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This article is written by Aadarsh Kumar Shrivastava Government from New Law College, Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

Introduction

With the continuous growth and development of society, there is a dire need of strict laws. Laws are made for the security and safety of State, people and property. But some people indulge in insulting the dignity of judiciary and waste the time of Courts by making false allegations and misuse of law by harassing the innocents by implicating false litigation. Today, there is a trend to use false F.I.R.s and fabricated complaints in order to take revenge from someone. It has become a strong mechanism for attacks on mental health, reputation and to the creation of fear. 

What are false FIR and complaints

In criminal matters the procedure of registration of cases in courts are as follows:

  • Lodging of First Information Report before police u/s 154 CrPC. 
  • Complaint made before superintendent of police u/s 154(3) CrPC.
  • Directions for FIR by magistrate u/s 156(3)CrPC
  • Cognizance of offence by magistrate u/s 190 CrPC.
  • Private complaint made before Magistrate u/s 200 CrPC.

False FIR and complaints means making false allegations and lodging FIR or complaints on the basis of conspired fabricated facts and circumstances in order to harass the other person by misuse of law and judicial proceedings. 

The police are obliged to register FIR for all cognizable offense and to pursue the investigation with due process of law. Innocent people, who are implicated in false cases under a malicious FIR, face many problems due to these legal procedures. Some of the fabricated complaints and FIRs are as follows-

  1. Matrimonial disputes u/s 498A in which women file forged complaints of cruelty by husband or relatives of husband as it was held in the matter of Sheo Nath Singh v. Sujata  and Harish Chandrel Drall v. Suresg Wati
  2. Forged complaints by peoples of Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribe under SC/ST Act to harass the other caste and tribe peoples as it was held in Gorigeh Pentaiah v/s State of Andhra Pradesh
  3. Love Affairs and relationships where family of girl file complaints against partner for abduction and various other offences under chapter 16 of IPC as it was held in the matter of Fazle Gaffar Khan v. State of West Bengal.
  4. Under different provisions of sexual harassment by women in order to get undue gains.

These are few common examples which we see on news headlines.  There are uncountable cases in which forged complaints are made for harassment and wrongful gains. 

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Legal procedure to be followed 

As soon as an FIR is filed and the accused gets the knowledge of the same, if he/she feels that the FIR is frivolous/malicious, he/she may proceed in the following manner:

  • Filling for the copy of FIR u/s 157 CrPC for preliminary inquiry. 
  • Filling of an application before session judge or high court for anticipatory bail u/s 438 Cr.P.C. to avoid the arrest. 
  • Filling the writ petition under Article 226 of Constitution before Hon’ble High Court to quash the FIR as there is inherent power of high court under section 482 CrPC.
  1. Writ can be filed on any grounds which is sufficient to prove the innocence of the accused. And if the accused has provided all the necessary evidence, the High Court can proceed with the quashing of the FIR. The High Court can direct subordinate officers to end all legal proceedings which are against the accused.
  2. But if the trial starts in the court, the accused can submit an application for discharge to the court where the matter is under hearing under 227 CrPC And if, considering the submission of the records and documents of the case, and after hearing the presentations of the accused and the prosecution in the case, the judge considers that there is no sufficient grounds for proceeding against the accused, then the judge will discharge the accused and record the reasons for discharge.

Grounds for quashing FIR u/s 482 CrPC

As per the guidelines issued by apex court in the matter of Sundar Babu & Ors vs. State of Tamil Nadu the grounds of discharge are as follows-

  • Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.
  • Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.
  • Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.”
  • Where, the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Sec. 155 (2) of the code.
  •  Where the allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.
  • Where the allegations in the first information report and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Sec. 156(1) of the code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Sec. 155(2) of the code.
  • Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused.

In the matter of Parbatbhai Ahir V/s State of Gujarat the Supreme Court held that-

  • In forming an opinion whether a criminal proceeding or complaint should be quashed in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482, the High Court must evaluate whether the ends of justice would justify the exercise of the inherent power;
  • While the inherent power of the High Court has a wide ambit and plenitude it has to be exercised to secure the ends of justice or to prevent an abuse of the process of any court;

Rights of a person acquitted 

After the quashing of F.I.R. and getting discharged from court there are certain rights of the acquitted person under which he/she may pray to the court for criminal proceedings against the complainant. 

