Stating that Mumbai police is targeting them in the TRP scam, Republic Network has said that though their name was not in the FIR, they have been named as an accused. The Mumbai police, for its part, has said that while the TV channel was not named in the FIR, it cropped up during investigation. What does the law say about this?
What is an FIR?
FIR or First Information Report is literally the first information of a cognisable offence – as against a non-cognisable or minor offence where an NC is registered and not an FIR — that is received by a police officer who puts it down in written format. The FIR is filed under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that stands for ‘Information in cognizable cases’. It reads, “ Every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be read over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the state government may prescribe in this behalf.”
What is the next step after an FIR is registered?
Once an FIR is registered on the basis of a complaint given by someone, the police then begins to investigate the complaint and verify the allegations in the complaint by finding evidence to that effect. The police could either find the allegations genuine and proceed to gather evidence and file a chargesheet against people who have allegedly committed a crime. It can, however, also happen that the police find no evidence to substantiate allegations given by the complainant and ‘summarise the case’ which means closing the case.
Should the FIR have names of the all the accused that the police finds involved in a crime?
No. Since FIR is just the first information, it will only have the names of people mentioned by the complainant. The investigation may lead the police to conclude that the allegations are false, that the allegations are correct, or that more people are involved in a particular crime who the complainant may have not known. For example, in cases of robbery, apart from the person arrested from the spot, the police may later also arrest the person who bought stolen goods. That person’s name, though not mentioned in the FIR, would be there in the chargesheet. In fact, there have been cases where a person who is the complainant in the FIR turns out to be charged as an accused. For example, in the 2009 murder of Beena Dedhia at Dadar in Mumbai, her husband Jatin was the complainant but the police during the course of investigatopm found that it was him who planned the crime. Eventually, in the chargesheet, he was named as an accused although he was a complainant in the FIR. 📣 Follow Express Explained on Telegram
So does the chargesheet indicate the findings of the police investigation?
Yes, what the police find during investigation is mentioned in the chargesheet. The police have to substantiate everything they mention in the chargesheet with evidence in the time period mentioned by law. In cases where the punishment awarded is more than 10 years, a chargesheet has to be filed within 90 days of the arrest. Different laws have different time periods for filing of the chargesheet.
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What happens after the chargesheet ?
The trial in the cases in a court of law goes ahead on the basis of the chargesheet, which is also provided to the defence lawyers of the accused. If the court finds the evidence too flimsy, it may not frame charges in the case and discharge the accused persons. There have been cases like the 2008 Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj murder case where even though the investigating agency filed a closure report in the case, the CBI court took their closure report as chargesheet after it said it had enough evidence to charge the parents of murder in the case.
What happens if the police investigations conclude that the complaint in the FIR is not true ?
In that case, the police can file a ‘closure report’ under Section 169 of the CrPC, which stands for ‘Release of accused when evidence deficient.’ states, “If, upon an investigation… it appears to the officer in charge of the police station that there is not sufficient evidence or reasonable ground of suspicion to justify the forwarding of the accused to a Magistrate, such officer shall, if such person is in custody, release him on his executing a bond, with or without sureties…”
What are the types of closure reports? What do they stand for?
There are three types of closure reports: A summary, B summary and C summary. A summary stands for cases where the police do not have enough evidence to charge an accused. It could be reopened if the police find more evidence. ‘B Summary’ is where the police find that the complaint is ‘maliciously false’ and that the complainant lied about charges against an accused. In such cases, the accused can be acquitted and the police could choose to file an FIR against the complainant for giving false complaint. ‘C summary’ is when the case is neither true nor false and was filed due to a ‘mistake in law’. For example, a person approaches the police saying his bike was stolen after he could not find it at the place where he had parked it. An FIR is registered in the case. A day later he comes to know that his brother had taken it away and finds the bike, he approaches the police and informs them about the confusion. In this case, the FIR registered is filed under “C summary”.
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