Handling a false FIR can be a nightmare for a person. In present circumstances, many cases arise where people lodge false FIRs to harass the opposite party. In this article, we have mentioned various remedies by way of which a false FIR can be handled. Before discussing the remedy, first, let's talk about what is an FIR?.
What is an FIR?
First Information Report or FIR is the first and foremost document that is prepared before criminal proceedings are initiated against the accused under section 154 (1) (x) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc), 1973. It is a complaint lodged with the police by the victim when a cognizable offense (list of which are mentioned in Schedule I of the CrPC) arises against him/her. A victim or someone on his/her behalf can file an FIR at the concerned police station. It is considered to be an important document as it sets the process of criminal justice in motion.
However, there are several cases where false FIRs are filed against a person or group of persons just to harass or falsely implicate them in a false case.
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Identifying a false FIR
it is crucial to identify a false FIR and handle it properly to avoid any adverse consequences. Here are some key factors to consider when identifying a false FIR
- Motive: False FIRs are usually filed with malicious intent, such as to settle personal scores, seek revenge or extort money.
- Lack of evidence: False FIRs often lack concrete evidence or witnesses.
- Political or social pressure: False FIRs can be filed under political or social pressure, especially in high-profile cases.
- Incorrect Statements: A false FIR can contain incorrect or mismatched facts that do not align with the actual events.
Remedies against a false FIR
When a person feels that a false FIR has been lodged against him/her, he or she can resort to the below-mentioned remedies:
A person against whom a false FIR has been lodged can apply for Anticipatory Bail before the arrest, before the Sessions Court, or the High Court under Section 438 of the Code of the Criminal Procedure, 1973. Anticipatory Bail allows an accused to apply for bail in case of a cognizable offense whenever there is an anticipation of arrest. About its objective, this section protects a person from facing false arrest and harassment that might come along with a false FIR. Before granting anticipatory bail, the court takes into consideration all the factors associated with the case. Then it is at their discretion to decide whether to grant the bail or not.
However, this remedy can be availed only before the arrest; once an arrest has been made, the victim can seek relief under Section 437 or 439 of the CrPC.
After the arrest has been made, the victim can apply to quash the FIR filed against him under Section 482 of the CrPC before the High Court.
Section 482 of the CrPC allows High Court to pass any order which is necessary to prevent abuse of process of courts or to secure ends of justice to the people.
Grounds on which a victim can claim relief under Section 482:
False FIRs can have serious implications on an individual's reputation and legal standing. If an FIR is lodged based on an act or omission that does not account for an offense, if the event on which the FIR is based did not happen, or if the allegations are baseless without any reasonable grounds, it can be identified as a false FIR. In such cases, it is crucial to take the necessary legal steps to clear one's name and avoid wrongful conviction.
Here are the stages at which an application under Section 482 of the CrPC can be filed to deal with a false FIR:
Before filing the chargesheet: If the FIR is against the Principle of Natural Justice and could cause wrongful conviction to the accused, the victim can file an application before the High Court for quashing the FIR.
After filing the chargesheet: If a charge sheet has been filed based on a fabricated and false FIR, the accused can file a Discharge Application under Section 227 of the CrPC before the commencement of the trial. The grounds for such an application can be the lack of Prima Facie evidence, insufficiency and unavailability of evidence on record, or the inadmissibility of evidence as per the provisions of the Indian Evidence Act.
After the commencement of the trial: If the Sessions Court rejects the Discharge Application, an application under Section 232 of the CrPC can be made for the acquittal of the accused.
Writ Petitions that would provide a remedy against a false FIR
One of the most resorted remedies against a false FIR is to file a writ petition before the High Court under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. Here, the High Courts again have the power to quash it if it does injustice to any person. The two writs that can be filed in this case are:-
• Writ of Mandamus - This writ can be filed particularly against a police officer or the police department that has lodged the false FIR directing them to perform their duties lawfully.
• Writ of Prohibition - By filing this writ, a prohibition order can be obtained from the High Court to a Subordinate Court where the trial of the victim is going on based upon the frivolous FIR.
Usually, a false FIR is lodged against a person to defame the person. The attempt to defame the person clearly shows the malicious intention of the person lodging the complaint reason being enmity or personal grudges against them. In such cases, victims suffer humiliation and shame in society costing him/her reputation loss.
A civil suit can be filed under Section 19 of the CrPC to get compensation for the damage suffered by the false complaint. Criminal defamation is defined under Section 499, read with Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
The punishment for defaming a person would be imprisonment for up to two years or a fine or both.
Punishment for filing a false FIR
The punishment for filing a false FIR in India is mentioned under Section 182 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). This section deals with the offense of giving false information to a public servant.
Certainly, here is a list of punishments for filing a false FIR in India:
- Imprisonment for a term which may extend up to six months
- A fine which may extend up to one thousand rupees
- Both imprisonment and fine
- Payment of compensation to the person against whom the FIR was filed in case of malice or ulterior motives.
As we know, the law is made to protect our rights, but many times people misuse it for their advantage resulting in the misery of others. With the increasing number of cases, it has become necessary to be aware of the remedies available if false FIR is lodged against any person.
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Author: Papiha Ghoshal