
book in a form which is commonly called the First Information Report.


54)   It is thus clear that registration of FIR is to  be  done  in  a  book
called FIR book or FIR Register.  Of course, in addition, the  gist  of  the
FIR or the substance of the FIR may also be mentioned simultaneously in  the
General Diary as mandated in the respective Police  Act  or  Rules,  as  the
case may be, under the relevant State provisions.


55)   The General Diary is a record  of  all  important  transactions/events
taking place in a police station, including departure and arrival of  police
staff, handing over or taking over of charge, arrest of  a  person,  details
of law and order duties, visit  of  senior  officers  etc.  It  is  in  this
context that gist or substance of each FIR being registered  in  the  police
station is also mentioned in the General Diary  since  registration  of  FIR
also happens to be a very important event  in  the  police  station.   Since
General Diary is a record that is maintained chronologically  on  day-to-day
basis (on each day, starting with new number 1),  the  General  Diary  entry
reference is also mentioned  simultaneously  in  the  FIR  Book,  while  FIR
number is mentioned in the General Diary  entry  since  both  of  these  are
prepared simultaneously.


56)   It is relevant to point out that  FIR  Book  is  maintained  with  its
number given on an annual basis.  This means that  each  FIR  has  a  unique
annual number given to it.  This is on similar lines  as  the  Case  Numbers
given in courts.  Due to this reason,  it  is  possible  to  keep  a  strict
control and track over the registration of FIRs by  the  supervisory  police
officers and by the courts, wherever necessary.  Copy of each  FIR  is  sent
to the superior officers and to the concerned Judicial Magistrate.


57)   On the other hand, General Diary  contains  a  huge  number  of  other
details of the proceedings of each day.  Copy of General Diary is  not  sent
to the Judicial Magistrate having  jurisdiction  over  the  police  station,
though its copy is sent to a superior  police  officer.   Thus,  it  is  not
possible to keep strict control of  each  and  every  FIR  recorded  in  the
General Diary by superior police  officers  and/or  the  court  in  view  of
enormous amount of other details mentioned therein and the numbers  changing
every day.


58)   The signature of the complainant is obtained in the FIR  Book  as  and
when the complaint is given to the  police  station.   On  the  other  hand,
there is no such requirement of obtaining signature of  the  complainant  in
the general diary.  Moreover, at times, the complaint given may  consist  of
large number of pages, in which case it is only the gist  of  the  complaint
which is to be recorded in the General Diary and  not  the  full  complaint.
This does not fit in with the suggestion that what is  recorded  in  General
Diary  should  be  considered  to  be  the  fulfillment/compliance  of   the
requirement of Section 154 of registration  of  FIR.   In  fact,  the  usual
practice is to record the complete complaint in the FIR book  (or  annex  it
with the FIR form) but record only about one or two paragraphs (gist of  the
information) in the General Diary.


59)   In view of the above, it is useful to point  out  that  the  Code  was
enacted under Entry 2 of the Concurrent List of the Seventh Schedule to  the
Constitution which is reproduced below:-


      “2. Criminal procedure, including all matters included in the Code  of
      Criminal Procedure at the commencement of this Constitution.”


On the other hand, Police Act, 1861 (or other  similar  Acts  in  respective
States) were enacted under  Entry  2  of  the  State  List  of  the  Seventh
Schedule to the Constitution, which is reproduced below:-


      “2. Police (including railway  and  village  police)  subject  to  the
      provisions of Entry 2A of List I.”


60)   Now, at this juncture, it is pertinent to refer Article 254(1) of  the
Constitution, which lays down the  provisions  relating  to  inconsistencies
between the  laws  made  by  the  Parliament  and  the  State  Legislatures.
Article 254(1) is reproduced as under:-


      “254. Inconsistency between laws made by Parliament and laws  made  by
      the Legislatures of States


      (1) If any provision of a law made by the Legislature of  a  State  is
      repugnant  to  any  provision  of  a  law  made  by  Parliament  which
      Parliament is competent to enact, or to any provision of  an  existing
      law with respect to one of the matters enumerated  in  the  Concurrent
      List, then, subject to the provisions of clause (2), the law  made  by
      Parliament, whether passed  before  or  after  the  law  made  by  the
      Legislature of such State, or, as the case may be, the  existing  law,
      shall prevail and the law made by the Legislature of the State  shall,
      to the extent of the repugnancy, be void.”






Thus it is clear from the mandate of  Article  254(1)  of  the  Constitution
that if there is any inconsistency between the provisions of  the  Code  and
the Police Act, 1861, the provisions  of  the  Code  will  prevail  and  the
provisions of the Police Act would be void to the extent of the repugnancy.


61)   If at all, there is any inconsistency in  the  provisions  of  Section
154 of the Code and Section 44 of the Police Act, 1861, with regard  to  the
fact as to whether the FIR is to be registered in the FIR  book  or  in  the
General Diary, the provisions of Section 154 of the Code  will  prevail  and
the provisions of Section 44 of the Police Act, 1861 (or similar  provisions
of the respective corresponding Police Act  or  Rules  in  other  respective
States) shall be void to the extent of the repugnancy.  Thus, FIR is  to  be
recorded in the FIR Book, as mandated under Section 154 of the Code, and  it
is not correct to state that information  will  be  first  recorded  in  the
General  Diary  and  only  after  preliminary  inquiry,  if  required,   the
information will be registered as FIR.


62)   However, this Court in Tapan Kumar  Singh  (supra),  held  that  a  GD
entry may be treated as First information in an appropriate case,  where  it
discloses the commission of a cognizable offence. It was held as under:


      “15. It is the correctness of this finding which is assailed before us
      by the appellants. They contend that the information recorded  in  the
      GD entry does disclose the commission of a  cognizable  offence.  They
      submitted that even if their contention, that after recording  the  GD
      entry only a preliminary inquiry was made, is not accepted,  they  are
      still entitled to sustain the legality of  the  investigation  on  the
      basis that the GD entry may be treated as a first information  report,
      since it disclosed the commission of a cognizable offence.


      16. The parties before us did not dispute the legal position that a GD
      entry may be treated as a first information report in  an  appropriate
      case, where it discloses the commission of a  cognizable  offence.  If
      the contention of the appellants is upheld,  the  order  of  the  High
      Court must  be  set  aside  because  if  there  was  in  law  a  first
      information report disclosing the commission of a cognizable  offence,
      the police had the power and jurisdiction to investigate, and  in  the
      process of  investigation  to  conduct  search  and  seizure.  It  is,
      therefore, not necessary for us to consider the authorities  cited  at
      the Bar on the question of validity of the preliminary inquiry and the
      validity of the search and seizure.


      Xxx xxxx


      19. The High Court fell into an error in thinking that the information
      received by the police could not be treated  as  a  first  information
      report since the allegation was vague inasmuch as it  was  not  stated
      from whom the sum of rupees one lakh was demanded  and  accepted.  Nor
      was it stated that such demand or acceptance was  made  as  motive  or
      reward for doing or forbearing to do any official act, or for  showing
      or forbearing to show in exercise of his official function, favour  or
      disfavour to any person or for rendering,  attempting  to  render  any
      service or disservice to any person. Thus there was  no  basis  for  a
      police officer to suspect the commission of an offence  which  he  was
      empowered under Section 156 of the Code to investigate.”






63)   It is thus unequivocally clear that registration of FIR  is  mandatory
and also that it is to be recorded in  the  FIR  Book  by  giving  a  unique
annual number to each FIR to  enable  strict  tracking  of  each  and  every
registered FIR by the superior police officers as well as by  the  competent
court to which copies of each FIR are required to be sent.


