False FIR -An Overview
Before understanding the term “False FIR” let’s understand the meaning of the word “false” under the law. The dictionary meaning of word “false” means that which is in essence, incorrect, or purposefully untrue, deceitful etc. Thus, the word “false”, is used to cover only unlawful falsehood. It means something that is dishonest, untrue and deceitful and implies an intention to perpetrate some treachery or fraud.
The question is how to deal with a false FIR?
Steps You May take In Case of A False FIR:
1. Apply for an Anticipatory Bail:
If a false FIR has been registered for non-bailable offences, in that the first and foremost step which the accused must take is to seek Anticipatory Bail from the Sessions Court or the High Court otherwise their reputation in society may be irreparably tarnished.
2. Apply for Regular Bail:
In the event, the accused is unable to avail anticipatory bail and is arrested, in that case, the Accused must seek regular bail under Sec.437 or Section 439 of Cr. P.C.
3. File a Quashing Petition:
High Court can exercise its powers under Section 482 Cr.PC to quash a false FIR where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.
‘Malice’ consists of a conscious violation of the law to the prejudice of another whereas Mala fides is a deliberate act in disregard of the rights of others. It is a wrongful act done intentionally without just cause or excuse. Vexatious means harassment by the process of law’, ‘lacking justification’ or with ‘intention to harass’. It signifies an action not having sufficient grounds, and which, therefore, only seeks to annoy the adversary.
It has been held by the Supreme Court of India that High Court while dealing with an application for quashing of an FIR can follow the following steps:
Step one, whether the material relied upon by the accused is sound, reasonable, and indubitable,i.e., the material is of sterling and impeccable quality?
Step two, whether the material relied upon by the accused, would rule out the assertions contained in the charges levelled against the accused,i.e., the material is sufficient to reject and overrule the factual assertions contained in the complaint, i.e., the material is such, as would persuade a reasonable person to dismiss and condemn the factual basis of the accusations as false.
Step three, whether the material relied upon by the accused, has not been refuted by the prosecution/complainant; and/or the material is such, that it cannot be justifiably refuted by the prosecution/complainant?
Step four, whether proceeding with the trial would result in an abuse of process of the court, and would not serve the ends of justice?
If the answer to all the steps is in the affirmative, judicial conscience of the High Court should persuade it to quash such criminal proceedings, in the exercise of the power vested in it under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Such exercise of power, besides doing justice to the accused, would save precious court time, which would otherwise be wasted in holding such a trial (as well as, proceedings arising therefrom), especially when, it is clear that the same would not conclude in the conviction of the accused.
Punishment for false FIR:
Furnishing false information to a police officer is a punishable offence as per Sec. 182 of the Indian Penal Code and is punishable with imprisonment up to six months.
Further making a false charge against a person is also punishable as per Sec. 211 of the Indian Penal Code.
Criminal Defamation under Section 499 IPC read with Section 500 IPC:
Apart from the above remedies, the person against whom a false FIR was registered, he or she can institute a case for defamation against the person who falsely implicated him/her.
Not Proved vs False:
There is a difference between the terms ‘not proved’ and ‘false’. Merely because a party is unable to prove a fact, the same cannot be categorized as false in each and every case.
False FIR which is often filed to pressurize innocent persons so that they succumb to certain illegal demands is crippling the justice system. There are sufficient safeguards in the legal system to fight against false FIR.
About the author:
Gaurav Sharma is the founder of Easy Kanoon. To know more about legal remedies in case of a false FIR, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image Source: Freepik.com