Do you remember the famous dialogue from SHOLAY “Hum angrezon ke zamane ke jailor hain”. You would definitely, who doesn’t! It still sends us into splits of laughter!But, have you ever sat back and thought whether this line could actually have a meaning, not just a hilarious movie dialogue or concoction of a dreamy film writer? It can be a much deep rooted truth that concerns our daily life and in fact our lives itself?

If not, then think again, because there can never be smoke without fire and this dialogue and character must have definitely warranted a means of public awareness and pondering through a public spirited dialogue writer.

This article will surely give you a glimpse and an initiation into start pondering in a much different light of this “hilarious one-liner” (not taking away its humor) in a much different and significant way. And you might just still laugh over it, but this time thinking of it to be intelligent humor and not just slapstick.Who am I you must be wondering by now for sure – I’m Prashant Manchanda, a practising criminal lawyer, holding experience in arguing at length before the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India MR.Justice K.G. BALAKRISHNAN, Hon’ble Mr. Justice R.V.RAVEENDRAN and Hon’ble Mr. Justice P.SATHASIVAM in the Supreme Court of India, on many occasions.

The erstwhile police force of the British Raj who were trained to administer terror over our people for the perpetuation of foreign domination seem to heavily inspire our current Police administration who feel it’s their duty to treat a layman or a common citizen unfairly. The proper way for the police of a free country to behave and act was well expressed in a circular which the then former commissioner of police, Calcutta Mr.H.S.Ghose Chaudhuri had occasion to issue to the police. He said: ”I could understand that, for in those days they lived in a different regime. But I wonder why there should be complaints now. It is to serve the people that the police exist. It is to protect their lives and property that the police live and labor for. The public come to the police only when in trouble. They come aggrieved for guidance and help. If at that time policeman shows discourtesy he violates the policeman’s code of honor, commits a crime against the state and the people and sin against God. He then needs just punishment.”

We need to understand that the idea of having a welfare state envisaged by our constitutional experts stands completely null and void, in absence of a proper criminal justice system. And here, Police machinery plays one of the most important roles in order to set criminal law into motion by lodging FIR’s and conducting unbiased and speedy investigation. Moreover, in order to accomplish the solemn purpose of having a crime free society, more onerous duty is cast on the Police and learned magistrates. There is a well demarcated sphere of activity between the field of crime detection and crime punishment. Investigation of an offence is the field exclusively reserved for the executive through the police department, the superintendence over which vests in the State Government. The executive who is charged with a duty to keep vigilance over law and order situation is obliged to prevent crime and if an offence is alleged to have been committed it is its bounden duty to investigate into the offence and bring the offenders to book. Needless to state the ill consequences which can follow if the police refuses to investigate a cognizable offence (offences in which the police is duty bound to lodge an FIR, without acquiring prior permission of a magistrate in order to investigate the case, together with the power to arrest without warrant) such as theft, murder, dacoity, rape, hurt, assault, robbery, trespass, cheating etc). As per the scheme and policy of the criminal procedure code no investigation in an offence can be commenced without registration of FIR’s -offence being reduced in writing and entered in a book maintained by the Police stations- placed under section 154 of the code, because the mandate of collecting evidence, recording statements of witnesses(161Cr.P.C) and the likewise are provided only in the following sections 156-174 of the Cr.P.C (stage that comes only after registration of FIR).

Hon’ble Supreme Court realizing the importance of the police department in maintaining law and order in the state, issued strict guidelines to them in the case of State of Haryana V. Ch. Bhajan Lal 1992 Suppl. (1) SCC 335. However, it is most unfortunate that in Delhi the police is blatantly defying the law laid down by the Hon’ble supreme court on registration of cases on information disclosing commission of cognizable offence which is gradually jeopardising criminal justice system here with absolutely no vision for the statutory law or commitment to ideals. Investigating officers because of patronage of senior officers are rather encouraged because of implementations of non-registration of FIR’S with impunity.