‘Information’


64)   The legislature has consciously used the expression  “information”  in
Section 154(1) of the  Code  as  against  the  expression  used  in  Section
41(1)(a) and (g) where the expression used for arresting  a  person  without
warrant is “reasonable complaint” or “credible information”. The  expression
under  Section  154(1)  of  the  Code  is  not  qualified  by   the   prefix
“reasonable”  or  “credible”.    The   non   qualification   of   the   word
“information” in Section 154(1) unlike in Section 41(1)(a) and  (g)  of  the
Code is for the reason that the police officer should not refuse  to  record
any information relating to the commission of a cognizable  offence  on  the
ground that he is not satisfied with the reasonableness  or  credibility  of
the information. In other words, reasonableness or credibility of  the  said
information is not a condition precedent for the registration of a case.


65)   The above view has been expressed by this Court in Bhajan Lal  (supra)
which is as under:-


        “32. ... in Section 154(1) of the  Code,  the  legislature  in  its
      collective wisdom has carefully and  cautiously  used  the  expression
      “information” without qualifying the same as in  Section  41(1)(a)  or
      (g) of the Code wherein the expressions,  “reasonable  complaint”  and
      “credible information” are used. Evidently, the  non-qualification  of
      the word “information” in Section 154(1) unlike  in  Section  41(1)(a)
      and (g) of the Code may be for the  reason  that  the  police  officer
      should not refuse to record an information relating to the  commission
      of a cognizable offence and to register a case thereon on  the  ground
      that he is not satisfied with the reasonableness or credibility of the
      information. In other words, ‘reasonableness’ or ‘credibility’ of  the
      said information is not a condition precedent for  registration  of  a
      case. A comparison of the  present  Section  154  with  those  of  the
      earlier Codes will indicate that the legislature had purposely thought
      it fit to employ only the word “information”  without  qualifying  the
      said word.”


66)   In Parkash Singh Badal (supra), this Court held as under:-


      “65. The legal mandate enshrined  in  Section  154(1)  is  that  every
   information relating to the commission  of  a  “cognizable  offence”  [as
   defined under Section 2(c) of the Code] if given orally (in which case it
   is to be reduced into writing) or in writing to “an officer in charge  of
   a police station” [within the meaning of Section 2(o) of  the  Code]  and
   signed by the informant should be entered in a book to be  kept  by  such
   officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe which form  is
   commonly called as “first information report” and which act  of  entering
   the information in the said form is known as registration of a crime or a
   case.


      66. At the stage of registration of a crime or a case on the basis  of
   the information disclosing a cognizable offence in  compliance  with  the
   mandate of Section 154(1) of  the  Code,  the  police  officer  concerned
   cannot embark upon an inquiry as to whether the information laid  by  the
   informant is reliable and genuine or otherwise and refuse to  register  a
   case on the ground that the information is not reliable or  credible.  On
   the other hand, the officer in charge of a police station is  statutorily
   obliged to register a case and then to proceed with the investigation  if
   he has reason to suspect  the  commission  of  an  offence  which  he  is
   empowered under Section 156 of the Code to investigate,  subject  to  the
   proviso to Section 157 thereof. In case an officer in charge of a  police
   station refuses to  exercise  the  jurisdiction  vested  in  him  and  to
   register a case on the information of a cognizable offence  reported  and
   thereby violates the statutory duty cast upon him, the  person  aggrieved
   by such refusal can send the substance of the information in writing  and
   by post to the Superintendent of Police concerned who if  satisfied  that
   the information forwarded to him discloses a cognizable  offence,  should
   either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made
   by any police officer subordinate to him in the manner provided  by  sub-
   section (3) of Section 154 of the Code.


      67. It has to be noted  that  in  Section  154(1)  of  the  Code,  the
   legislature in its collective wisdom has carefully  and  cautiously  used
   the expression “information” without qualifying the same as  in  Sections
   41(1)(a)  or  (g)  of  the  Code  wherein  the  expressions   “reasonable
   complaint” and “credible  information”  are  used.  Evidently,  the  non-
   qualification of the word  “information”  in  Section  154(1)  unlike  in
   Sections 41(1)(a) and (g) of the Code may be  for  the  reason  that  the
   police officer should not refuse to record an information relating to the
   commission of a cognizable offence and to register a case thereon on  the
   ground that he is not satisfied with the reasonableness or credibility of
   the information. In other words, “reasonableness” or “credibility” of the
   said information is not a condition precedent for registration of a case.
   A comparison of the present Section 154 with those of the  earlier  Codes
   will indicate that the legislature had purposely thought it fit to employ
   only the word “information” without qualifying the said word. Section 139
   of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1861 (Act 25 of 1861) passed by  the
   Legislative Council of India read that “every complaint  or  information”
   preferred to an officer in charge of a police station should  be  reduced
   into writing which provision was subsequently modified by Section 112  of
   the Code of 1872 (Act 10 of  1872)  which  thereafter  read  that  “every
   complaint” preferred to an officer in charge of a police station shall be
   reduced in writing. The word “complaint” which occurred in  previous  two
   Codes  of  1861  and  1872  was  deleted  and  in  that  place  the  word
   “information” was used in the Codes of 1882 and 1898 which  word  is  now
   used in Sections 154, 155, 157 and 190(c) of the Code. An overall reading
   of all the Codes makes it clear that the condition which is sine qua  non
   for recording a first  information  report  is  that  there  must  be  an
   information and that information must disclose a cognizable offence.


      68. It  is,  therefore,  manifestly  clear  that  if  any  information
   disclosing a cognizable offence is laid before an officer in charge of  a
   police station satisfying the requirements of Section 154(1) of the Code,
   the said police officer has no other option except to enter the substance
   thereof in the prescribed form, that is to say, to register a case on the
   basis of such information.”


67)   In Ramesh Kumari (supra), this Court held as under:-


      4. That a police officer mandatorily registers a case on  a  complaint
   of a cognizable offence by the citizen under Section 154 of the  Code  is
   no more res integra. The point of law has been set at rest by this  Court
   in State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal. This Court after examining  the  whole
   gamut and intricacies of the mandatory nature of Section 154 of the  Code
   has arrived at the finding in paras 31 and 32 of the judgment as under:


        “31. At the stage of registration of a crime or a case on the basis
      of the information disclosing a cognizable offence in compliance  with
      the mandate  of  Section  154(1)  of  the  Code,  the  police  officer
      concerned cannot embark upon an inquiry as to whether the information,
      laid by the informant is reliable and genuine or otherwise and  refuse
      to register a case on the ground that the information is not  reliable
      or credible. On the other hand, the officer  in  charge  of  a  police
      station is statutorily obliged to register a case and then to  proceed
      with the investigation if he has reason to suspect the  commission  of
      an offence which he is empowered under Section  156  of  the  Code  to
      investigate, subject to the  proviso  to  Section  157.  (As  we  have
      proposed to make a detailed discussion about the  power  of  a  police
      officer in the field of investigation of a cognizable  offence  within
      the ambit of Sections 156 and 157 of the Code in the ensuing  part  of
      this judgment, we do not  propose  to  deal  with  those  sections  in
      extenso in the present context.) In case, an officer in  charge  of  a
      police station refuses to exercise the jurisdiction vested in him  and
      to register a case on the information of a cognizable offence reported
      and thereby violates the statutory duty  cast  upon  him,  the  person
      aggrieved by such refusal can send the substance of the information in
      writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police concerned  who  if
      satisfied that the information forwarded to him discloses a cognizable
      offence, should either investigate  the  case  himself  or  direct  an
      investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to  him  in
      the manner provided by sub-section (3) of Section 154 of the Code.


