The Karnataka High Court ruled that a police officer does not need to file an FIR if he or she obtains information about an upcoming crime over the phone or by another means.
It was clarified that when a cognizable offense “has been committed,” the Section 154 compulsion for FIR registration kicks in.
Justice Sreenivas Harish Kumar said, “It is not necessary to register FIR whenever a police officer receives information over the phone or in some other way about an offense which is likely to take place. Rather the police officer must take immediate measures to prevent the crime from happening, or if committed in his presence, to take action according to section 41 of Cr. P.C, FIR may be registered later on.”
Iqbal Ahmed, the petitioner, asked the court to contest his conviction under sections 419, 420, 468, and 471 of the Indian Penal Code, as well as clause 12(1)(b) of the Passports Act.
He was caught when the police obtained information that some individuals were involved in the manufacture of counterfeit and fabricated passports for human trafficking and that they were planning to approach IBM personnel in Bengaluru’s Manyata Tech Park.
The inspector assembled a squad and proceeded to the location, apprehending the culprits and recovering some evidence. During the investigation, one of them made a voluntary statement revealing Iqbal Ahmed’s role. When a personal search of the petitioner was undertaken, the petitioner was arrested. He had a passport with him, and he also made a voluntary statement, which resulted in the recovery of a second passport.
The CBI Court’s judgment of conviction was upheld by the Sessions Court, prompting the petitioner to file the current action.
Senior Advocate Hashmath Pasha cited the judgment in Lalita Kumari vs Government of Uttar Pradesh and Others [(2014) 2 SCC 1] and argued that the investigation was tainted because PW 1 (police officer) received specific information about a crime being committed while in the police station but did not file an FIR before going to the scene.
The court ruled against the argument, which stated that the clear ratio information established reveals the commission of a cognizable offense, and an FIR must be filed. The sentence in section 154(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
It held, “PW1 did not receive any information that an offense had already been committed before he proceeded to take action based on the informant’s message. Mere securing of panchas before going to spot does not lead to an inference that information was definite.”
It is insufficient to just mark a piece of the confession statement that leads to discovery.
Pasha further argued that inculpatory inferences against an accused cannot be drawn unless recovery based on disclosure is lawfully proven. When an independent witness to the seizure panchnama for the recovery of Ex. P5 became hostile, he claimed that PW1’s testimony was insufficient. He further claimed that PW1 did not say the words listed as Ex. P4, which is part of the confession statement.
The prosecution’s advocate, P Prasanna Kumar, argued that, while PW8 became hostile during cross-examination, he made a clear admission in the cross-examination that he had deposed falsely to assist the accused, and that this admission would establish that he was very much present when the accused committed the crime.
The bench said, “There is no rule as such that testimony of the investigating officer should not be believed without corroboration from independent witnesses. An investigating officer doesn’t need to repeat the portion of a confessional statement leading to the discovery of a fact which is within the knowledge of the accused. If the testimony of the investigating officer is trustworthy, it can be acted upon, and this principle is well settled.”
Pasha stated that there is no proof that the petitioner utilized Ex. P5, that there is no evidence that he falsified the passport, and that probability is not taken into account in defense evidence.
Kumar reacted by claiming that Ex. P5 (a fake passport) bears immigration seals from a variety of nations, indicating that the petitioner traveled to other countries while using Ex. P5. He should have explained how Ex. P5 got to be stamped by the immigration departments of various foreign nations if he didn’t utilize it. In a circumstance like this, Section 106 of the Evidence Act applies. As a result, the petitioner bore a greater burden than the prosecution.
The bench said, “If the petitioner did not use Ex. P5, he alone should explain how it could be stamped by immigration authorities of different countries. Rightly section 106 of the Evidence Act can be employed in a situation like this. Since there is no explanation, inference under Section 114 of the Evidence Act can be drawn that the petitioner might have used Ex. P5 for visiting different countries.”
The prosecution was unable to show that it acquired the appropriate sanction under section 15 of the Passports Act.
Although the prosecution presented an Ex. P21 sanction order, Pasha contended that its mere production does not constitute proof. The sanction order’s issuing authority should have been investigated. The petitioner lost the opportunity to challenge whether he used his thoughts before passing the penalty order since he was not examined. The prosecution as a whole, in this opinion, is tainted.
The court held, ” Once sanction order was produced and marked; and if its validity was not questioned before the trial court and also the appellate court, it cannot be questioned in the revision. Mere marking is not a proof is a general principle of appreciation of evidence. According to Section 62 of the Evidence Act, primary evidence means the document itself. If a document is produced, and if its execution is disputed, then the principle “mere marking of a document does not amount to proof” is applicable. The person who executed a document or its attestors must be examined.”
The court added that the sanction order was not evidenced and that the accused was guilty. Even if there was a lawful sanction and the competent authority was also examined before the court, the offender cannot be found guilty based on such evidence. The competent authority simply indicates in his decision giving sanction that he is certain of the availability of materials for prosecuting the accused, but that the materials are not incriminating. Further, omission to submit a question to the accused under section 313 Cr. P.C. couldn’t be regarded as a good reason for overturning the judgment of conviction unless it was proven that it had resulted in a miscarriage of justice or that the accused’s interest has been seriously damaged.
Pasha further claimed that the investigator did not follow the law from the beginning of the investigation, that is, from the filing of the FIR to the conclusion of the investigation, and that as a result, Article 21 of the Constitution was violated.
The bench, however, decided that Article 21 applies when a person’s personal liberty is taken away without following the proper procedure.
As a result, the petition was dismissed.