How to fight a false FIR filed against you ?
The First Information Report (FIR) is lodged in Criminal cases under Sec 154(1)(X) of Crpc before the police. The FIR can be lodged only in event of Cognizable Offences defined in Sec 2(c) of Crpc and not for Non-cognizable offenses. Schedule I of Crpc includes the list of Cognizable offenses for which FIR can be lodged. There are many Instances where False FIR is lodged against a person in order to tease him or to falsely implicate him in a false case. Consequently, this Article explains the action which the victim of such False FIR can take against the person who has lodged such False FIR.
Operation of Machinery in Cognizable cases under Criminal Law
For the Cognizable offense, the machinery starts by-
- Lodging an FIR before Police u/s 154 of Crpc.
- If the police do not register an FIR u/s 154, then the victim can submit his FIR u/s 154(3) to Senior Police officer or SSP in writing or by a registered post.
- If then also his FIR cannot get registered, then he can approach the Magistrate u/s 156(3), and where the Magistrate directs the police officer to register an FIR, then such officer shall register it and start the Registration.
What Action can one take against a person who has lodged a false FIR against him?
Most of the time it occurs that a person knowingly lodges a false FIR against someone in order to wrongly implicate him in a false matter. So the question appears where he can seek a remedy? What progress can he use against such a person? Whether he can take any action against such a person or not?
Where a false FIR is lodged against a person by someone to falsely implicate him in a false case, then in such a case-
Application filed u/s 482 of Crpc for Quashing frivolous FIR
The Application can be filed by a person under Sec 482 of Crpc to the High court for getting the frivolous FIR filed against him quashed.
Sec 482. Saving of inherent powers of High Court. Under this Section, High court has been vested with the natural powers to give any order which is necessary in order to-
- Prevent abuse of process of Courts; or
- To secure ends of justice to the people.
In Som Mittal v. Govt. of Karnataka, the Supreme Court held that,
- When a grave malfunction of justice would be committed if the trial is allowed to proceed; or
- Where the accused would be harassed needlessly if the trial is allowed; or
- When prima facie it appears to Court that the trial would likely to be terminated in acquittal.
Then the inherent power of the Court under Section 482 of the CrPC can be entreated by the High Court either
- To stop the abuse of process of any Court, or otherwise
- To achieve the ends of justice
Grounds on the basis of which one can go to High Court under Sec 482 of Crpc for Canceling a false FIR
An individual can approach the HC for getting the false FIR quashed by filing an application under Sec 482 of Crpc on the following grounds-
- The Acts or omission on the basis of which the FIR has been lodged does not constitute an offense.
- The Offence for which the FIR has been expressed against the accused has never happened;
- The FIR contains merely baseless allegations without any reasonable ground to prove an offense against the accused.
In the case of Abasaheb Homme versus the State of Maharashtra, it was held that the power of the court to quash the FIR should be exercised sparingly and subject to the satisfaction of the condition precedents to exercise of such power.
The doctrine of inherent power is the basic support for the exercise of such power. The court is invested with such power to do justice and to ensure that basic rule of law is not violated. In the provisions of section 482 of the Code. Power to quash is one of the powers where the court would be empowered to quash the FIR or even a criminal proceeding in furtherance thereto;
Different stages when Application under Sec 482 can be filed for canceling a false FIR
The Application under Sec 482 of Crpc can be made to High Court for getting false FIR quashed-
- Before Filing the charge sheet by the police;
- After Registering a charge sheet by the police;
- During the pendency of Trial or after the Start of the Trial.
- Before Filing the charge sheet by the police – Where an application has been filed by a person under Sec 482 of Crpc for getting the FIR canceled, The High court can repeal such false FIR if it is against the principle of Natural justice cause a grave malfunction of justice to the victim. The court also has the power to censure such police officer or can issue certain directions for such an officer.
2. After Filing charge sheet by the police – If the charge sheet has been filed on the foundation of superficial FIR, and the case is committed to session judge and before commencement of trial, the accused can file a discharge Application u/s 227 of Crpc, in order to get discharged from the offense charged with on the basis of false FIR against him on the following grounds–
- That the charge sheet contains no prima facie evidence against the accused in respect of the offense with which it is charged.
- The trial cannot be commenced against the accused because of insufficiency of evidence on record.
- The evidence on record is inadmissible as evidence under the Indian Evidence Act.
3. After the Commencement of trial – If the discharge Application u/s 227 of Crpc filed by the arrested has been declined by Session court, and the charge is framed and the trial is commenced then Application under Sec 232 of Crpc can only be made for the Acquittal of the Accused.
Guidelines by Supreme Court where the false FIR can be Quashed u/s 482 of CrPC
The Guidelines has been laid down by Supreme court explaining the Circumstances in which the False FIR can be Quashed in Sundar Babu & Ors vs. State of Tamil Nadu.