        32. Be it noted that in Section 154(1) of the Code, the legislature
      in its  collective  wisdom  has  carefully  and  cautiously  used  the
      expression ‘information’ without qualifying the  same  as  in  Section
      41(1)(a) or (g) of  the  Code  wherein  the  expressions,  ‘reasonable
      complaint’ and ‘credible information’ are used.  Evidently,  the  non-
      qualification of the word ‘information’ in Section  154(1)  unlike  in
      Section 41(1)(a) and (g) of the Code may be for the  reason  that  the
      police officer should not refuse to record an information relating  to
      the commission of a cognizable offence and to register a case  thereon
      on the ground that he is not  satisfied  with  the  reasonableness  or
      credibility of the information. In other  words,  ‘reasonableness’  or
      ‘credibility’ of the said information is not a condition precedent for
      registration of a case. A comparison of the present Section  154  with
      those of the earlier Codes will  indicate  that  the  legislature  had
      purposely thought it fit to employ only the word ‘information’ without
      qualifying the  said  word.  Section  139  of  the  Code  of  Criminal
      Procedure of 1861 (Act 25 of 1861) passed by the  Legislative  Council
      of India read that ‘every complaint or information’  preferred  to  an
      officer in charge of a police station should be reduced  into  writing
      which provision was subsequently modified by Section 112 of  the  Code
      of 1872 (Act 10 of 1872) which thereafter read that ‘every  complaint’
      preferred to an officer in charge of a police station shall be reduced
      in writing. The word ‘complaint’ which occurred in previous two  Codes
      of 1861 and 1872 was deleted and in that place the word  ‘information’
      was used in the Codes of 1882 and 1898  which  word  is  now  used  in
      Sections 154, 155, 157 and 190(c) of the present Code of 1973  (Act  2
      of 1974). An overall reading of all the Codes makes it clear that  the
      condition which is sine qua non  for  recording  a  first  information
      report is that there must be information  and  that  information  must
      disclose a cognizable offence.”


                                       (emphasis in original)


      Finally, this Court in para 33 said:


        “33. It is, therefore, manifestly clear  that  if  any  information
      disclosing a cognizable offence is laid before an officer in charge of
      a police station satisfying the requirements of Section 154(1) of  the
      Code, the said police officer has no other option except to enter  the
      substance thereof in the prescribed form, that is to say, to  register
      a case on the basis of such information.”


      5. The views expressed by this Court in paras 31, 32 and 33 as  quoted
   above leave no manner of doubt that the provision of Section 154  of  the
   Code is mandatory and the officer concerned is duty-bound to register the
   case on the basis of such information disclosing cognizable offence.”


68)   In Ram Lal Narang (supra), this Court held as under:-


      “14. Under the CrPC, 1898, whenever an officer in charge of the police
   station received information relating to the commission of  a  cognizable
   offence, he was required to enter the substance thereof in a book kept by
   him, for that purpose, in the prescribed form (Section 154 CrPC). Section
   156 of the CrPC invested the Police with the power  to  investigate  into
   cognizable  offences  without  the  order  of  a  Court.  If,  from   the
   information received or otherwise, the officer  in  charge  of  a  police
   station suspected the commission of a cognizable offence, he was required
   to send forthwith a report of the same to a Magistrate empowered to  take
   cognizance of such offence upon a police report and then  to  proceed  in
   person or depute one of his subordinate officers to proceed to the  spot,
   to investigate the facts and  circumstances  of  the  case  and  to  take
   measures for the discovery and arrest of the offender (Section 157 CrPC).
   He was required to complete the investigation without unnecessary  delay,
   and, as soon as it was completed, to forward to a Magistrate empowered to
   take cognizance of the offence upon a police  report,  a  report  in  the
   prescribed form, setting forth the names of the parties,  the  nature  of
   the information  and  the  names  of  the  persons  who  appeared  to  be
   acquainted with the circumstances of the case [Section 173(1)  CrPC].  He
   was also required to state whether the  accused  had  been  forwarded  in
   custody or had  been  released  on  bail.  Upon  receipt  of  the  report
   submitted under Section 173(1) CrPC by  the  officer  in  charge  of  the
   police station, the Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of an offence
   upon a police report  might  take  cognizance  of  the  offence  [Section
   190(1)(b) CrPC]. Thereafter, if, in the opinion of the Magistrate  taking
   cognizance of the offence, there was sufficient  ground  for  proceeding,
   the Magistrate was required to issue the necessary process to secure  the
   attendance of the accused (Section 204 CrPC). The scheme of the Code thus
   was that the FIR was followed by investigation, the investigation led  to
   the submission of  a  report  to  the  Magistrate,  the  Magistrate  took
   cognizance of the offence on receipt of the police report  and,  finally,
   the Magistrate taking cognizance issued process to the accused.


      15. The police thus had the statutory right  and  duty  to  “register”
   every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence. The
   police also had the statutory right and duty to investigate the facts and
   circumstances of the case where the commission of  a  cognizable  offence
   was suspected and to submit the  report  of  such  investigation  to  the
   Magistrate having jurisdiction to take cognizance of the offence  upon  a
   police report. These statutory rights and duties of the police  were  not
   circumscribed by any power of  superintendence  or  interference  in  the
   Magistrate; nor was any sanction required from a  Magistrate  to  empower
   the Police to investigate into a cognizable offence. This position in law
   was well-established. In King Emperor v. Khwaja  Nazir  Ahmad  the  Privy
   Council observed as follows:


        “Just as it is essential that everyone accused of  a  crime  should
      have free access to a Court  of  justice,  so  that  he  may  be  duly
      acquitted if found not guilty of the offence with which he is charged,
      so it is of the  utmost  importance  that  the  judiciary  should  not
      interfere with the police in matters which are within  their  province
      and into which the law imposes on them the duty of inquiry. In  India,
      as has been shown, there is a statutory  right  on  the  part  of  the
      police to investigate the circumstances of an alleged cognizable crime
      without requiring any authority from the judicial authorities, and  it
      would, as Their Lordships think, be an unfortunate result if it should
      be held possible  to  interfere  with  those  statutory  rules  by  an
      exercise of the inherent jurisdiction of the Court. The  functions  of
      the judiciary and the police are complementary, not  overlapping,  and
      the combination of individual liberty with a due observance of law and
      order is only to be obtained by  leaving  each  to  exercise  its  own
      function, always of course, subject to the  right  of  the  Courts  to
      intervene in an appropriate case when moved under Section 491  of  the
      Criminal Procedure Code to give directions in  the  nature  of  Habeas
      Corpus. In such a case as the present, however, the Court’s  functions
      begin when a charge is preferred before it and not until then  ...  In
      the present case, the police have under Sections 154 and  156  of  the
      Criminal Procedure Code, a statutory right to investigate a cognizable
      offence without requiring the sanction of the Court ....”


   Ordinarily, the  right  and  duty  of  the  police  would  end  with  the
   submission of a report under Section 173(1) CrPC upon receipt of which it
   was up to the Magistrate to  take  or  not  to  take  cognizance  of  the
   offence. There  was  no  provision  in  the  1898  Code  prescribing  the
   procedure to be followed by the police, where, after the submission of  a
   report under Section 173(1) CrPC  and  after  the  Magistrate  had  taken
   cognizance of the offence, fresh  facts  came  to  light  which  required
   further  investigation.  There  was,  of  course,  no  express  provision
   prohibiting the police from launching  upon  an  investigation  into  the
   fresh facts coming to light after the  submission  of  the  report  under
   Section 173(1) or after  the  Magistrate  had  taken  cognizance  of  the
   offence. As we shall presently point out, it  was  generally  thought  by
   many High Courts, though doubted by a  few,  that  the  police  were  not
   barred from further investigation by the circumstance that a report under
   Section 173(1) had already been submitted and a  Magistrate  had  already
   taken cognizance of the offence. The Law Commission in  its  41st  report
   recognized the position and recommended that the right of the  police  to
   make further  investigation  should  be  statutorily  affirmed.  The  Law
   Commission said:


         “14.23. A report under Section 173 is  normally  the  end  of  the
      investigation. Sometimes, however, the police officer after submitting
      the report under Section 173 comes upon evidence bearing on the  guilt
      or innocence of the accused. We should have thought  that  the  police
      officer can collect that  evidence  and  send  it  to  the  Magistrate
      concerned. It appears, however, that Courts have sometimes  taken  the
      narrow view that once a final report under Section 173 has been  sent,
      the police  cannot  touch  the  case  again  and  cannot  re-open  the
      investigation. This  view  places  a  hindrance  in  the  way  of  the
      investigating agency, which can be very unfair to the prosecution and,
      for that matter, even to the accused.  It  should  be  made  clear  in
      Section 173  that  the  competent  police  officer  can  examine  such
      evidence and send a report to the Magistrate.  Copies  concerning  the
      fresh material must of course be furnished to the accused.”