The growing menace of non-registration of cases in violation of law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court has taken a serious turn. It is manifest from startling and shocking sample data of Police Station/Sub -Division Kotwali, which was provided to me by a public spirited inspector in Delhi Police. I have chosen the same as he was posted here in the year 1978 and occasionally worked as Duty Officer to perform job of registration of cases. The total cases registered in police station Kotwali in the year 1978 were 2066 against 560 in the same police station in the year 2005, a whopping decline of more than 368 percent. This drastic decline has been reported irrespective of many fold increases in local population and un-imaginable influx of daily visitors in this commercial area. This decline is more deplorable in the context that the year 1978 was also not free from burking/minimising of crime. The Officers at the level of Police Stations were subjected to action for their failure to control crime and they also resorted to burking/minimising crime. The tale of burking of crime has virtually jeopardised criminal-justice system.

The figures shown below duly reflect it :

Relevant here is to quote the observation made by the Hon’ble Supreme court vis-à-vis duties of Police officers.

“At the stage of registration of a crime or a case on the basis of the information disclosing a cognizable offence in compliance with the mandate of Section 154(1) of the Code, the concerned police officer can not embark upon an enquiry as to whether the information, laid by the informant is reliable and genuine or otherwise and refuse to register a case on the ground that the information is not reliable or credible. On the other hand, the officer in charge of a police station is statutorily obliged to register a case and then to proceed with the investigation if he has reason to suspect the commission of an offence which he is empowered under Section 156 of the Code to investigate, subject to the proviso to section 157. (As we have proposed to make a detailed discussion about the power of a police officer in the field of investigation of a cognizable offence within the ambit of Sections 156 and 157 of the Code in the ensuing part of this judgment, we do not propose to deal with those sections in extenso in the present context.) In case, an officer in charge of a police station refuses to exercise the jurisdiction vested in him and to register a case on the information of a cognizable offence reported and thereby violates the statutory duty cast upon him, the person aggrieved by such refusal can send the substance of the information in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police concerned who if satisfied that the information forwarded to him discloses a cognizable offence, should either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him in the manner provided by sub-section (3) of Section 154 of the Code. ”

The grotesque and strangely distorted figures of remaining police stations of Delhi in competition on reduction of crime and working under the same set-up also present maliciously achieved data on crime. Apparently, the crime figures completely disregard the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, on free registration of cases. The crime data of year 2005 compared to year 1978 is ridiculous and garbage. It defeats the purpose of compiling it on spending crores of rupees from public exchequer. The data creation in this way instead of helping in crime control, prevention and detection of crime puts the police officers on wrong path. The burking/minimising crime continues all over Delhi. It is disgusting that murder cases are also given shape of suicides and accidents. Particularly, unclaimed dead bodies found in river, nullah, and roadsides having evidence of murder go un-registered. Of course hobnobbing with Autopsy Surgeons proves useful. In these matters instead of going all out for identification of dead bodies, sincere effort on the contrary are made as identification of dead body can bring forth compulsion of registration of case. Similarly, cases of attempt to murder are not registered even when ‘M.L.C.’ of Medical Officers clearly provide evidence of serious injuries on vital parts of victims. Records of M.L.Cs would duly substantiate the above facts.

Worse is to follow. The general public deeply embarrassed and hoodwinked has completely lost its faith in police machinery due to continuous non-registration of cases and odd things done to justify it. The members of public aware of malady of non-registration of cases and insensitive behaviour of police have stopped reporting crime. Shamefully, the highest placed police officer considers it a boon and is rejoicing. We have to understand that because of insensitive behaviour of police, the public has stopped giving information on crime. It is to be realised that non-registration of cases is demolishing base of criminal- justice system…Shockingly, under the present set up, a situation has been created where instead of devising methods and reforms on seeking information on crime, the police refuses to entertain information because of motive of non-registration of case. This leads to destruction of evidence and continuation of crime. It in itself provides freedom to criminals to continue their nefarious designs.

