SC: A Sub-Divisional Magistrate doesn’t exercise power u/s 156(3) of Cr.P.C

Today, i.e. on 13th December 2018, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Naman Singh alias Naman Pratap Singh and another v. State of Uttar Pradesh and others pronounced that a sub-divisional magistrate does not exercise powers under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code and has no authority to direct the police to register an F.I.R.

The Hon’ble Apex Court observed that:

Section 154 of the Code provides for registration of a first information report at the instance of an informant, reduced into writing and signed by the person giving it. Section 154(3) stipulates that in the event of a refusal on part of an officer in charge of a police station to record such information, it may be sent in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police who will direct investigation into the same. (Para 6)

Section 190 of the Code provides for taking of cognizance by a Magistrate either on a complaint or upon a police report. Similarly, Section 156(3) provides that any Magistrate empowered under Section 190 may order such an investigation, and which also includes the power to direct the lodgement of an F.I.R. The Code in Section 200 provides for lodging of a complaint before the Magistrate, who after examination of the complainant and witnesses, if any, can take cognizance. (Para 7)

It is therefore apparent that in the scheme of the Code, an Executive Magistrate has no role to play in directing the police to register an F.I.R. on basis of a private complaint lodged before him. If a complaint is lodged before the Executive Magistrate regarding an issue over which he has administrative jurisdiction, and the Magistrate proceeds to hold an administrative inquiry, it may be possible for him to lodge an F.I.R. himself in the matter. In such a case, entirely different considerations would arise. (Para 8)

Registration of F.I.R by the police on the directions of a Sub-Divisional Magistrate is impermissible in law.(Para 8)

The Sub­-Divisional Magistrate does not exercise powers under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code. (Para 8)

Copy of judgement:Judgement 13-Dec-2018

-Tushar Kaushik

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