   Accordingly, in the CrPC, 1973, a  new  provision,  Section  173(8),  was
   introduced and it says:


        “Nothing in this  section  shall  be  deemed  to  preclude  further
      investigation in respect of an  offence  after  a  report  under  sub-
      section (2) has been forwarded to the Magistrate and, where upon  such
      investigation, the officer in charge of  the  police  station  obtains
      further evidence,  oral  or  documentary,  he  shall  forward  to  the
      Magistrate a further report or reports regarding such evidence in  the
      form prescribed; and the provisions of sub-sections (2) to (6)  shall,
      as far as may be, apply in relation to such report or reports as  they
      apply in relation to a report forwarded under sub-section (2).”


69)   In Lallan Chaudhary (supra), this Court held as under:


      “8. Section 154 of the Code thus  casts  a  statutory  duty  upon  the
   police officer to register the case, as disclosed in the  complaint,  and
   then to proceed with the investigation. The mandate  of  Section  154  is
   manifestly clear that if any information disclosing a cognizable  offence
   is laid before an officer in charge of  a  police  station,  such  police
   officer has no other option except to register the case on the  basis  of
   such information.


      9. In Ramesh Kumari v. State (NCT of Delhi) this Court has  held  that
   the provision of Section 154 is  mandatory.  Hence,  the  police  officer
   concerned is duty-bound to register the  case  on  receiving  information
   disclosing  cognizable  offence.  Genuineness  or  credibility   of   the
   information is not a condition precedent for registration of a case. That
   can only be considered after registration of the case.


      10. The mandate of Section 154 of the Code is that  at  the  stage  of
   registration of a crime or  a  case  on  the  basis  of  the  information
   disclosing a cognizable offence,  the  police  officer  concerned  cannot
   embark upon an inquiry  as  to  whether  the  information,  laid  by  the
   informant is reliable and genuine or otherwise and refuse to  register  a
   case on the ground that the information is not relevant or  credible.  In
   other words, reliability, genuineness and credibility of the  information
   are not the conditions precedent for registering a case under Section 154
   of the Code.”


A perusal of the above-referred judgments clarify  that  the  reasonableness
or creditability of the information is not a  condition  precedent  for  the
registration of a case.


Preliminary Inquiry


70)   Mr. Naphade relied on  the  following  decisions  in  support  of  his
arguments that if the police officer has a doubt about the veracity  of  the
accusation, he has to conduct preliminary inquiry, viz.,  E.P.  Royappa  vs.
State of Tamil Nadu (1974) 4 SCC 3,  Maneka  Gandhi  (supra),  S.M.D.  Kiran
Pasha vs. Government of Andhra Pradesh (1990)  1  SCC  328,  D.K.  Basu  vs.
State of W.B. (1997) 1 SCC 416,  Uma  Shankar  Sitani  vs.  Commissioner  of
Police, Delhi & Ors. (1996)  11  SCC  714,  Preeti  Gupta  (supra),  Francis
Coralie Mullin vs. Administrator, Union Territory  of  Delhi  (1981)  1  SCC
608, Common Cause, A Registered Society vs. Union  of  India  (1999)  6  SCC
667, District Registrar and Collector, Hyderabad vs. Canara  Bank  (2005)  1
SCC 496 and  Ranjitsing  Brahmajeetsing  Sharma  vs.  State  of  Maharashtra
(2005) 5 SCC 294.


71)   Learned senior counsel for  the  State  further  vehemently  contended
that in appropriate cases, it would be  proper  for  a  police  officer,  on
receipt of a complaint of a cognizable  offence,  to  satisfy  himself  that
prima facie the allegations levelled against the accused  in  the  complaint
are credible.  In this regard, Mr. Naphade cited  the  following  decisions,
viz.  Tapan  Kumar  Singh  (supra),  Bhagwant  Kishore  Joshi  (supra),   P.
Sirajuddin (supra), Sevi (supra), Shashikant (supra), Rajinder Singh  Katoch
(supra), Vineet Narain vs. Union of India (1998) 1  SCC  226,  Elumalai  vs.
State of Tamil  Nadu  1983  LW  (CRL)  121,  A.  Lakshmanarao  vs.  Judicial
Magistrate, Parvatipuram AIR 1971 SC 186, State of  Uttar  Pradesh  vs.  Ram
Sagar Yadav & Ors.  (1985)  1  SCC  552,  Mona  Panwar  vs.  High  Court  of
Judicature of Allahabad (2011) 3 SCC 496, Apren Joseph vs. State  of  Kerala
(1973) 3 SCC 114, King Emperor vs. Khwaja Nazir Ahmad AIR  1945  PC  18  and
Sarangdharsingh Shivdassingh Chavan (supra).


72)   He further pointed out that the provisions have  to  be  read  in  the
light of the principle of malicious prosecution and the  fundamental  rights
guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 21. It is the stand of  learned  senior
counsel that every citizen has a right not  to  be  subjected  to  malicious
prosecution and every police officer has an in-built duty under Section  154
to ensure that an innocent person is not falsely implicated  in  a  criminal
case.  If despite the fact that  the  police  officer  is  not  prima  facie
satisfied, as regards commission of a cognizable  offence  and  proceeds  to
register an FIR and  carries  out  an  investigation,  it  would  result  in
putting the liberty of a citizen  in  jeopardy.  Therefore,  learned  senior
counsel vehemently pleaded for a preliminary inquiry before registration  of
FIR.

73)   In terms of the language used in Section 154 of the Code,  the  police
is duty bound to proceed to conduct investigation into a cognizable  offence
even without receiving information (i.e. FIR) 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, i.e., to ensure  that  every  cognizable  offence  is  promptly
investigated in accordance with law.  This being the legal  position,  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 the commission of a  cognizable  offence.   Every  cognizable  offence
must be investigated promptly in accordance with  law  and  all  information
provided under Section 154 of the Code about the commission of a  cognizable
offence must be registered as an FIR so  as  to  initiate  an  offence.  The
requirement of Section 154  of  the  Code  is  only  that  the  report  must
disclose the commission of a cognizable offence and that  is  sufficient  to
set the investigating machinery into action.
74)   The insertion of  sub-section  (3)  of  Section  154,  by  way  of  an
amendment, reveals the intention  of  the  legislature  to  ensure  that  no
information of commission of a cognizable offence must  be  ignored  or  not
acted upon which would result  in  unjustified  protection  of  the  alleged
offender/accused.
75)   The maxim expression unius est exclusion alterius (expression  of  one
thing is the exclusion of another) applies in the interpretation of  Section
154 of the Code, where the mandate of recording the information  in  writing
excludes the possibility of not recording an information of commission of  a
cognizable crime in the special register.
76)    Therefore,  conducting  an  investigation  into  an   offence   after
registration of FIR  under  Section  154  of  the  Code  is  the  “procedure
established by law” and, thus, is in  conformity  with  Article  21  of  the
Constitution.  Accordingly, the right of the accused  under  Article  21  of
the Constitution is protected if the FIR is registered first  and  then  the
investigation is conducted in accordance with the provisions of law.

77)   The term inquiry as per Section 2(g) of the Code reads as under:


      ‘2(g) – “inquiry” means every inquiry, other than a  trial,  conducted
      under this Code by a Magistrate or Court.”


