SC judges refer matter on filing of FIRs to CJI

SC judges refer matter on filing of FIRs to CJI

The Supreme Court has referred a question, whether a police officer is bound to lodge an FIR in case of cognizable offences or he should conduct some preliminary inquiry before registering the case, to the Chief Justice  of India before a Constitution Bench is set up to settle the issue.

A three-judge Bench comprising justices Dalveer Bhandari T S Thakur and Dipak Misra said, “We request the Chief Justice to refer these matters to a Constitution Bench of at least five judges of this court for an authoritative judgment.”

The court said an “extremely important” legal issue raised in a petition, whether under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code, a police officer is bound to register an FIR when a cognizable offence is made out or he has some latitude or discretion of conducting some kind of preliminary enquiry before registering the FIR.

The court made the reference while hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by the father of a six-year-old girl who was allegedly kidnapped by miscreants in UP’s Ghaziabad on May 5, 2008, but the police allegedly demanded money for registration of an FIR.

“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,” the bench said.

Hearing the petition, the court noted that the Centre, and the states and union territories have expressed divergent views about the interpretation of Section 154 CrPC.

The bench also pointed out the apex court had itself created a special category of medical doctors where preliminary enquiry had been postulated before registering an FIR.

It took into consideration the ‘CBI Manual’ which also envisaged some kind of preliminary enquiry before registering the FIR. Cognisable offences are those offences in which the police officer has power to arrest a suspect without warrant.