No multiple FIRs can be registered for the same crime, the Delhi High Court has reiterated while quashing four but one first information report in a case of looting and setting on fire a compound during the north-east Delhi riots in February last year.
“There can be no second FIR and no fresh investigation regarding the same cognisable offence or same occurrence giving rise to one or more cognisable offences,” Justice Subromonium Prasad remarked.
The High Court’s order came while hearing a petition filed by accused Atir, who was facing prosecution in five FIRs lodged by Delhi Police.
One of the complainants, had stated that a mob entered the compound of his house in Maujpur area, ransacked it and set it ablaze. A fire tender was called to douse the blaze.
The complainant states the articles in the house valued at ₹7-₹10 lakh was charred in the fire. The other complainants also made similar complaints.
One family unit
Atir’s counsel argued that all the five FIRs are in respect of one unit and filed by different members of the same family.
The court noted, “All the above FIRs are identical in their content and more or less a facsimile of one another and pertain to the same occurrence. They all pertain to one house where fire was started mischievously and spread to immediate neighbouring premises as well as floors of the same house”.
“All the FIRs state that monetary loss was caused to each of the complainants residing in parts of the buildings in the same compound and in the immediate neighbourhood as their belongings and other valuables had been burnt down,” it added.
“There might be discrepancy regarding the width of the passage within the same compound or the exact place where the fire was set, but both sides agree that it is within one compound,” the court said.
No separate incidents
“It, therefore, cannot be said that there are five separate incidents and, therefore, five separate FIRs cannot be registered for the very same incident as it is contrary to the laws laid down by the Supreme Court,” Justice Prasad remarked while quashing four FIRs in the case.