 The members of public are fully aware of callousness on the part of police on registration of cases and have lost their faith in them. They are almost not reporting their pecuniary loss in pick pocketing, thefts, burglaries of even sizeable cash, goods and so on. However, in matters of offence involving motor vehicle and mobile phone they have no option but to inform the police because of fear of misuse of vehicle/mobile by criminals putting onus on them. They hope against hope that perhaps their case may be handled by some sensitive police officer resulting in prompt registration of case for follow-up action. The reporting is also necessary for claiming insurance in matter of vehicles/mobile phone under insurance coverage. They are in for rude shock. They are barefoot of information that the police hate prompt registration of a case, if the complainant is not influential, rich and powerful.

The motor vehicle/mobile phone theft, poses threat of misuse of vehicle by terrorist outfits and hardcore criminals to facilitate crimes of terror against the State, mass killings, dacoity, robbery, rape and so on. However, because of non-registration of case promptly, entire network of police has become redundant.The staff manning Police control room, District Control Rooms, Wireless infrastructure at police stations, barricading, road checking, mobile checking, patrolling and so on created for intercepting the vehicle involved in crime and criminals has no job to do in the absence of prompt furnishing of details of crime to them. The root cause remains intentional and deliberate non-registration of crime. It defeats the purpose for which Crores of rupees have been invested from public exchequer.

The hope of getting back vehicles as abandoned/unclaimed in any part of Delhi prompts the police to ‘wait’ before a case is registered. In the matter of vehicle found abandoned after commission of crime, having insurance coverage of otherwise, loss of important parts of vehicle as also petrol used/stolen is not considered ‘theft’ qualifying for registration of case. The scientific methods of connecting criminals with crime are also not opted in the matters of recovery of abandoned vehicle. Obviously, it has no meaning when case is not registered. The benefit! Crime graph remains very low. The criminals naturally feel obliged. This ‘wait’ for registration of cases with regard to stolen vehicle not found abandoned can extend from 5-6 days to indefinite period. The public having valid insurance on vehicles undergoes unrelenting trauma of running from post to pillar for getting registration of cases, a prerequisite to get the claim. They succeed in their effort if they don’t stop pursuing registration of case, but only after police is sure that the criminals have not abandoned the vehicle. However, the people without insurance, loose their patience early as Insurance amount is not in sight. In most of such cases the information of theft is not considered for registration of cases. Insurance providers on stolen cars mobile phones are smiling. The registration of theft of mobile phone irrespective of insurance coverage or otherwise is an uphill task. Police does not register cases of mobile theft except in exceptional cases. The public has option to lodge a report of ‘missing’ or ‘loss’ of phone not requiring registration of case. Records will show that more than 90 percent missing/loss of mobile phone reports related to theft, snatching, robbery and so on.

 Because of directions on non-registration of cases. now, any one can engage in self-employment in the trade of pick-pocketing, snatching and so on as in the absence of registration of case , there can not be any effort to trace him and he can constantly earn in his chosen illegal trade almost unchecked. Perhaps, the Delhi Police feels that it is necessitated because of social angle to favour economically weak criminals to ensure their livelihood in the face of unemployment.

