Police telling you to register your complaint at a different police station will soon hopefully be a thing of the past, as the Karnataka High Court has reiterated that any complaint made to a police station cannot be rejected based on the jurisdictional issue.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Mohammad Nawaz on Thursday asked the state government to issue a direction within a month to the Director-General and Inspector General of Police (DG & IGP) to receive complaints and lodge FIRs in all police stations without insisting on the jurisdiction of the police station.
Based on this, now police will have to register FIRs for cognizable offences regardless of whether the offence took place under the local police limits.
The HC observed that even though there were multiple advisories since 2013 from the Union Home Ministry, only oral instructions were given to police stations until now.
“Not only in Bengaluru but in the entire state, police were rejecting genuine complaints citing this jurisdictional issue. FIR is the first point of the criminal justice machinery. Because once police file an FIR they have to start the investigation, record statements and another process. In order to avoid these things, the police were trying to avoid registering complaints, “ said Advocate S Umapathy, the petitioner of the PIL based on which the order was passed told TNM.
He had also demanded that FIR centres in Karnataka be brought. They were shut down by the Siddaramaiah government soon after they were launched. But the court did not allow the prayer citing it was a policy matter. Other objections by the state government were rejected.
Umapathy said, “That facility was working very well but the government closed it down realising that their work was adding to their burden so now again people are forced to knock on the doors of different police stations. Now the HC has directed to to give wide publicity about such measures to citizens and police officials.”
The court also noted that advisories from the Ministry of Home Affairs had suggested police stations to register “zero” numbered FIRs in case of offences falling outside their jurisdiction and later transfer them. Failing to do this police officials will be punished under Section 166A of IPC in addition to attracting a departmental enquiry, the HC said.