Lalita Kumari v. Govt. of U.P. & Ors.

Read this case analysis of a landmark judgement wherein the Apex Court laid down a set of guidelines to be followed while a First Information Report (FIR) is to be registered by police officers under Section 154 of CrPC.
CITATIONW.P. (Crl) No. 68/2008
COURTSupreme Court of India
JUDGES/CORAMJustice P. Sathasivam, Justice B.S. Chauhan, Justice R.R. Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S.A. Bobde


The First Information report is not characterized in the code. Be that as it may, it tends to be said to be a data given to the police first in the purpose of time identifying with a cognizable offense. It is the most punctual report made to the cop with a view to his making a move and based on which examination has started. The inquiry regardless of whether a specific data comprises a first data report relies upon the actualities and conditions of each case. Nevertheless, regardless of whether the data can be said to be a “First Information Report” inside the importance of area 154 of the code is an issue of law.

On account of Ravi Kumar v State of Punjab, the Supreme Court expressed that the main data report is a report giving data of the commission of the cognizable wrongdoing which might be made by the dissension or by the complainant or by some other individual thinking about the commission of such offense. It is expected to set the criminal law in motion. Any data identifying with the commission of a cognizable offense is required to be diminished to composing by the officer responsible for the police headquarters which must be marked by the individual giving it and the substance thereof is required to be gone into the book to be kept by such officer in such shape as the state government may recommend for that sake.


The facts of the case are as follows: One writ appeal, under Article 32 of the Constitution, was recorded by Lalita Kumari (minor) through her father, viz., Shri Bhola Kamat for the issuance of a writ of Habeas Corpus or direction(s) of like nature against the respondents for the security of his minor little girl who had been hijacked. The complaint in the said writ request of was that on 11.05.2008, a composed report was presented by the applicant before the officer responsible for the police headquarters concerned who did not make any move on the equivalent. From there on, when a portrayal to Superintendent of Police was moved, an FIR was enlisted. As per the applicant, much from that point, steps were not taken either to catch the blamed or for the recuperation for the minor young lady.

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The main issue in the case was: Whether or not “a police officer is bound to register a First Information Report (FIR) upon receiving any information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, or the police officer has the power to conduct a “preliminary inquiry” in order to test the veracity of such information before registering the same.

Summary of court decision and judgment

It was held:

  1. Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation.
  2. If the information received does not disclose a cognizable offence but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted only to ascertain whether a cognizable offence is disclosed or not.
  3. If the inquiry discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, the FIR must be registered. In cases where preliminary inquiry ends in closing the complaint, a copy of the entry of such closure must be supplied to the first informant forthwith and not later than one week. It must disclose reasons in brief for closing the complaint and not proceeding further.
  4. The police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering offence if a cognizable offence is disclosed. Action must be taken against erring officers who do not register the FIR if information received by him discloses a cognizable offence.
  5. The scope of preliminary inquiry is not to verify the veracity or otherwise of the information received but only to ascertain whether the information reveals any cognizable offence.
  6. As to what type and in which cases preliminary inquiry is to be conducted will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. The category of cases in which preliminary inquiry may be made are as under:
  • Matrimonial disputes/ family disputes
  • Commercial offences
  • Medical negligence cases
  • Corruption cases
  • Cases where there is abnormal delay/laches in initiating criminal prosecution, for example, over 3 months delay in reporting the matter without satisfactorily explaining the reasons for the delay.
  • The aforesaid are only illustrations and not exhaustive of all conditions which may warrant preliminary inquiry.
  • While ensuring and protecting the rights of the accused and the complainant, a preliminary inquiry should be made time-bound and in any case, it should not exceed 7 days. The fact of such delay and the causes of it must be reflected in the General Diary entry.
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Since the General Diary/Station Diary/Daily Diary is the record of all information received in a police station, we direct that all information relating to cognizable offences, whether resulting in registration of FIR or leading to an inquiry, must be mandatorily and meticulously reflected in the said Diary and the decision to conduct a preliminary inquiry must also be reflected hence the petition was dismissed.


The legitimate command cherished in Section 154(1) is that each data identifying with the commission of a “cognizable offense” (as characterized Under Section 2(c) of the Code) whenever given orally (in which case it is to be decreased into composing) or in writing to “an officer in charge of a police headquarters” (inside the significance of Section 2(o) of the Code) and marked by the witness ought to be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such frame as the State Government may endorse which shape is regularly called as “First Information Report” and which demonstration of entering the data in the said frame is known as enrolment of wrongdoing or a case.

At the phase of enrolment of wrongdoing or a case based on the data unveiling a cognizable offense in consistence with the command of Section 154(1) of the Code, the concerned cop can’t leave upon a request regarding whether the data, laid by the witness is dependable and authentic or generally and decline to enlist a case on the ground that the data isn’t solid or trustworthy. Then again, the officer responsible for a police headquarters is statutorily obliged to enroll a case and after that to continue with the examination on the off chance that he has the motivation to associate the commission with an offense which he is enabled under Section 156 of the Code to explore, subject to the stipulation to Section 157.

In Section 154(1) of the Code, the governing body in its aggregate knowledge has cautiously and mindfully utilized the articulation “data” without qualifying equivalent to in Section 41(1)(a) or (g) of the Code wherein the articulations, “sensible grievance” and “solid data” are used. Evidently, the non-capability of “data” in Section 154(1) not at all like in Section 41(1)(a) and (g) of the Code might be for the reason that the cop ought not to decline to record a data identifying with the commission of a cognizable offense and to enlist a case consequently on the ground that he isn’t happy with the sensibility or validity of the data. As such, “sensibility” or “believability” of the said data isn’t a condition point of reference for the enrolment of a case.

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A correlation of the present Section 154 with those of the prior Codes will demonstrate that the governing body had deliberately thought it fit to utilize just “data” without qualifying the said word. Area 139 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1861 (Act 25 of 1861) gone by the Legislative Council of India read that “each protest or data” wanted to an officer accountable for a police headquarters ought to be diminished into composing which arrangement was thusly altered by Section 112 of the Code of 1872 (Act 10 of 1872) which from that point read that “each grievance” liked to an officer responsible for a police headquarters will be decreased in composing. “Complaint” which happened in past two Codes of 1861 and 1872 was erased and in that put “data” was utilized in the Codes of 1882 and 1898 which word is currently utilized in Sections 154, 155, 157 and 190(c) of the present Code of 1973 (Act 2 of 1974). A general perusing of the considerable number of Codes clarifies that the condition which is sine qua non for chronicle a first data report is that there must be data and that data must uncover a cognizable offense. Therefore, if any data uncovering a cognizable offense is driven before an officer responsible for the police headquarters fulfilling the necessity of Section 154(1), the said cop has no other alternative but to enter the substance thereof in the endorsed shape, in other words, to enroll a case based on such data.


In this manner, in the perspective of different counter cases with respect to enlistment or non-enrollment, what is fundamental is just that the data given to the police must unveil the commission of a cognizable offense. In such a circumstance, the enlistment of an FIR is obligatory. Be that as it may, in the event that no cognizable offense is made out in the data given, the FIR require not to be enrolled quickly and maybe the police can lead a kind of primer check or request for the restricted reason for finding out concerning whether a cognizable offense has been submitted. Nevertheless, if the data given obviously makes reference to the commission of a cognizable offense, there is no other alternative yet to enroll an FIR forthwith. Different contemplations are not applicable at the phase of enrolment of FIR, for example, regardless of whether the data is erroneously given, whether the data is authentic, whether the data is tenable, and so forth.