Aditi Kumari, Galgotias University
A provision from which a victim may take advantage of as an opportunity to seek legal action is discussed here in a simple manner.
Initiatives that can be taken by a victim- A person being victimised for some offence may seek legal action in more than one way. What would a person do if his FIR is not registered by the Police officer? What would a person do if he wants to approach the court? Are there any legal procedures or guidelines set out in the statutes to follow for approaching the court or magistrate? Let's get more knowledgeable about it.
After the commission of the offence- A healthy legal system has been established in the nation long ago and is effectively implemented as well. But as a matter of control over the laws and actions of people and maintaining discipline the old privy systems have been replaced with the new court system. Courts are heard by the judges who have various inherent powers and duties at the same time. The whole structure of a crime and its remedies have been codified. Such as on commission of any crime it is obvious to reach the nearby police station and file an FIR as per the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure. Similarly, for the legal remedy, the person is supposed to file a petition in the court of correct jurisdiction. It can be said that police are the face of protection and court is the face of justice in society. Altogether their duties lie on the stairs of the statutes.
Steps to be taken by the victim- A person as a victim either may go to the police station or to the court. The present law says the victim is suggested to reach the nearby police station immediately after the commission of a crime. If not immediately then as soon as possible. Well everybody must have been knowing that police stations are open all the time just to serve the countrymen. This is suggested to the victim as it would perhaps be the nearest place where the victim can get initial aid. Earlier there were no smartphones which led to the idea of physically appearing in the nearby police station and filing FIR in writing that is mentioned in section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Now the time has changed and a person if feels needed may call the police first at the place of occurrence. A place of occurrence is a place where the crime is committed. Though there can be a situation where FIR fails to get filed due to any reason like if the police in charge of the police station find the case not of very serious nature to get investigated for. The subsequent question would probably be is there any other option to take legal actions. It's a yes! As it is stairs of law we always have an above step to take. If a person (victim) due to some reasons fails to file an FIR in his nearby police station he may further move to the Superintendent of Police of that area. The superintendent would have to hear the victim and acknowledge the circumstances as well. If he feels the status of the case to be serious in nature he may take the case into his consideration. If he considers the case he may order the subordinate officers to do further investigations. If not taken into consideration then again the question arises for further steps. The furthermore step to be taken by a victim could be to go to the magistrate. It is mentioned under subsection 3 of section 156 Code of Criminal Procedure that a person can reach the magistrate of the jurisdiction to hear the same. Now if the magistrate feels the matter to be a serious one he may order the police officers to file FIR and start their investigation. This provision is nothing but acts as a legal weapon to the victim. It must be kept in mind the victim has to send an application to the magistrate explaining the circumstances along with the backstories of the not registered FIR and evaluations made by the superintendent of police. The provision comes into action when the rest of the ways remain useless to the victim. If a person refers to the bare language of the provision, he will find about 15 words there which seems to be an easy and simple provision, but this simple provision made up of 14-15 words actually constitute a profound and broad meaning.
Section 156(3) CrPC- the provision in a simple manner empowers the magistrate to order an investigation in a matter which he believes to be serious in nature and have not been either reported in FIR diary or been investigated.
The broader application of the provision could help a victim a lot as it provides a chance to raise their voice when he gets disappointed with the police services.
Judicial views and opinions to the cases filed under section 156(3) CrPC- An explanation of provision proves to be more fruitful when is described with real examples of cases. This would tell a lot about the application and use of the provision.
Pranati v State of West Bengal- In this case, the petitioner accused her inlaws of rape, grievous hurt and forceful termination of her pregnancy. The magistrate first accepted the application of the petitioner under section 156(3) of criminal procedure code and ordered an investigation to the same. Later on, he rejected the entire petition as it did not found to be a case of rape. Petitioner followed these approaches to the High Court where the court found the case to be a judicial error. The court explained its view as there was a fault made by the magistrate while rejecting the whole petition. Furthermore, the court directed the magistrate to consider the petition.
Sakari Vasu vs the State Of U.P. And Others- In the following case, the court explained the right use of section 156(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure. The court delivered the guidelines as if a person's FIR is not being registered by the police in charge of the police station he may send an application to the Superintendent of police. If still, he does not get the satisfactory results he may further make an application to the concerned magistrate under the same section. The magistrate shall then acknowledge the case and direct the FIR and investigations needed there.
The only intention of the lawmakers behind this section is to provide the poor victims with a chance to get justice.