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Understanding transfer and cancellation of FIR

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picture-firUlsoor road all women’s police station in Bangalore, with jurisdiction extending to the whole of city was recently closed down. Reason? Because a police station that was meant to protect women and make reporting crimes against them easier indulged in all forms of violation of individual rights. Starting from false FIRs to extraordinarily torturous detention methods during investigation to falsely framing individuals. It was closed down and special all women departments were introduced in all police stations of the city. Consequently FIRs were transferred to other police stations. However in many cases FIRs in Ulsoor road police station continued to be pursued in the form of investigation, hence resulting in having two FIRs being registered in the same case. We look at possibility of such an event in this post!

Whether FIR can be transferred from one police station to another? Once transferred, can the new police station register new FIR? Can the new and old FIRs coexist?

  1. The law laid down in Satvinder Kaur v. state[1] has been followed with approval by the Supreme Court in the matter of Naresh Kavarchand Khatri v. State of Gujrat and another[2] , by holding as under :-

“6. …….The Code of Criminal procedure has conferred power on the statutory authorities to direct transfer of an investigation from one Police Station to another in the event it is found that they do not have any jurisdiction in the matter…..”

  1. Also in Mahindra Kumar Narendra & Ors. v. State & Ors.[3]

In this case a new FIR was registered at a subsequent police station. Court allowed for registration of subsequent FIR at the new police station.

After considering the submissions made by learned counsel for the parties and in view of the judgement of the Apex Court in Satvinder Kaur Vs. State (supra), this Court is of the view that there is no embargo or restriction upon an Investigating Officer in the matter of forwarding an FIR to a Police Station if he comes to the conclusion that the crime was committed within territorial jurisdiction of that Police Station also.  It cannot be held that FIR can be transferred only when it is found that no cause of action had arisen within the area in which FIR was lodged.   In Satvinder Kaur’s case, the quashing of the FIR by the High Court was held improper but it was nowhere stated that when an offence has been committed partly in one area and partly in another area, the I.O. has no powers to forward the case to the Police Station of the area in which the offence appears to have been partly committed.   It is not necessary that Investigating Officer forwarding the case should find that no part of cause of action had taken place within his jurisdiction inasmuch as where an offence is partly committed at one place and partly at another place, the discretion must remain with the Police or complainant to choose the place of trial.  The accused should not have any say in the matter. The only embargo is that FIR cannot be transferred to an area in which no part of offence appears to have been committed.

  1. In Lalita Kumari v. Government of UP[4] it was held by SC that registration of FIR is mandatory in case of cognizable offences. Further, investigation can only be undertaken by police after registration of FIR. (Applies to every police station separately). Hence, in order for a new police station to start investigation, FIR hs to be registered.
  2. It is clear from the above case laws that “administration” (and not necessarily judiciary) can transfer FIR in cases where a police station does not have jurisdiction. Further, new police station has to register a separate (New) FIR in order to start with investigation. Perhaps, question arises whether what happens to the FIR registered in the initially?

What happens to the FIR registered initially?

  1. In Anju Chaudhary Vs. State of U.P. & ANR.[5] SC was of the opinion that more than one FIR (either via private complaint or registered by the police) are not permissible. For the purpose of efficiency, police may carry on with investigation in one of the case and cancel another FIR (perhaps the FIR in Police Station without jurisdiction).
  2. In Ram Lal Narang v. State (Delhi Administration)[6] court was of the opinion that “…occasions may arise when a second investigation started independently of the first may disclose a wide range of offences including those covered by the first investigation. Where the report of the second investigation is submitted to a Magistrate other than the Magistrate who has already taken cognizance of the first case, it is up to the prosecuting agency or the accused concerned to take necessary action by moving the appropriate superior court to have the two cases tried together. The Magistrates themselves may take action suo motu. In the present case, there is no problem since the earlier case has since been withdrawn by the prosecuting agency. It was submitted to us that the submission of a charge-sheet to the Delhi court and the withdrawal of the case in the Ambala court amounted to an abuse of the process of the court. We do not think that the prosecution acted with any oblique motive…”
  3. Hence, first FIR has to be cancelled. If it is not cancelled court has sufficient power (u/s. 482 CrPC) and safeguards within CrPC (for instance provision against double jeopardy) to quash one of the two FIRs.

 

Conclusion:

Hence, FIR can be transferred from one police station to another, particularly on grounds pertaining to jurisdiction. Subsequently, new police station will have to register a new FIR and FIR registered in initial police station will have to be cancelled.

 

[1] (1999) SCC 728.

[2] (2008) 8 SCC 300

[3] Delhi HC WP (Crl) No 77/2004; available at http://delhicourts.nic.in/nov/77.htm

[4] (2012) 4 SCC 1

[5] (2013) 6 SCC 386

[6] (1979) 2 SCC 322

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