Chennai: Madras High Court on Thursday made it clear that an information relating to the commission of a cognisable offence has to be made first to the officer in charge of the police station concerned.
Justice S Nagamuthu, passing orders on a criminal original petition filed by one financier for anticipatory bail observed that a general tendency now among people is to rush to a higher police officer like Commissioner of Police, DIG or SP at the first instance without approaching the officer in charge of the police station having jurisdiction over the area where the crime has been committed.
A sense of confidence should be instilled in people that any information relating to commission of a cognisable offence should be made first to the officer in charge of the station without any delay and if only no action is taken or if the officer declines to receive the information, the aggrieved can approach the superior police officer, the judge said.
Dealing with other matters connected with the anticipatory bail plea which was filed following a complaint from an actress who alleged that she conceived because of a live-in relationship with the financier since 2008 and later aborted the pregnancy as he reneged on his promises, the judge observed it was not as if the woman was of a tender age and had been sexually exploited under false promise of marriage.
"She is a mature woman of 30 years knowing the realities of life and she must be aware of the fact that society does not approve live in relationship and pre-marital sex," the judge said.
About her complaint that she had given about Rs 20 lakh to the financier who had not returned it, the judge said the facts found in the FIR can be inferred that there is some money dispute between the financier and the actress. "The dispute is only civil in nature and it cannot be said an offence of cheating has been committed."
The judge made all these observations as the actress had directly approached the city Police Commissioner on November 22 last year who directed the jurisdictional police officer to register a case which was done on December 3.
The judge said there was a delay of 11 days in registering the case.
The Judge then referred to a Supreme Court Judgment, saying if the delay in preferring the information or registering the case was not explained to the satisfaction of the court, it may be a ground to doubt the veracity of the prosecution case itself.
While allowing the anticipatory bail plea, the judge directed the financier to execute a bond of Rs 10,000 with two sureties each for a like amount to the Investigating officer or to the satisfaction of the XXIII Metropolitan Magistrate, Saidapet, Chennai.
With regard to complaints made to higher police officials, the Judge observed that the power to receive an information in respect of commission of a cognisable offence, to register a case and to investigate flows from Chapter XII of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
"A duty is cast upon the officer in Charge of a Police Station to register a case as per the section 154 of CrPC."
In the present case the complaint was made directly to the Commissioner of Police which was then forwarded to the jurisdictional police official.
The Judge observed that often some VIP informants such as cinema celebrities, with specific information relating to the commission of a cognisable offence, approach directly the superior police officers and after giving such information, meet the print and electronic media and disclose the contents of the information so as to make a big show of it.
"This may achieve an undue publicity , but will not serve any useful purpose as disclosure of the information may make criminals vigilant paving way for them to escape from the clutches of law."
The Judge said there is a fine distinction between an information relating to commission of a cognisable offence and grievance relating to inaction on the part of the officer in charge of police Station.In the absence of any action or failure to take appropriate action, the aggrieved can approach the superior Police officers, the judge said.
Such grievance petition should not be confused with an information relating to the commission of cognisable offence, the judge said and directed the Higher Authorities of the Police Department to educate the Public in the matter.