Hence, it is clear that inquiry under the Code is relatable  to  a  judicial
act and not to the steps taken by the Police which are either  investigation
after the stage of Section  154  of  the  Code  or  termed  as  ‘Preliminary
Inquiry’ and which are prior to the registration of  FIR,  even  though,  no
entry in the General Diary/Station Diary/Daily Diary has been made.


78)   Though there is  reference  to  the  term  ‘preliminary  inquiry’  and
‘inquiry’ under Sections 159 and Sections 202 and 340 of the Code,  that  is
a judicial exercise undertaken by the Court and not by  the  Police  and  is
not relevant for the purpose of the present reference.


79)   Besides, learned senior  counsel  relied  on  the  special  procedures
prescribed under the CBI manual to be read into  Section  154.  It  is  true
that the concept of “preliminary inquiry” is contained in Chapter IX of  the
Crime Manual of the CBI. However, this Crime Manual is  not  a  statute  and
has not been enacted by the legislature.  It  is  a  set  of  administrative
orders  issued  for  internal  guidance  of  the  CBI  officers.  It  cannot
supersede the Code. Moreover, in  the  absence  of  any  indication  to  the
contrary in the Code itself, the provisions of the CBI Crime  Manual  cannot
be relied upon to import the concept of holding of  preliminary  inquiry  in
the scheme of the Code of Criminal Procedure. At this juncture, it  is  also
pertinent to submit that  the  CBI  is  constituted  under  a  Special  Act,
namely, the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 and it  derive  its
power to investigate from this Act.


80)   It may be submitted that Sections  4(2)  and  5  of  the  Code  permit
special procedures to be followed for special Acts. Section 4  of  the  Code
lays down as under:


      “Section 4. Trial of offences under the Indian Penal  Code  and  other
      laws. (1) All offences under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860)  shall
      be investigated,  inquired  into,  tried,  and  otherwise  dealt  with
      according to the provisions hereinafter contained.


      (2) All offences under any other law shall be  investigated,  inquired
      into,  tried,  and  otherwise  dealt  with  according  to   the   same
      provisions, but subject to any enactment for the time being  in  force
      regulating the manner  or  place  of  investigating,  inquiring  into,
      trying or otherwise dealing with such offences.”


It is thus clear that for offences under  laws  other  than  IPC,  different
provisions  can  be  laid  down  under  a  special  Act  to   regulate   the
investigation, inquiry, trial etc., of those offences. Section 4(2)  of  the
Code protects such special provisions.


81)   Moreover, Section 5 of the Code lays down as under:


      “Section 5. Saving - Nothing contained in  this  Code  shall,  in  the
      absence of a specific provision to the contrary, affect any special or
      local law for the time being in force, or any special jurisdiction  or
      power conferred, or any special form of procedure prescribed,  by  any
      other law for the time being in force.”


Thus, special provisions contained in the DSPE Act relating  to  the  powers
of the CBI are protected also by Section 5 of the Code.


82)   In view of the above specific provisions in the Code,  the  powers  of
the CBI under the DSPE Act,  cannot  be  equated  with  the  powers  of  the
regular State Police under the Code.


Significance and Compelling reasons for registration of FIR at the earliest


83)    The  object  sought  to  be  achieved  by  registering  the  earliest
information as FIR is inter alia two fold: one, that  the  criminal  process
is set into motion and is well documented from the very start;  and  second,
that the earliest information received in relation to the  commission  of  a
cognizable offence is recorded so that there  cannot  be  any  embellishment
etc., later.


84)   Principles of democracy and liberty demand  a  regular  and  efficient
check on police powers.  One way of keeping check on authorities  with  such
powers is by documenting every action of  theirs.   Accordingly,  under  the
Code,  actions  of  the  police  etc.,  are  provided  to  be  written   and
documented.  For example, in case of arrest under Section  41(1)(b)  of  the
Code, arrest memo along with the grounds has to be in  writing  mandatorily;
under Section 55 of the Code, if an officer is deputed to  make  an  arrest,
then the superior officer has to write down and  record  the  offence  etc.,
for which the person is to be arrested; under Section  91  of  the  Code,  a
written order has to be passed by the concerned officer to  seek  documents;
under Section 160 of the Code, a written notice has  to  be  issued  to  the
witness so that he  can  be  called  for  recording  of  his/her  statement,
seizure memo/panchnama has to be drawn for every article seized etc.


85)   The police is required to  maintain  several  records  including  Case
Diary as provided under Section 172 of the Code, General Diary  as  provided
under Section 44 of the Police Act etc., which helps  in  documenting  every
information collected, spot visited  and  all  the  actions  of  the  police
officers so that  their  activities  can  be  documented.   Moreover,  every
information received relating to  commission  of  a  non-cognizable  offence
also has to be registered under Section 155 of the Code.


86)   The underpinnings of compulsory registration of FIR  is  not  only  to
ensure transparency in the criminal justice  delivery  system  but  also  to
ensure ‘judicial oversight’.  Section 157(1) deploys the  word  ‘forthwith’.
Thus, any information received under Section 154(1) or otherwise has  to  be
duly informed in the  form  of  a  report  to  the  Magistrate.   Thus,  the
commission of a cognizable offence is not only brought to the  knowledge  of
the investigating agency but also to the subordinate judiciary.


87)   The Code contemplates two kinds of FIRs.  The duly  signed  FIR  under
Section 154(1) is by the informant to the concerned officer  at  the  police
station.  The second kind of FIR could be which is registered by the  police
itself on any information received or other than  by  way  of  an  informant
[Section 157(1)] and even this information has to be duly recorded  and  the
copy should be sent to the Magistrate forthwith.


88)   The registration of  FIR  either  on  the  basis  of  the  information
furnished by the informant under Section 154(1) of  the  Code  or  otherwise
under Section 157(1) of the Code is obligatory.  The obligation to  register
FIR has inherent advantages:


   a)     It is the first step to ‘access to justice’ for a victim.


     b) It upholds the ‘Rule of Law’ inasmuch as the ordinary person brings
        forth the commission of a cognizable crime in the knowledge of  the
        State.


     c)  It  also  facilitates  swift  investigation  and  sometimes   even
        prevention of the crime.  In both cases, it  only  effectuates  the
        regime of law.


     d) It leads  to  less  manipulation  in  criminal  cases  and  lessens
        incidents of ‘ante-dates’ FIR or deliberately delayed FIR.


89)   In Thulia Kali vs. State of Tamil Nadu (1972) 3 SCC  393,  this  Court
held as under:-


        “12…First information report in a criminal  case  is  an  extremely
      vital and valuable piece of evidence for the purpose of  corroborating
      the oral evidence adduced at the trial. The importance  of  the  above
      report can hardly be overestimated from the standpoint of the accused.
      The object of insisting upon prompt  lodging  of  the  report  to  the
      police in respect of commission of  an  offence  is  to  obtain  early
      information  regarding  the  circumstances  in  which  the  crime  was
      committed, the names of the actual culprits and  the  part  played  by
      them as well as the names of eyewitnesses  present  at  the  scene  of
      occurrence. Delay in lodging the first information report quite  often
      results in embellishment which  is  a  creature  of  afterthought.  On
      account of delay, the report not only gets bereft of the advantage  of
      spontaneity, danger creeps in of the introduction of coloured version,
      exaggerated account or concocted story as a result of deliberation and
      consultation. It is,  therefore,  essential  that  the  delay  in  the
      lodging of the  first  information  report  should  be  satisfactorily
      explained...”


