The Madras High Court has refused to pass a blanket order, directing the Tamil Nadu government and the police not to register a First Information Report (FIR) or a chargesheet for offences such as obstructing public servants from discharging their duties.
The first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose recently disposed of a PIL filed by a lawyer called Balaji, seeking a direction to the police not to register an FIR or a chargesheet under Indian penal code (IPC) sections 172 to 188.
In its order, the bench said it was of the view that such blanket orders could not be issued and “certainly not in a public interest litigation”.
Any individual, however, had the alternative of filing a criminal revision application for quashing the proceedings on the ground of breach of the mandatory provisions of law, it added.
IPC sections 172 to 188 deal with offences such as obstructing a public servant in discharging his public functions and disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant, among others.
The petitioner had also sought a direction to the police not to register an FIR on the contention that the offences under the sections were non-cognizable.
Referring to section 195(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the petitioner had contended that it restrained the court from taking cognizance of an offence punishable under sections 172 to 188 of the IPC, unless a complaint in writing was made to it by the public servant concerned.
In other words, the police could not lodge an FIR for such offences, the petitioner had contended.
The police could neither register a case against an offender for an offence punishable under sections 172 to 188 of the IPC nor submit a report under section 173, CrPC, he had added.
Alluding to various cases registered by the Tamil Nadu police under the aforesaid sections, the petitioner had said, “I recently learnt and understood that in Tamil Nadu, police register the FIR and file the final report/chargesheet for an offence under section 172 to 188, IPC.
“More particularly, section 188, IPC, when the law does not permit them.”
Stating that it led to loss of money, manpower and precious time of governments and trial courts, the petitioner had contended that the time had come to put an end to the unlawful proceedings and save public money and the courts’ time.
The bench observed that an appropriate training programme was to be initiated by the Tamil Nadu State Judicial Academy for magistrates in relation to the offences under sections 172 to 188, IPC.
“As far as the police are concerned, they are not even under the general superintendence of the high court. Their actions may be subjected to judicial scrutiny by the court in exercise of its power of judicial review,” it said.
Orders, as prayed for by the petitioner, therefore, could not be granted, the court said.