Prompt lodging of information of commission of cognizable offense at the first available opportunity is supposed to be a correct version without any addition, embellishment, and concoction. Usually, the Court may reject the case of the prosecution in case of inordinate delay in lodging the first information report because of the possibility of the concoction of evidence by the prosecution. However, if the delay is satisfactorily explained, the Court will decide on merits without giving much importance to such delay. The Court is duty-bound to determine whether the explanation afforded is plausible enough given the facts and circumstances of the case. The delay may be condoned if the complainant appears to be reliable and without any motive for implicating the accused falsely.
A similar incident of delay in FIR recently happened in Hisar, where the complainant lodged the FIR after an inordinate delay of 14 days.
Facts in Brief:
- On the night of May 21, 2020, Himanshu, Vasu, and the other five persons took Sandeep (deceased) to their house.
- Later he was found dead. Himanshu and others claimed that he died in an accident.
- Two weeks after, Raj Kumar (deceased’s father) alleged that his son had been killed by Himanshu and others, after which they covered it up as a case of an accident. He alleged that Sandeep did not die in the accident, and the accused killed him as his motorcycle was not damaged.
- A case has been registered at Hisar Civil Lines police station on his complaint against Himanshu, Vasu and five unidentified persons under sections 302 (murder), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 3 (offenses of atrocities) of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
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Section 302 of Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Punishment for murder.—Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
Section 506 of Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Punishment for criminal intimidation.—Whoever commits, the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both; If threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, etc.—And if the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, or to cause the destruction of any property by fire, or to cause an offence punishable with death or 1[imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or to impute, unchastity to a woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention.—When a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone.
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Section 3 of ‘The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989’
- Punishments for offences of atrocities.—
(1) Whoever, not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe,—
(i) forces a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to drink or eat any inedible or obnoxious substance;
(xv) forces or causes a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to leave his house, village or other place of residence, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and with fine.
(2) Whoever, not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe,—
(i) gives or fabricates false evidence intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause, any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to be convicted of an offence which is capital by the law for the time being in force shall be punished with imprisonment for life and with fine; and if an innocent member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe be convicted and executed in consequence of such false or fabricated evidence, the person who gives or fabricates such false evidence, shall be punished with death;
(v) commits any offence under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) punishable with imprisonment for a term of ten years or more against a person or property on the ground that such person is a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or such property belongs to such member, shall be punishable with imprisonment for life and with fine;
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In Bathula Nagamalleswara Rao & Ors. V. State Rep. By Public Prosecutor, 2008 (2) SCC 188, the Apex court held that delay in lodging of FIR, if justifiably explained, will not fatal. An undue delay in lodging a First Information Report is always looked with a certain amount of suspicion and should as far as possible be avoided.
In State of Rajasthan v. Om Prakash, AIR 2002 SC 2235, the Hon’ble Court agreed to that respondent’s argument that ‘Delay in lodging the first information report quite often results in embellishment, which is a creature of an afterthought. On account of the delay, the report not only gets bereft of the advantage of spontaneity, danger s creeps in of the introduction of colored version, exaggerated account, or concocted story as a result of deliberation and consultation.’
In Ramdas & Ors V. State of Maharashtra, AIR 2007 SC 155, the honorable Supreme Court decided that mere delay in lodging FIR not by itself necessarily fatal to the prosecution case. However, the fact that the report was lodged belatedly is a relevant fact that the Court must take notice. This fact has to be considered in the light of other facts and circumstances of the case, and in a given case, the Court may be satisfied that the delay in lodging the report has been sufficiently explained.
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There has beenan inordinate delay in lodging the FIR in this case. Aforesaid cases make it clear that delay in filing FIR can be fatal to the prosecution case. When prosecution fails to explain the delay, FIR should be viewed with suspicion. If the delay in lodging the FIR is explained, it loses no weight. Delay in giving first information can be condoned if there is a satisfactory explanation.
Whether the allegations by the complainant are true or not will be decided after the investigation is complete and the trial held in Court, but the trial court will take into account that there is considerable delay in lodging the FIR. The Court may see the allegations as concocted or make-believe. However, it may condone the delay if the prosecution can explain the delay satisfactorily.
Also Read- Cancellation of Bail
For case specific advice, please contact best/top/expert Criminal Lawyer of Chandigarh Panchkula Mohali Kharar Derabassi Zirakpur.
This post is written by Gourav Kathuria
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