Nov 22,2021 | 5 min read

LEGAL RIGHTS FOR FALSE AND FORGED FIRs AND COMPLAINT

The constant expansion and development of civilization necessitates the adoption of stringent regulations. Laws are enacted to ensure the security and safety of the state, its citizens, and its property. However, some persons degrade the judiciary's dignity and squander the time of the courts by bringing false charges and misusing the law by pestering innocent people through bogus lawsuits. There is a current tendency of using fraudulent F.I.R.s and manufactured complaints to exact retribution on someone. 

Antidote to False FIR 一

False F.I.R/Complaint Remedies include:

In our legal system, there are various remedies available to those who have been wrongfully accused:

A. Action to take before an arrest is made: Bail in Advance

The purpose of Section 438 is to ensure that a person is not harassed or humiliated in order to satisfy the complainant's grievance or personal vengeance  held in HDFC Bank ltd. v J.J. Mannan alias J.M. John Paul

If a False F.I.R. is filed against a person for a non-bailable offence, that person can petition for bail before the arrest is effected under section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. After the person has been arrested, the provisions of Section 438 cannot be applied. 

If the accused believes the FIR is frivolous or malicious, he or she may proceed in the following manner as soon as the FIR is filed :

  • For preliminary investigation, requesting a copy of the FIR filed under Section 157 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

  • To prevent arrest, file an application for anticipatory bail u/s 438 Cr.P.C. before a session judge or high court.

  • Filing a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution before the Hon'ble High Court to quash the FIR, since the high court has inherent authority under section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

A writ can be issued for any reason that is adequate to establish the accused's innocence. The High Court can then continue with the quashing of the FIR if the accused has submitted all of the requisite proof. The High Court has the authority to order subordinate authorities to stop all legal procedures against the accused.

However, once the trial begins in court, the accused can file a discharge motion with the court where the case is being heard under 227 CrPC. If the court determines that there are insufficient grounds for proceeding against the accused after reviewing the case's records and papers and hearing the accused and prosecution's arguments in the case, the judge will dismiss the accused and record the reasons for discharge.

  • Grounds for quashing a FIR under section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code
    The reasons for discharge are as follows, according to the rules provided by the Supreme Court in the case of Sundar Babu & Ors vs. State of Tamil Nadu:

  • Where the accusations in the FIR or complaint are so ridiculous and intrinsically implausible that no reasonable person could ever come to a just judgement that there is adequate foundation to prosecute the accused.

  • Where any provision of the code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) contains an express legal bar to the institution and continuation of the proceedings, and/or where the code or the concerned Act contains a specific provision providing effective redress for the aggrieved party's grievance.

  • When a criminal process is clearly accompanied with malice aforethought and/or when the action is maliciously started with the intent of exacting vengeance on the accused and to spite him owing to a private and personal hatred.

  • Where the accusations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but simply a non-cognizable offence, no inquiry by a police officer is authorised without a Magistrate's order as envisioned by Section 155 (2) of the code.

  • Even if the accusations in the first information report or the complaint are taken at face value and accepted in their entirety, they do not prima facie constitute a crime or establish a case against the accused.

  • When the allegations in the first information report and any other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not reveal a cognizable offence, warranting an investigation by police officers under Sec. 156(1) of the code, except under an order of a Magistrate within the scope of Sec. 155(2) of the code.

  • When the uncontroverted accusations in the FIR or complaint, as well as the evidence gathered to support them, fail to reveal the commission of any crime and fail to establish a case against the accused.

The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Parbatbhai Ahir vs. Gujarat State that:

  • While the inherent power of the High Court has a wide ambit and plenitude, it must be exercised to secure the ends of justice or to prevent an abuse of any court's process; 

  • while the inherent power of the High Court has a wide ambit and plenitude, it must be exercised to secure the ends of justice or to prevent an abuse of any court's process;

Acquitted person's rights 一

Following the quashing of the F.I.R. and release from court, the acquitted individual has certain rights under which he or she may petition the court for criminal actions against the complainant.

Filling a complaint u/s 182 IPC against the person who has supplied false information with the intent or knowledge that it is untrue, or knowing that it is probable that he/she would cause, such public servant

  1. to do or omit anything that such public servant would not do or omit if he knew the real state of facts about which such information is given, or (b) to do or omit anything that such public servant would not do or omit if he knew the actual state of facts about which such information is given.

  2. to use such a public servant's legitimate power to injure or annoy any person, shall be punished by imprisonment of either type for a term not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding one thousand rupees, or both.

Filing an application with the court under section 156(3) CrPC or making a private complaint under section 200 CrPC for false charges of offence with intent to injure 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. The complainant who has made false claims and filed a fake FIR will be penalised. 

Imprisonment of either kind for a period of up to two years, or a fine, or both. If such a criminal procedure is brought on the basis of a false charge of an offence punishable by death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for seven years or more, he will be sentenced to either type of imprisonment for a period up to seven years, as well as a fine. The following are the legal options for compensation against the complainant. 

According to section 250 of the Criminal Procedure Code, The acquitted individual may seek compensation from the court for being falsely accused, and the provisions of this section apply to summons and warrant proceedings. Whereby, if the Magistrate is satisfied that there was no reasonable ground for making the accusation, he may, for reasons to be recorded, make an order that such complainant or informant pay compensation to the accused or to each or any of them in an amount not exceeding the amount of fine he is empowered to impose. 

And, under section 250(3), the Magistrate may, in addition to the order directing payment of the compensation under sub-section (2), rule that, if the compensation is not paid, the person ordered to pay it faces simple imprisonment for a term not exceeding thirty days.

Against government employees

We frequently hear that police officers abuse their powers to falsely accuse innocent people and harass them under the pretext of judicial procedures. There are always certain persons in every area of the country who support and promote corruption, but hearing such news about the trusted law enforcement organisation is disheartening. If a public worker abuses his authority to harass someone or obtain an unfair advantage, the acquitted person has the following rights against that public official 一

  • IPC Section 167
    Any public servant charged with the preparation or translation of any document or electronic record who frames, prepares, or translates that document or electronic record in a manner that he knows or believes to be incorrect, intending or knowing it to be likely that he will cause injury to any person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term that may extend to three years, or with a fine, or both.

  • IPC section 219
    Any public official who corruptly or intentionally writes or pronounces any report, order, verdict, or decision in any stage of a judicial action, or which he knows to be contrary to law, will be punished with imprisonment of any type for a term up to seven years, or with a fine, or both.

  • IPC Section 220
    Whoever, while in any office that gives him legal authority to commit persons for trial or confinement, or to keep persons in confinement, corruptly or maliciously commits or keeps any person in confinement in the exercise of his authority, knowing that he is breaking the law, shall be punished with imprisonment of any description for a term that may extend to seven years, or with a fine, or with both.

Takeaway 一

Every individual has certain constitutional, basic, legal rights to survive and flourish in society, which have been granted by the state. These rights are also safeguarded by laws and legislation. However, some people abuse these rules as a means of harassing others and gaining unfair advantage. People forget that the law and legal procedures are in place for our protection and convenience, not to harass an innocent individual for personal reasons. In our society, filing criminal charges against anybody is seen as a curse, resulting in a lifetime of damage to his character and dignity. Even after his acquittal, society regards him as a tainted individual. As a result, a separate legislation to deal with fraudulent cases is needed, as proposed by the Law Commission in its 192nd report, in order to create a strong deterrent in society. Apart from that, there is a need to raise public knowledge about people's rights and remedies in the event of a false F.I.R.


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