- Where the FIR lodged against the accused does not hold any prima facie evidence against the accused in respect of the crime with which it is charged.
- Where the charge made in the FIR does not disclose any Cognizable Offence against the accused.
- Where the Charges made in the FIR and the evidence collected by the police on the basis of such evidence does not disclose commission of any offense that forms a case against the accused.
- Where the offense disclosed in the FIR is a non-cognizable offense in such a case, the police cannot start the investigation without the order of the Magistrate u/s 155(2) of CrPC.
- Where the Accusations made in the FIR are false, ridiculous that there is no ground to initiate the proceedings against the person.
- Where there is an express bar to initiate the Legal proceedings in any Act dealing with criminal matters.
- Where the FIR has been lodged Maliciously or proceedings are initiated wrongly, in order to falsely implicate a person in a false case to satisfy his personal grudge.
2. A writ petition under Art 226 of Constitution
Where a false FIR has been lodged by a person against an individual, such individual can approach the High Court for quashing such FIR by filing a writ petition under Art 226 of the Constitution. If the High Court found that great injustice has been done by to such a person, it can quash such false FIR. In Such a case, The High Court can issue writs of-
- Mandamus writ- Writ of Mandamus can be dispensed against a police officer who has lodged such a false FIR instructing him to perform his duty in a lawful manner;
- Prohibition Writ– The Writ of Prohibition can be dispensed to the Subordinate Court which is conducting the trial of a person which is based on a false FIR lodged against such Accused, in order to End such criminal proceedings.
3. Is there any Punishment for a person who lodges a false FIR against someone?
The person who lodges a false FIR against someone can be held guilty under Sec 182 & 211 of IPC, but only after the accused had appealed to the High Court for quashing the false FIR lodged against him and the HC had canceled such false FIR or if the accused is acquitted or discharged by High Court.
What section 182 of the Indian Penal Code has to say about the lodging of false FIR
There are circumstances where a person deliberately facilitates false information to public servants generating a wrongful loss to others. Our legal system has prescribed punishment where a person maliciously furnishes false information to a public servant.
Punishment for such act is
- Imprisonment which may extend to six months, or
- With fine which may extend to one thousand rupees,
- or with both.
Harbhajan Singh Bajwa vs. Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala & Anr., it was held that:
“Whenever any information is given to the authorities and when the said authority found that the accusations made in the complaint were false, it is for that authority to initiate action under Section 182 I.P.C. The offense under Section 182 I.P.C. is punishable with imprisonment for a period of six months or with fine or with both.
When the authorities themselves found after investigation that the accusation made by Ashwani Kumar in his complaint was false, it is for them to initiate proceedings immediately or within the prescribed period as provided under Section 468 Code of Criminal Procedure.
The acceptance of the cancellation report by the Court is immaterial. It does not save the limitation under Section 468 Cr.P.C. which prescribes the period of one year for taking cognizance if the offense is punishable, with imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.
Since the offense under Section 182 I.P.C. is punishable with imprisonment for a period of six months only, the authority should file the complaint under Section 182 I.P.C. within one year from the date when that authority found that the allegations made in the complaint were false.
Since more than four years elapsed from the date when the authority found the allegations were false, no question of filing any complaint under Section 182 I.P.C. at this belated stage arises”.
(B) Under Sec 211 of IPC, the Accused person against whom false FIR has been made can file application u/s 156(3) or a Complaint u/s 200 of Crpc before the Magistrate Court against such person.
Sec 211 of IPC: When a person has been Falsely charged with an Offence?
Then, such person shall be punished with-
- Imprisonment which may extend to two years, or
- With fine, or
- with both; and
If such criminal proceeding has commenced on a false charge of an offense which is punishable by Death or imprisonment for life or Imprisonment for 7 years or upwards,
Then such person shall be punishable with-
- Imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and
- Liable for fine.
4. Whether a police officer can be held liable for intentionally or negligently lodging a false FIR against a person?
The Situations of harassment of a common man and normally the poor person by the police is not an uncommon or rare thing. There are many situations in news every day where the person being harassed and hurt by the police by deliberately or negligently lodging a false FIR against the person. In such a case, the common man is put to great sorrow.
In such a case, the Accused person can file application u/s 156(3) or a Complaint u/s 200 of Crpc against such police officer for deliberately or negligently lodging a false FIR.
Under Sec 167, 218, 220 of IPC, the police officer can be held guilty of deliberately lodging a false FIR against a person with intent to cause injury to him.
Section 167 of IPC – Public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury
Then such Public Servant shall be punished with-
- Imprisonment which may extend to three years, or
- with fine, or
- with both.