90)   In Tapan Kumar Singh (supra), it was held as under:-


        “20. It is well settled that a first information report is  not  an
      encyclopaedia, which must disclose all facts and details  relating  to
      the offence reported. An  informant  may  lodge  a  report  about  the
      commission of an offence though he may not know the name of the victim
      or his assailant. He may not even know how the occurrence took  place.
      A first informant need not necessarily be an eyewitness so  as  to  be
      able to disclose in great detail all aspects of the offence committed.
      What is of significance is that the information  given  must  disclose
      the commission of a cognizable offence and the information  so  lodged
      must provide a basis for the police officer to suspect the  commission
      of a cognizable offence. At this stage it  is  enough  if  the  police
      officer on the basis of the information given suspects the  commission
      of a cognizable  offence,  and  not  that  he  must  be  convinced  or
      satisfied that a cognizable offence has  been  committed.  If  he  has
      reasons to suspect, on the  basis  of  information  received,  that  a
      cognizable offence may have been committed, he is bound to record  the
      information and conduct an investigation. At this stage it is also not
      necessary for him to satisfy himself about  the  truthfulness  of  the
      information. It is only after a complete investigation that he may  be
      able to report on the truthfulness or otherwise  of  the  information.
      Similarly, even if the information does not furnish all the details he
      must find out those details in the course of investigation and collect
      all the necessary  evidence.  The  information  given  disclosing  the
      commission  of  a  cognizable  offence  only  sets   in   motion   the
      investigative  machinery,  with  a  view  to  collect  all   necessary
      evidence, and thereafter to take action in accordance  with  law.  The
      true test is whether the information furnished provides  a  reason  to
      suspect the  commission  of  an  offence,  which  the  police  officer
      concerned is empowered under Section 156 of the Code  to  investigate.
      If it does, he has no option but to record the information and proceed
      to investigate the case either himself or depute any  other  competent
      officer to conduct the investigation. The question as to  whether  the
      report is true, whether it discloses full details regarding the manner
      of occurrence, whether the accused is  named,  and  whether  there  is
      sufficient evidence to support the allegations are all  matters  which
      are alien to the consideration of  the  question  whether  the  report
      discloses  the  commission  of  a  cognizable  offence.  Even  if  the
      information does not give full details regarding  these  matters,  the
      investigating officer is not absolved of his duty to  investigate  the
      case and discover the true facts, if he can.”


91)   In Madhu Bala (supra), this Court held:


      “6. Coming first to the relevant provisions of the Code, Section  2(d)
   defines “complaint” to mean any allegation made orally or in writing to a
   Magistrate, with a view to his taking action under the  Code,  that  some
   person, whether known or unknown has committed an offence, but  does  not
   include a police report. Under Section 2(c) “cognizable offence” means an
   offence for which, and “cognizable case” means a case in which  a  police
   officer may in accordance with the First Schedule (of the Code) or  under
   any other law for the time being in  force,  arrest  without  a  warrant.
   Under Section 2(r) “police report” means a report forwarded by  a  police
   officer to a Magistrate under sub-section (2) of Section 173 of the Code.
   Chapter XII of the  Code  comprising  Sections  154  to  176  relates  to
   information to the police and their powers to  investigate.  Section  154
   provides, inter alia, that the officer in  charge  of  a  police  station
   shall reduce into writing every information relating to the commission of
   a cognizable offence given to him orally and every  such  information  if
   given in writing shall  be  signed  by  the  person  giving  it  and  the
   substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by  such  officer
   in such form as the  State  Government  may  prescribe  in  this  behalf.
   Section 156 of the Code with which we are primarily  concerned  in  these
   appeals reads as under:….


      9. The mode and manner of registration of such cases are laid down  in
   the Rules framed by the different  State  Governments  under  the  Indian
   Police Act, 1861. As in the instant case we  are  concerned  with  Punjab
   Police Rules, 1934 (which are applicable  to  Punjab,  Haryana,  Himachal
   Pradesh and Delhi) framed under the said Act we  may  now  refer  to  the
   relevant provisions of those Rules. Chapter XXIV of the said  Rules  lays
   down the procedure an officer in charge of a police station has to follow
   on receipt of  information  of  commission  of  crime.  Under  Rule  24.1
   appearing in the Chapter every information covered by Section 154 of  the
   Code must be entered in the First Information  Report  Register  and  the
   substance thereof in the daily diary.  Rule  24.5  says  that  the  First
   Information Report Register shall be  a  printed  book  in  Form  24.5(1)
   consisting of 200 pages and shall be completely filled before a  new  one
   is commenced. It further requires that the cases  shall  bear  an  annual
   serial number in each police station for each calendar  year.  The  other
   requirements of the said Rules need not  be  detailed  as  they  have  no
   relevance to the point at issue.


      10. From the foregoing  discussion  it  is  evident  that  whenever  a
   Magistrate directs an investigation on a “complaint” the  police  has  to
   register a cognizable case on that complaint treating the same as the FIR
   and comply with the requirements  of  the  above  Rules.  It,  therefore,
   passes our comprehension as to how the direction of a  Magistrate  asking
   the police to “register a case” makes an  order  of  investigation  under
   Section 156(3) legally unsustainable. Indeed, even if a  Magistrate  does
   not pass a direction to register a case, still in view of the  provisions
   of Section 156(1) of the Code which empowers the  police  to  investigate
   into a cognizable “case” and the Rules framed  under  the  Indian  Police
   Act, 1861 it (the police) is duty-bound to formally register a  case  and
   then investigate into the same. The provisions of the Code, therefore, do
   not in any way stand in the way of a Magistrate to direct the  police  to
   register a case at the police station and then investigate into the same.
   In our opinion when an order for investigation under  Section  156(3)  of
   the Code is to be made the proper direction to the police  would  be  “to
   register a case at the police station treating the complaint as the first
   information report and investigate into the same”.


92)   According to the Statement of Objects and Reasons, protection  of  the
interests of the poor is clearly one  of  the  main  objects  of  the  Code.
Making registration of information relating to commission  of  a  cognizable
offence mandatory would help the society, especially, the poor in rural  and
remote areas of the country.


93)   The Committee on Reforms of Criminal  Justice  System  headed  by  Dr.
Justice V.S. Malimath also noticed the plight faced by  several  people  due
to non-registration of FIRs and recommended  that  action  should  be  taken
against police officers  who  refuse  to  register  such  information.   The
Committee observed:-


      “7.19.1  According  to  the  Section  154  of  the  Code  of  Criminal
      Procedure, the office incharge of a  police  station  is  mandated  to
      register every information oral or written relating to the  commission
      of a cognizable offence.   Non-registration  of  cases  is  a  serious
      complaint against the police.  The National Police Commission  in  its
      4th report lamented that  the  police  “evade  registering  cases  for
      taking up investigation where specific complaints are  lodged  at  the
      police stations”.  It referred to a  study  conducted  by  the  Indian
      Institute of Public Opinion, New Delhi regarding “Image of the  Police
      in India” which observed that over 50% of the respondents mention non-
      registration of complaints as a common practice in police stations.


      7.19.2  The  Committee  recommends  that  all  complaints  should   be
      registered promptly, failing which appropriate action should be taken.
       This would necessitate change in the mind  –  set  of  the  political
      executive and that of senior officers.


      7.19.4  There are two more  aspects  relating  to  registration.   The
      first is minimization of offences by the police by way of not invoking
      appropriate  sections  of  law.   We  disapprove  of  this   tendency.
      Appropriate sections of law should be invoked in each case  unmindfull
      of the gravity of offences involved.  The second issue is relating  to
      the registration  of  written  complaints.   There  is  an  increasing
      tendency amongst the police station officers to advise the informants,
      who come to give oral complaints, to bring written  complaints.   This
      is wrong.  Registration is delayed resulting in valuable loss of  time
      in  launching  the  investigation  and  apprehension   of   criminals.
      Besides, the complainant gets an opportunity to consult  his  friends,
      relatives and sometimes even lawyers and often tends to exaggerate the
      crime and implicate innocent persons.   This  eventually  has  adverse
      effect at the trial.  The information should be reduced in writing  by
      the SH, if given orally, without any loss of time so  that  the  first
      version of the alleged crime comes on record.


