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'Executive magistrate on private complaint cannot direct cops to lodge FIR'

Executive magistrate on private complaint cannot   direct cops to lodge FIR

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that under the scheme of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), an executive magistrate cannot direct the police to register an FIR on the basis of a private complaint lodged before him.

The top court, however, said that if a complaint is lodged before an executive magistrate on an issue over which he has an jurisdiction, then he can himself lodge an FIR in the matter after conducting an administrative inquiry.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Navin Sinha set aside the order of Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court by which it had refused to quash an FIR lodged against a private college on the direction of a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM).

On January 31, 2018, SDM, Unnao in Uttar Pradesh had directed the police to lodge an FIR against a college run by Naman Pratap Singh after a student made a private complaint to the officer alleging that she had been duped into taking admission in an unrecognised institution.

The bench after perusing various provisions of CrPC said,"It is therefore apparent that in the scheme of the Code, an Executive Magistrate has no role to play in directing the police to register an FIR on basis of a private complaint lodged before him".

The court said that after reading the FIR, it reveals that the police has registered the FIR on directions of the SDM which was clearly impermissible in the law as he (SDM) does not exercise powers under Section 156(3) of the CrPC.

The court, however, said, "If a complaint is lodged before the executive magistrate regarding an issue over which he has administrative jurisdiction, and the magistrate proceeds to hold an administrative inquiry, it may be possible for him to lodge an FIR himself in the matter".

The top court said that in the instant case, the very institution of the FIR is contrary to the law and without jurisdiction and hence is liable to be quashed.

It said that section 154 of the CrPC provides for registration of a FIR at the instance of an informant, reduced into writing and signed by the person giving it while Section 154(3) stipulates that in the event of a refusal on part of police officer to record such information, it may be sent in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police, who will direct investigation into the same.

Team MP

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