What Sec 218 has to say when Public Servant frames Incorrect Record with the Intention of saving a person from punishment?
Situation—When any public servant has a duty to prepare any document and he prepares that document in such a manner with the intention-
- To cause injury to any person; or
- To protect any person from legal punishment; or
- To save any property from forfeiture under any law
Example- ‘Y’ a police officer is under a duty to lodge FIR against the Accused ‘X’ who has committed the Cognizable offense. But ‘Y’, in order to save ‘X’ from the Legal Punishment, had not lodged the FIR against him. Hence such situation will come under Sec 182 of IPC and police officer would be held liable under this section.
Then such Public Servant shall be punished with-
- imprisonment which may extend to three years, or
- with fine, or
- with both.
Commitment for trial or confinement by person having authority who knows that he is acting contrary to law
Situation—When any individual by misusing his legal authority, wrongfully commits any persons for trial or wrongfully confine such person.
Example- ‘X’ a public servant has the authority to commit a person for trial, has lodged a false FIR against “B” and on the basis of such fabricated FIR trial has been commenced against B. Therefore, such a situation would come within Sec 220 of IPC and X would be liable under this section.
Then such person shall be punished with-
- Imprisonment which may extend to seven years, or
- with fine, or
- with both.
5. Can the victim apply for Anticipatory Bail where false FIR has been lodged against him?
Anticipatory bail is provided under Sec 438 of Crpc. The individual can demand Anticipatory bail only in case of Cognizable and Non-bailable offence. If a fabricated FIR has been lodged upon a person in order to implicate him in a false case, he has the option to apply for the Anticipatory Bail under Sec 438 of CrPC. The Person can apply to the HC or Court of Session for the grant of Anticipatory Bail. The Court can grant the Anticipatory bail taking into consideration the following factors-
- Nature and gravity of the offence with which the accused is charged;
- Whether the accused had experienced any previous conviction in ration to the Cognizable offence.
- Where the accusation has been made with the intent of making an injury or implicating a person in a false case.
If Anticipatory Bail is Rejected – After taking into account these factors, the HC or Court of the session may grant Anticipatory bail or may reject it. Where the Anticipatory bail has been rejected by the High Court or Court of Session, the police is free to arrest the accused.
If Anticipatory Bail is Granted – Where after taking into consideration the following factors, the High Court or Court of Session has granted the Anticipatory bail then the court may impose following Restrictions on the Accused-
- The Candidate should make himself present for interrogation by a police officer whenever required;
- The Candidate shall not make a threat, promise to any person in order to prevent him from disclosing any facts to the court or any police officer;
- May Restrain the Applicant from leaving India without prior permission of the Court.
In Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia v. the State of Punjab, It was held in this case that the discretion under Section 438 cannot be exercised with regard to offences punishable with death or imprisonment for life unless the Court at that very stage is satisfied that such a charge appears to be false or groundless.“The distinction between an ordinary order of bail and an order of anticipatory bail is that whereas the former is granted after arrest and therefore means release from the custody of the police, the latter is granted in anticipation of arrest and is therefore effective at the very moment of arrest. In other words, unlike a post-arrest order of bail, it is a pre-arrest legal process which directs that if the person in whose favor it is issued is thereafter arrested on the accusation in respect of which the direction is issued, he shall be released on bail.”
6. Can the victim file a complaint of Defamation against the person who lodged a False FIR against him?
Where false or frivolous FIR is filed by the person in order to wrongly implicate some person in a false case. By doing this, he causes a great harm to the reputation of the person, as though the under the law, the person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty but the society in which we live today, presumes a person guilty once the person is accused of an offence irrespective of whether false FIR has been filed or later he gets discharged or acquitted by the court, but he cannot get that respect in the society as earlier.
Hence, where the victim has suffered the harm to his reputation he may file a complaint of Defamation against the person who lodged a false FIR against him.
Guidelines Laid down for Police – Recording an FIR in Various Case Laws
Some Guidelines has been laid down for Police Officials for Registering an FIR in various Case laws-
In Munna LaI vs. State of H.P. It was held that when the petitioner approaches the police for the registration of FIR, the police is under a statutory duty to register a cognizable offence and therefore cannot deny to register it and has to register it in the form in which it receives and then starts an investigation.
In Nauratai Ram vs. the State of Haryana, It was held that the police has no discretion or authority to-
(a) Enquire about the credibility of the information before registering the case; or
(b) Refuse to register the case on the ground that it is either not reliable or credible.
In Tulsi Ram vs. the State of M.P., It was held that Where the police refused to register FIR on the grounds of false allegations founded in the preliminary inquiry, the High Court directed the registration of the FIR and fresh investigation in the case.