      7.20.11 It has come to the  notice  of  the  Committee  that  even  in
      cognizable cases quite often the Police officers do not entertain  the
      complaint and send the complainant away saying that the offence is not
      cognizable.  Sometimes the police twist facts to bring the case within
      the cognizable category even  though  it  is  non-cognizable,  due  to
      political or other  pressures  or  corruption.   This  menace  can  be
      stopped by making it obligatory on  the  police  officer  to  register
      every complaint received by him.  Breach of this duty should become an
      offence punishable in law to prevent misuse of the power by the police
      officer.”


94)   It means that the number  of  FIRs  not  registered  is  approximately
equivalent to the number of FIRs actually registered.  Keeping in  view  the
NCRB  figures  that  show  that  about  60  lakh  cognizable  offences  were
registered in India during the year 2012, the burking of  crime  may  itself
be in the range of about 60 lakh every year.  Thus, it is seen that  such  a
large number of FIRs are  not  registered  every  year,  which  is  a  clear
violation of the rights of the victims of such a large number of crimes.


95)   Burking of crime leads to dilution of the rule of  law  in  the  short
run; and also has a very negative impact on the rule of law in the long  run
since people stop having respect for rule of  law.   Thus,  non-registration
of such a large number of FIRs  leads  to  a  definite  lawlessness  in  the
society.


96)   Therefore, reading Section 154 in any other form  would  not  only  be
detrimental to the Scheme of the Code but also to the society  as  a  whole.
It is thus seen that this Court  has  repeatedly  held  in  various  decided
cases that registration of FIR is mandatory if the information given to  the
police under  Section  154  of  the  Code  discloses  the  commission  of  a
cognizable offence.


Is there a likelihood of misuse of the provision?


97)    Another,  stimulating  argument  raised  in  support  of  preliminary
inquiry is that mandatory  registration  of  FIRs  will  lead  to  arbitrary
arrest, which will directly  be  in  contravention  of  Article  21  of  the
Constitution.


98)   While  registration  of  FIR  is  mandatory,  arrest  of  the  accused
immediately on registration of FIR  is  not  at  all  mandatory.   In  fact,
registration of FIR and  arrest  of  an  accused  person  are  two  entirely
different  concepts  under  the  law,  and  there  are  several   safeguards
available against arrest.  Moreover, it is also pertinent  to  mention  that
an accused person also has a right to apply for  “anticipatory  bail”  under
the provisions of Section 438  of  the  Code  if  the  conditions  mentioned
therein are satisfied.  Thus, in appropriate cases, he can avoid the  arrest
under that provision by obtaining an order from the Court.


99)   It is also relevant to note that in Joginder Kumar vs. State  of  U.P.
& Ors. (1994) 4 SCC 260, this Court has held that arrest cannot be  made  by
police in a routine manner.  Some important observations are  reproduced  as
under:-


      “20…No arrest can be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation  of
      commission of an offence made against a person. It  would  be  prudent
      for  a  police  officer  in  the  interest  of   protection   of   the
      constitutional rights of a citizen and perhaps  in  his  own  interest
      that no arrest  should  be  made  without  a  reasonable  satisfaction
      reached after some investigation as to the genuineness and bona  fides
      of a complaint and  a  reasonable  belief  both  as  to  the  person’s
      complicity and even so as to the need  to  effect  arrest.  Denying  a
      person of his liberty is a serious matter. The recommendations of  the
      Police Commission merely reflect the  constitutional  concomitants  of
      the fundamental right to personal liberty and freedom. A person is not
      liable to arrest merely on the suspicion of complicity in an  offence.
      There must be some reasonable justification  in  the  opinion  of  the
      officer effecting  the  arrest  that  such  arrest  is  necessary  and
      justified. Except in heinous offences, an arrest must be avoided if  a
      police officer issues notice to person to attend the Station House and
      not to leave the Station without permission would do.”


100)  The registration of FIR under Section 154 of the Code  and  arrest  of
an accused person under Section 41 are two entirely  different  things.   It
is not correct to say that just  because  FIR  is  registered,  the  accused
person can be arrested immediately.  It is the imaginary fear  that  “merely
because FIR has been registered, it would require arrest of the accused  and
thereby leading to loss of his reputation” and it should not be  allowed  by
this Court to hold that registration of FIR is not mandatory to  avoid  such
inconvenience to some persons.  The remedy lies in  strictly  enforcing  the
safeguards available against arbitrary arrests made by the  police  and  not
in allowing the police to avoid  mandatory  registration  of  FIR  when  the
information discloses commission of a cognizable offence.


101)  This can also be seen from the fact  that  Section  151  of  the  Code
allows a police officer to arrest a person, even before the commission of  a
cognizable offence, in order to prevent the commission of that  offence,  if
it cannot be prevented otherwise.  Such preventive arrests can be valid  for
24 hours.  However, a Maharashtra State amendment to Section 151 allows  the
custody of a person in that State even for up to a period of 30  days  (with
the order of the Judicial Magistrate) even before a  cognizable  offence  is
committed in order to prevent commission of such offence.  Thus, the  arrest
of a person and registration of FIR are  not  directly  and/or  irreversibly
linked and they are entirely different  concepts  operating  under  entirely
different parameters.  On the other hand, if a police  officer  misuses  his
power of arrest, he can be tried and punished under Section 166.


102)  Besides, the Code gives power to the police to  close  a  matter  both
before and after investigation.  A  police  officer  can  foreclose  an  FIR
before an investigation under Section 157 of the Code, if it appears to  him
that there is no sufficient ground to investigate  the  same.   The  Section
itself states that a police officer can start investigation when  he  has  a
‘reason  to  suspect  the  commission  of  an  offence’.    Therefore,   the
requirements of launching an investigation under Section  157  of  the  Code
are higher than the requirement under Section 154 of the Code.   The  police
officer can also, in a given case, investigate the matter and  then  file  a
final report under Section 173 of the Code seeking closure  of  the  matter.
Therefore, the police is not liable to launch an investigation in every  FIR
which  is  mandatorily  registered  on  receiving  information  relating  to
commission of a cognizable offence.


103)  Likewise, giving power  to  the  police  to  close  an  investigation,
Section 157 of the Code also acts like a check on the police  to  make  sure
that it is dispensing its function  of  investigating  cognizable  offences.
This has been recorded in the 41st Report of the Law Commission of India  on
the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 as follows :


      “14.1…….If the offence does not  appear  to  be  serious  and  if  the
      station-house  officer  thinks  there  is  no  sufficient  ground  for
      starting an investigation, he need not investigate but, here again, he
      has to send a report to the Magistrate who can direct  the  police  to
      investigate,  or  if  the  Magistrate  thinks  fit,  hold  an  inquiry
      himself.”


      “14.2. A noticeable feature of the scheme as outlined above is that  a
      Magistrate is kept  in  the  picture  at  all  stages  of  the  police
      investigation, but he is not authorized to interfere with  the  actual
      investigation or to direct the police how that investigation is to  be
      conducted.”





Therefore, the Scheme of the Code not only ensures  that  the  time  of  the
police should not be wasted on false  and  frivolous  information  but  also
that the police should not intentionally refrain from doing  their  duty  of
investigating cognizable offences. As a result, the apprehension  of  misuse
of  the  provision  of  mandatory  registration  of  FIR  is  unfounded  and
speculative in nature.


104)  It is the stand of Mr. Naphade, learned senior counsel for  the  State
of Maharashtra that when an innocent person is falsely  implicated,  he  not
only suffers from loss of reputation but also from mental  tension  and  his
personal liberty is seriously impaired.  He  relied  on  the  Maneka  Gandhi
(supra), which held the proposition that the law which deprives a person  of
his personal liberty must  be  reasonable  both  from  the  stand  point  of
substantive as well as procedural aspect is now firmly  established  in  our
Constitutional law. Therefore, he pleaded for a fresh look  at  Section  154
of the Code, which interprets Section 154 of the  Code  in  conformity  with
the mandate of Article 21.


