Two FIRs for same offence abuse of law: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Two FIRs for same offence abuse of law: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, May 2

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that two FIRs — one for theft and another after the recovery of stolen goods — at separate places could not be registered as the second FIR for the same offence was an abuse of the process of law.

The assertion by Justice Jasjit Singh Bedi came in a case where the first FIR was registered for a theft on December 6, 2015, under Section 379 of the IPC at the Sector 19 police station in Panchkula after a scooter was found missing. The second FIR in the matter was registered on December 18, 2015, under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC at the Mani Majra police station after a barricade was put up on secret information and two accused were caught and arrested.

Justice Bedi observed that the petitioner and his co-accused were convicted in the first FIR for committing offences under Sections 411 and 34 of the IPC by the court of the Panchkula Judicial Magistrate First Class in May 2017. Against the judgment of conviction, the accused preferred an appeal and were acquitted by the Panchkula Additional District and Sessions Judge vide a judgment, dated August 29, 2017.

Justice Bedi also took note of the counsel’s contentions that the second FIR was nothing but an abuse of the process of the court as the first FIR stood registered under identical Sections.

Referring to a plethora of judgments, Justice Bedi asserted that a perusal of the same would show that “the test of ‘sameness’ is to be applied to find out whether both FIRs, relating to the same incident and to the same occurrence, are with regard to incidents which are two or more parts of the same transaction or relate completely to two distinct occurrences”.

Justice Bedi added that the judgments showed that a second FIR for the same offence/occurrence/incident was not maintainable. One of the exceptions to the principle was two rival versions for the same episode In such a case, the versions would ordinarily take the shape of two different FIRs and the investigation could be carried out under both of these by the same investigating agency.

Quashing the second FIR, Justice Bedi added that the application of the test of ‘sameness’ showed that the FIR at Panchkula pertained to an offence of theft under Section 379 of the IPC and the challan was submitted under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC. The scooter was recovered in Chandigarh and the FIR was registered under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC. As such, both FIRs/occurrences pertained to one incident/occurrence of theft. It could, rather, be said that there were two incidents which were part of the same transaction — theft in Panchkula and consequent recovery in Chandigarh. Therefore, it was clear that both these FIRs were virtually identical or ‘same’.

The case

The assertion by Justice Jasjit Singh Bedi came in a case where the first FIR was registered for a theft on December 6, 2015, under Section 379 of the IPC at the Sector 19 police station in Panchkula after a scooter was found missing. The second FIR in the matter was registered on December 18, 2015, under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC at the Mani Majra police station after a barricade was put up on secret information and two accused were caught and arrested.

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