The legal remedies against the complainant are–

  • Filling a complaint u/s 182 IPC against the person who has provided false information, with intention or knowledge or believe it to be false, or knowing it to be likely that he/she will thereby cause, such public servant—

(a) to do or omit anything which such public servant ought not to do or omit if the true state of facts respecting which such information is given were known by him, or 

(b) to use the lawful power of such public servant to the injury or annoyance of any person, shall be punished with-

Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

  • Filing of application before court u/s 156(3) CrPC or to make private complaint u/s 200 CrPC for false charges of offence with intent to cause injury to him, or institution of any criminal proceeding against him, or falsely charges him with an offence, knowing that there is no just or lawful ground for such proceeding or charge against him under section 211 IPC. Whereby the complainant who has made false allegations and lodged fabricated FIR shall be punished with:

Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. If such criminal proceeding be instituted on a false charge of an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for seven years or upwards, then he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine. The legal remedies for compensation against the complainant are –

According to section 250 CrPC The acquitted person may file before the court for Compensation for accusation without reasonable cause and the provisions of this section shall apply to summons and warrant cases. Whereby u/s 250(2) if the Magistrate is satisfied that there was no reasonable ground for making the accusation, may, for reasons to be recorded, make an order that compensation to such amount, not exceeding the amount of fine he is empowered to impose, as he may determine, be paid by such complainant or informant to the accused or to each or any of them. 

And u/s 250(3) the Magistrate may, by the order directing payment of the compensation under sub-section (2), further order that, in default of payment, the person ordered to pay such compensation shall undergo simple imprisonment for a period not exceeding thirty days. 

Against public servant

We often hear that the police misuse their rights to implicate the innocents by showing fear of false FIRs, and harass them in the guise of legal proceedings. There are always some people in every corner of the country who support and promote corruption, but it is shameful to hear such news against the trusted agency of law and order. If such public servant misuses his powers to harass anyone or to take undue advantage, the acquitted person can exercise his rights against such public servant who is as follows-

  • Section 167 IPC

If any Public servant who is charged with the preparation or translation of any document or electronic record and if he frames, prepares or translates that document or electronic record in a manner which he knows or believes to be incorrect, intending thereby to cause or knowing it to be likely that he may thereby cause injury to any person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

  • Section 219 IPC

Any public servant who corruptly or maliciously makes or pronounces any report, order, verdict, decision in any stage of a judicial proceeding, or which he knows to be contrary to law, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both. 

  • Section 220 IPC

Whoever, being in any office which gives him legal authority to commit persons for trial or to confinement, or to keep persons in confinement and if he corruptly or maliciously commits any person for trial or to confinement, or keeps any person in confinement, in the exercise of his authority knowing that in so doing he is acting contrary to law, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.

Impact analysis of false complaints

Punishing an innocent has always been a gross injustice. The following problems have to be faced by the accused due to forged criminal legal proceedings-

Mental torture and illnesses

Innocent person has to suffer from mental health issues due to the legal proceedings and he/she has constant fear of punishment from court which may affect his/her job, service or business. He/ She is unable to work with free mind due to such proceedings.These mental health issues include bipolar mental disorders, depressions, etc. and resulted in suicides too sometimes.

Wastage of time and money

An innocent person who is implicated in such forged complaints has to leave his work, meetings, business or office and to walk around the court and advocate which leads to wastage of time and the money. 

Restrictions

The person is obliged to appear in court hearings and is not free to go out of the country without the due permission of the court and sometimes due to such delay in permission and proceedings; the person suffers commercial and financial losses without any mistake.

Conclusion

The state has given certain constitutional, fundamental, legal rights to every individual to live and to grow in society. And these rights are protected from laws and statutes. But some people use these laws as a mechanism of harassment against other people and for undue gains. People forget that the law and legal procedures are for our help and security, not to harass an innocent for personal grudges. In our society, registration of criminal cases against any person is equal to curse for him, which resulted in damage to his reputation and honor for his whole life. Even after the acquittal the society sees him as a taint. 


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