105)   It is true that a delicate balance has to be maintained  between  the
interest of the society and protecting the  liberty  of  an  individual.  As
already discussed above, there are already  sufficient  safeguards  provided
in the Code which duly protect the liberty  of  an  individual  in  case  of
registration of false FIR.  At  the  same  time,  Section  154  was  drafted
keeping in mind the interest of the victim and the  society.  Therefore,  we
are of the cogent view that mandatory registration  of  FIRs  under  Section
154 of the  Code  will  not  be  in  contravention  of  Article  21  of  the
Constitution as purported by various counsel.


Exceptions:


106)  Although, we, in unequivocal terms, hold that Section 154 of the  Code
postulates the mandatory registration of FIRs on receipt of  all  cognizable
offence, yet, there may  be  instances  where  preliminary  inquiry  may  be
required owing to the change in genesis  and  novelty  of  crimes  with  the
passage of time. One such instance is in the case  of  allegations  relating
to medical negligence on  the  part  of  doctors.  It  will  be  unfair  and
inequitable to prosecute a medical professional only on  the  basis  of  the
allegations in the complaint.


107)  In the context of medical negligence cases, in Jacob  Mathew  (supra),
it was held by this Court as under:


      “51. We may not be understood as holding that  doctors  can  never  be
      prosecuted for an offence  of  which  rashness  or  negligence  is  an
      essential ingredient. All that we are doing is to emphasise  the  need
      for care and caution in the interest  of  society;  for,  the  service
      which the medical profession renders to human beings is  probably  the
      noblest of all, and hence there is a need for protecting doctors  from
      frivolous or unjust prosecutions. Many a complainant  prefer  recourse
      to  criminal  process  as  a  tool  for   pressurising   the   medical
      professional for extracting uncalled for or unjust compensation.  Such
      malicious proceedings have to be guarded against.


      52. Statutory rules or executive  instructions  incorporating  certain
      guidelines need to be framed and issued by  the  Government  of  India
      and/or the State Governments in consultation with the Medical  Council
      of India. So long as it is not done, we propose to  lay  down  certain
      guidelines for the future  which  should  govern  the  prosecution  of
      doctors for offences of which criminal rashness or criminal negligence
      is an ingredient. A private complaint may not  be  entertained  unless
      the complainant has produced prima facie evidence before the court  in
      the form of a credible opinion given by another  competent  doctor  to
      support the charge of rashness  or  negligence  on  the  part  of  the
      accused doctor. The investigating officer  should,  before  proceeding
      against the doctor accused of  rash  or  negligent  act  or  omission,
      obtain an independent and competent medical opinion preferably from  a
      doctor in government service, qualified  in  that  branch  of  medical
      practice who can  normally  be  expected  to  give  an  impartial  and
      unbiased opinion applying the Bolam9 test to the  facts  collected  in
      the investigation. A doctor accused of rashness or negligence, may not
      be arrested in a routine manner (simply  because  a  charge  has  been
      levelled against him). Unless his arrest is necessary  for  furthering
      the  investigation  or  for  collecting   evidence   or   unless   the
      investigating  officer  feels  satisfied  that  the  doctor  proceeded
      against would not make  himself  available  to  face  the  prosecution
      unless arrested, the arrest may be withheld.”


108)  In the context of offences relating to corruption, this  Court  in  P.
Sirajuddin (supra) expressed the  need  for  a  preliminary  inquiry  before
proceeding against public servants.


109)  Similarly, in Tapan Kumar Singh (supra), this Court  has  validated  a
preliminary inquiry prior to registering an FIR only on the ground  that  at
the time the first information is received, the same  does  not  disclose  a
cognizable offence.


110)  Therefore, in view of various counter  claims  regarding  registration
or non-registration, what is necessary is only that  the  information  given
to the police must disclose the commission  of  a  cognizable  offence.   In
such a situation, registration of an  FIR  is  mandatory.   However,  if  no
cognizable offence is made out in the information given, then the  FIR  need
not be registered immediately and perhaps the police can conduct a  sort  of
preliminary verification or inquiry for the limited purpose of  ascertaining
as to whether  a  cognizable  offence  has  been  committed.   But,  if  the
information given clearly mentions the commission of a  cognizable  offence,
there  is  no  other  option  but  to  register  an  FIR  forthwith.   Other
considerations are not relevant at the stage of registration  of  FIR,  such
as, whether the information is falsely given,  whether  the  information  is
genuine, whether the information is credible  etc.   These  are  the  issues
that have to be verified during the investigation of the FIR.  At the  stage
of  registration  of  FIR,  what  is  to  be  seen  is  merely  whether  the
information  given  ex  facie  discloses  the  commission  of  a  cognizable
offence.  If, after investigation, the information  given  is  found  to  be
false, there is always an option to prosecute the complainant for  filing  a
false FIR.





Conclusion/Directions:

111)  In view of the aforesaid discussion, we hold:
     i) Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code,  if
        the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no
        preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation.
    ii) If the information received does not disclose a cognizable  offence
        but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a  preliminary  inquiry
        may be conducted only to ascertain whether  cognizable  offence  is
        disclosed or not.
   iii)  If the inquiry discloses the commission of a  cognizable  offence,
        the FIR must be registered. In cases where preliminary inquiry ends
        in closing the complaint, a copy of the entry of such closure  must
        be supplied to the first informant forthwith and not later than one
        week.  It must disclose reasons in brief for closing the  complaint
        and not proceeding further.
    iv) The police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering offence  if
        cognizable offence is  disclosed.  Action  must  be  taken  against
        erring officers who do not register the FIR if information received
        by him discloses a cognizable offence.
     v) The scope of preliminary inquiry is not to verify the  veracity  or
        otherwise of the information received but only to ascertain whether
        the information reveals any cognizable offence.
    vi) As to what type and in which cases preliminary  inquiry  is  to  be
        conducted will depend on the facts and circumstances of each  case.
        The category of cases in which preliminary inquiry may be made  are
        as under:
        a) Matrimonial disputes/ family disputes
        b) Commercial offences
        c) Medical negligence cases
        d) Corruption cases
        e)  Cases  where  there  is  abnormal  delay/laches  in  initiating
           criminal prosecution,  for  example,  over  3  months  delay  in
           reporting  the  matter  without  satisfactorily  explaining  the
           reasons for delay.
        The aforesaid are only illustrations  and  not  exhaustive  of  all
        conditions which may warrant preliminary inquiry.
   vii) While ensuring and protecting the rights of  the  accused  and  the
        complainant, a preliminary inquiry should be made time bound and in
        any case it should not exceed 7 days.  The fact of such  delay  and
        the causes of it must be reflected in the General Diary entry.
  viii) Since the General Diary/Station Diary/Daily Diary is the record  of
        all information received in a police station, we  direct  that  all
        information relating to cognizable offences, whether  resulting  in
        registration of FIR or leading to an inquiry, must  be  mandatorily
        and meticulously reflected in the said Diary and  the  decision  to
        conduct a preliminary inquiry must also be reflected, as  mentioned
        above.







112)  With the above directions, we dispose of the  reference  made  to  us.
List all the matters before the appropriate Bench for disposal on merits.

                                  ………………………………CJI.


                                       (P. SATHASIVAM)






























                                    ………….……………………J.


                                      (DR. B.S. CHAUHAN)








                                  ………….………………………J.


                                    (RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI)





                                  ……….………………………J.


                                      (RANJAN GOGOI)






                                    ………….……………………J.


                                      (S.A. BOBDE)





NEW DELHI;
NOVEMBER 12, 2013.
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