The record of wireless messages in the shape of ‘Log Books’ relating to information made by public to Police Control Room and action taken by local police will clearly show minimising and burking of crime in its true nature. The records of PCR, District Control Rooms and Police Stations will on the same crime will provide different versions. In most of the cases the Police Control Room confirms commission of cognizable offence but local police does not act in compliance of law to register a case. The record of Police Control will also show complicity of senior police officers in the matter. The Command Room of Police Control Room has officers of the stature of Assistant Commissioner of Police deployed in shifts mainly to apprise the Commissioner of Police, Delhi and Joint Commissioner of Police of concerned Ranges of ground reality on heinous crimes. However, on the spot reports made by officers of local police in these cases are totally different aimed at burking of crime and still deliberately ignored by the Senior Officers. These reports form the basis of follow-up action for non-registration of cases on information disclosing cognizable offence. A study of above record will provide very interesting explanations, twisted facts clearly establishing that process of burking/ minimising of crime is being effectively undertaken by officers of concerned police stations. The senior police officers besides briefings of Police Control Room also have wireless operators exclusively attached with them, round the clock, deputed to continuously inform them on information on crime reported by public and on the sport reports of police officers. Thus they can not claim ignorance. The records of Police Control Room, District Control Rooms and Police Stations and will reflect that about 80 percent of information relating to commission of cognizable offence given to Police Control Room is either burked or if at all registered, is minimised. A team made to examine the informants will definitely confirm it. The study will also reveal that the statements of victims and witnesses are falsely recorded to erase ingredients of crime and facts are twisted for the purpose of burking/ minimising crime. The statement in such cases is invariably recorded by concerned police officers in their own hands and makers of it, unwittingly put their signatures and thus cheated. If a case ultimately registered after minimising the crime is worked out, the victim is told not to depose, as the crime happened to avoid acquittal of accused. If he opts to speak truly, his deposition will contradict maliciously made record by police, resulting in acquittal of accused.

The members of public in majority of cases eager to get quick relief instead of giving information to Police Control Room, visit police stations with information on commission of cognizable offences. A few also send written complaints to police stations and offices of senior police officers by post. They also personally meet senior police officers for redressal of their grievances. The evidence of burking /minimising crime by staff posted at Police Station, senior officers of District and Police Headquarters can’t fully demonstrate the defects as there is no track of victims/informants turned away without recording their visits. However, we can still find plenty of evidence with regard to matters recorded in records of police stations and offices of Senior Police Officers for fixing their responsibility and showing their involvement in burking/minimising crime.

In police stations public is greeted with awful response of Duty Officer who is stationed to register the cases but is expected to delude on this issue because of threat of disciplinary action against him. Surprisingly, he is also made scapegoat and punished for non-registration of case when concerned Officers need to save their own skin and show proof that they are abiding law. The earlier practice of promptly recording of verbatim report of informant in prescribed register of FIR against his signatures has already been discarded. The prevailing practice aimed at burking of crime is to ask the victim to bring written complaint or pen down it on a plain paper at police stations. The Duty Officers or Readers of Station House Officers retains the complaint so obtained. In some cases if pressed, a receipt there of is also given to the complainant with impressions of rubber stamp of concerned police station. However, in majority of cases, the above exercise does not result in registration of cases. The complaints of victims deemed to be without any standing and influence are not diarised, looked into and lost. However, some of written complaints of victims because of nature of crime or vociferous demand of complainants on registration of cases are diarised but this also does not generally result in registration of cases. These complaints are marked to officers of sub-ordinate ranks who pretend making their best efforts to solve the cases. However, in the absence of registration of cases, it is nothing but cheating the victims. The police officers except in exceptional cases keep the complaints pending without registering a case, any time in future. The complaints are diarised in general diary register/ separately made registers of ordinary complaints, urgent complaints, VIP Complaints and so on. The scrutiny of complaints diarised will provide sufficient evidence on discarding of law on registration of case on information disclosing cognizable offence. We can also look for evidence in reports of loss or missing of mobile phones, driving licenses, identity cards, other documents, and so on lodged in daily diary register /Non-Cognizable Reports register. The examination of makers of these reports will reveal that all most all reports recorded as mobile missing related to theft, extortion, robbery and so on disclosing commission of cognizable offence. Similarly, ‘missing/loss’ of other articles also constitute a size able number of cases requiring registration of cases.

