SC: Magistrate can direct police to register FIR without awaiting receipt of complaint

Bhopal: The magistrate can direct the police to register an FIR(first information report) under the Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act 1957 and the IPC without awaiting the receipt of complaint, the Supreme Court has said while upholding the judgment of the Judicial Magistrate (First Class) of Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh.

Taking suo moto on published news in the daily newspapers, the JMFC, Mandsaur, Sameer Mishra had on October 23, 2019 directed the Incharge of concerned police stations for registering the FIRs under sections 379 and 414 of theft of IPC for violating section 4/21 of the MMDR Act and Rule 18 of MP (Prevention of Illegal Mining/Transportation/Storage ) Rules 2006.

The mining officer or competent authority of the Mandsaur district had done the proceedings of compounding under ruling 18 of MP Minor Mineral Rules 1996 in all 67 cases of illegal mining and transportation.

Fourteen petitions had been filed against the JMFC's order in the Madhya Pradesh High Court bench Indore to quash the FIRs but the court had validated the Magistra's order. The Court had also said that a copy of this order be communicated to the all CJMs working in State of Madhya Pradesh with the direction to call for and examine the record and if any illegality or irregularity is found to be committed, the action be taken against the responsible person as is done by the learned JMFC, Mandsaur.

The bench of the Apex Court comprising justices Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah noted that compounding under MMDR Act for illegal excavation/transportation/storage does not affect proceedings for offences under IPC.

The learned magistrate can direct the concerned station house officer (SHO) to lodge the criminal case in IPC against the offenders of the MMDR Act and Rules made thereunder, the bench said in its 43-page judgment delivered on December, 3.

Disposing of the petitions filed by Jayant and state of Madhya Pradesh against the HC order, the SC said that the learned Magistrate can in exercise of powers under Section 156(3) of the CrPC order the concerned In­ charge of the police station to lodge crime case under sections 379 and 414 of IPC even for the offences under the MMDR Act and the Rules made thereunder.

The top court said when before the High Court, the State supported the order passed by the learned Magistrate, when the impugned judgment passed by the HC is in favour of the State then the State ought not to have filed the special leave petition.

For commission of the offence under the IPC, on receipt of the police report, the Magistrate having jurisdiction can take cognizance of the said offence without awaiting the receipt of complaint that may be filed by the authorised officer for taking cognizance in respect of violation of various provisions of the MMDR Act and Rules made thereunder, the Court also said in its verdict in the criminal appeal.

The compounding and imposing penalties shall not affect any proceedings for the offences under the IPC, the judgment also said.

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