Police need to be trained to follow SC guidelines on registering FIRs: HC

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday observed that police officers, including IPS officers, required proper training in the fundamentals of registering First Information Reports in criminal cases as per the guidelines issued in a 2013 Supreme Court verdict in the case of Lalita Kumari vs. Government of Uttar Pradesh.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar made these oral observations after noting that the Additional Director-General of Police (Crime) had sought a report within a day from Superintendents of Police of five districts on 113 victims of child pornography mentioned in a 2018 report by Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.

The Bench was hearing a PIL petition filed by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, seeking action in the cases of the 113 victims, housed in State-run homes. Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Neelamani N. Raju, in her affidavit, had stated that SPs of five districts had submitted reports indicating that there were no instances of child pornography in the homes for children under their jurisdiction. They had been instructed by the ADGP, through a letter dated December 16, 2019, to submit their report within a day.

Following this, the Bench said this showed the senior police officers did not understand criminal law. The SPs have done what has prohibited by the Supreme Court, the Bench said.

The apex court, in the Lalita Kumari case, had said that registration of FIR was mandatory under Section 154 of the CrPC if the information disclosed the commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry was permissible in such a situation. If the information did not disclose a cognizable offence but indicated the necessity for an inquiry, a preliminary inquiry had to be conducted to ascertain whether a cognizable offence had been disclosed.

The HC Bench questioned how the SPs could come to any conclusion without conducting an investigation by registering an FIRs.

Probe by CID

Meanwhile, the DG&IGP, in her affidavit, indicated that the mistake had been rectified with FIRs registered, subsequent to court’s earlier observations, by including the ministry report as source of information.

The DG&IGP also said that all the FIRs registered in the five districts — Kolar, Vijayapura, Ballari, Gadag and Kalaburagi — related to the 113 victims of child pornography had been transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to ensure that the probe was conducted independently, without any reference to the reports filed by the SPs. The Bench adjourned further hearing on the matter till February 7.

Child-friendly courts

Meanwhile, the Bench asked the Additional Advocate General to get instruction from the government on the High Court administration’s request for providing suitable sites for establishing 31 child-friendly courts across the State.

Pointing out that the existing child-friendly courts were housed within the regular court complex and victims are forced to pass through court complex, the Bench said that the Karnataka government was lagging behind in providing infrastructure for child-friendly courts, though it was in the forefront in providing good infrastructure for the judiciary in the country.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 7:29:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/police-need-to-be-trained-to-follow-sc-guidelines-on-registering-firs-hc/article30619224.ece

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