The complicity of Senior Officers can be easily traced and fixed in complaints received directly in their respective offices and recorded visits of victims/informants. The complaints showing information disclosing commission of cognizable offences received in these offices generally do not result in registration of cases, bellying law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court. These officers do not react on being informed of trauma faced by public on registration of cases. Instead of acting against the delinquent police officers on not following mandatory provisions of law, they ignore it to facilitate the violation. They exactly know the number of complaints received in their own offices disclosing information as to commission of cognizable offence and total cases registered by the concerned police stations on the complaints of public. The voluminous crime data in different formats, briefings, checking of record of police stations on visits, feed back and complaints from general public in their own offices and so on when compared with cases registered clearly show that concerned senior officers are not ignoramuses but responsible for burking/minimising crime. Their own official record proves it.

We have to realise that burking/minimising cognizable offences result in destruction of evidence in not taking notice thereof. This necessitates registration of a case and prosecution of delinquent police officers for destruction of evidence. In cases where information of cognizable offence is not taken note of resulting in its the continuity, the police officer comes in the ambit of abetment/conspiracy of the offence in addition to destruction of evidence requiring registration of cases in these offences to launch prosecution against them. In the last category we can have two types of cases. In first part come cases not registered resulting in continuity of offence. The second part covers where honest police officers acting in accordance with law are put to illegal action by senior police officers to ensure continuity of offence.

The above observations also give a reasonable explanation as to why the crime in Delhi is increasing, in spite of less number of cases reported in police stations.

Police have already swung into action to produce and further foster this prevalent “Jungle Raj” where the common man is the prey and the rich and influential and police are the predators. It is now totally on the common man now to fend for himself and take urgent steps of awakening.We should understand the fact that our constitution and laws are the best in the world. But, due to legal illiteracy prevailing among citizens across all quarters, the police are capable of frustrating the ends of justice. Schemes and policies of procedural laws ,recognized as a hand made to justice are based on a well known maxim of common law ,viz,”UBI JUS IBI REMEDIUM” which means “where there is a right there is a remedy”, so the whole purpose of law fails ,if there is no mechanism to enforce it. Hence, let’s not sit over our rights and blame the system, remember, law supports only those who are smart, vigilant & aware of their rights. Next time on refusal on the part of a police officer to lodge an FIR on an offence relating to a cognizable offence (for definition and types refer above) and those which are given in the schedule 2 of the criminal procedure code, be aware of the other remedies available to you. If an offence is committed on your or someone else’s property, body etc, ensure that you call the phone number 100 since every information received there is recorded in the PCR(Police Control Room), and it will form a part of the record. Then, you can either file a written complaint to the investigating officer yourself stating the exact account of sequence of events having taken place, or in case if he records your statement, ensure that he pens down the exact version of your dictation without an iota of manipulation from anybody’s end. The Superintendent of Police can be addressed if your complaint is not converted into an FIR, in writing and by post. (procedure in view of section 154(3)). If at all your complaint falls on deaf ears again, simply proceed to the court of the area Metropolitan Magistrate through a private complaint under section 190 (a) or an application under section 156(3) who can the take the cognizance himself to hold an inquiry or direct the police to register the case and investigate the matter. In very rare cases, even if the magistrate refuses to comply with the above proceedings then a writ petition in the High Court (article 226) can be filed or 482(inherent power).


Since this is quite an overview of your legal rights for the common knowledge, I would like to conclude with the following thoughts for you to ponder over. Corruption exists, is taken for granted, even celebrated. India is not truly free because like slaves, we passively accept injustice. Stealing is violence. Passive acceptance of injustice is violence. Disrespect is violence. Laziness is violence. By that token, we unquestioningly accept violence at home, on our streets, in our workplaces and from those in public office and it are us and only us who can change this and make India a better place to live in. True patriotism lies in not just saluting our national flag or standing up for the national anthem, we need to have a purpose in our lives, if not for anyone else, for ourselves and our future generations. You get back what you give.

I’ll look forward to your feedbacks (that’s if you send me any!) as that would definitely make me reaffirm my belief that there are still law abiding and proactive citizens around us. Fill up the feedback section below or simply write to me at prashant.manchanda05@gmail.com

D I S C L A I M E R : Views & information expresssed & shared on this page/section not necessarily reflect those of the site admin/owner.

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