The Supreme Court in a recent case of Naman Pratap Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh has held that an Executive Magistrate cannot direct the police to register an FIR (First Information Report) on basis of a private complaint lodged before him.
A Bench comprising of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Navin Sinha was hearing an appeal involving a question whether the Sub-Divisional Magistrate was competent to direct the police to register an FIR, and whether such an F.I.R. can be said to have been registered in accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
In this case, a student had lodged a complaint with the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Unnao that she had been duped into taking admission in an unrecognized institute. The Executive Magistrate, on the same day, directed the police to register an FIR.
Referring to Sections 154, 156 and 190 of the Code, the Bench said that 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.
“A reading of the F.I.R. reveals that the police has registered the F.I.R on directions of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate which was clearly impermissible in the law. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate does not exercise powers under Section 156(3) of the Code. The very institution of the F.I.R. in the manner done is contrary to the law and without jurisdiction,” the Bench said.
However, the Bench clarified that “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 F.I.R. himself in the matter. In such a case, entirely different considerations would arise.”
Further, the Bench noted that nothing has prevented the student from lodging an FIR herself before the police under Section 154 of the Code or proceeding under Section 154(3). Alternately, she could have moved the Magistrate concerned under Section 156(3) of the Code in the event of the refusal of the police to act or could have filed a complaint under Section 200 of the Code before the jurisdictional Magistrate.
Thus, the Bench quashed the FIR and said that any application by the student will have to be considered by the appropriate authority or forum in accordance with law.