According to this recent news, Jaipur police had found over 4206 false/fake cases within one year alone in 2015-16.
JAIPUR: The Jaipur police have found that 4,206 fake caseswere reported in Jaipur between 2015-16. In most cases, a false complaint was filed with an aim to extort money or defame a person to settle personal scores.
According to a senior police officer, these fake cases included allegations of harassment for dowry, molestation, cheating, and rape. These startling figures surfaces when Prafull Kumar, additional commissioner police (First) asked all DCP offices to provide details about cases where final report (FR) was found to be false.
What is false case from point of view of police?: A B-Final report filed after investigation instead of charge-sheet to court for further trial of accused. Basically the case gets closed after investigation due to it being considered non-worthy for trial, or outright false. The report is filed as per procedure under CrPC 173.
The number of false cases being 4206 is huge for a single city in a single year. The reason seems to be proactive approach of Rajasthan police in registering all cases:
A senior official said that filing FIR in Rajasthan is not an arduous procedure unlike in states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. “Rajasthan police immediately registers the FIR in cases related to rape, sexual harassment, molestation and dowry demand, which is a good step. But during subsequent investigation, we found the allegations were made merely to implicate a person in cases in order to extort money,” cops said.
Being proactive in registering FIR is not a bad thing, provided police is proactive in prosecuting those who file these false cases, too. That is where a major shift seems to be happening, police has been directed to prosecute the complainants under IPC 182.
“We have directed all DCPs to file a legal case against people involved in filing false case under Section 182 (IPC),” Kumar told TOI.
IPC 182 is reproduced below:
Section 182. False information, with intent to cause public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person
182. False information, with intent to cause public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person.— Whoever gives to any public servant any information which he knows or believes to be false, intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause, such public servant—
(a) to do or omit anything which such public servant ought not to do or omit if the true state of facts respecting which such information is given were known by him, or
(b) to use the lawful power of such public servant to the injury or annoyance of any person,
shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
(a) A informs a Magistrate that Z, a police-officer, subordinate to such Magistrate, has been guilty of neglect of duty or misconduct, knowing such information to be false, and knowing it to be likely that the information will cause the Magistrate to dismiss Z. A has committed the offence defined in this section.
(b) A falsely informs a public servant that Z has contraband salt in a secret place knowing such information to be false, and knowing that it is likely that the consequence of the information will be a search of Z’s premises, attended with annoyance to Z. A has committed the offence defined in this section.
(c) A falsely informs a policeman that he has been assaulted and robbed in the neighbourhood of a particular village. He does not mention the name of any person as one of his assistants, but knows it to be likely that in consequence of this information the police will make enquiries and institute searches in the village to the annoyance of the villages or some of them. A has committed an offence under this section.
Note that clause 182(a) does not even need some harm or annoyance to have been caused to accused etc. That is part of clause clause 182(b).
This means police can take up complaint against a false case complainant even if no annoyance or harm has been caused to anyone accused in the complaint.
The only problem with IPC 182 is that only police can initiate a prosecution under that section. Accused cannot initiate it as part of a legal procedure.
#ZeroTolerance4FalseCases: Why prosecuting under IPC 182 is the first basic step?
Since the various government agencies including law enforcement, corporates etc are from time to time stating about their “zero tolerance for crimes against women, sexual harassment”, and so on; maybe it’s time to start the other part of the same campaign: #ZeroTolerance4FalseCases (with hashtag).
Here are some possibilities how things will pan out:
- State police all over India will be filing more and more FIRs based on complaints, instead of turning people away. That is how police in a civilized/democratic country is supposed to work, and it has to get to that level over a period of time. Or we will remain a democratic country on paper with little to show on ground. Let’s go with the optimistic scenario. Filing of FIRs is the stated goal of Supreme Court, high courts, politicians, police themselves, and is already happening to a large extent in crimes against women cases at least. The workload on police will increase.
- Since many people want to take advantage of laxity in false case prosecution, they will file false cases for purpose of extorting money, humiliating someone etc. That has already been happening, that’s how this site gets so many readers daily!
- The workload on police will be more due to these false cases. Since they divert their time and effort in investigating the false cases, their time and effort from pursuing other duties is reduced. Which would lead to dissatisfaction in public, and complaints against police.
- As of now the broad attitude of police is that “our job is to file FIRs”, and let truth be found in the criminal court trial. That leads to low conviction rate, and again some blame is put on police, but as of now there is no major uproar in public since most Indian government agencies are adept in the art of finger pointing the root cause to some other department, and the public is also used to all those excuses. So for example, in case of poor conviction rates, police can lay blame on lack of manpower (manpower because we are ‘patriarchal’ ), bad prosecution by public prosecutor, delays in courts due to which witnesses forget or don’t come to trial after many years, and so on. The Supreme Court has already issued some advisory on putting onus on police for low conviction rates, that will be part of a separate article about #ZeroTolerance4FalseCases.
- It is in interest of public to let all complaints be taken as FIR, and then the false ones be weeded out as B final reports. The ones which get to charge-sheet and then trial, should have high conviction rates. The high conviction rates shouldn’t be secured by convicting all the poor/illiterate accused without good defence lawyer, but that is a separate topic by itself.
- To avoid wasting time and effort as well escape from bad publicity, police will be forced to prosecute false cases in future. Because if they create a charge-sheet instead of B final report, it will lead to lower conviction rates due to BOTH false cases leading to zero conviction, and even true cases leading to low conviction because police had wasted time and effort on investigating false cases and creating dubious charge-sheets, so the quality of investigation on true complaints will be poor. These poor quality charge-sheets will not stand in court.
- So if police will be forced to prosecute false cases in future, then it is duty of public to bring that future forward as soon as possible.
Send RTI to police about false cases and number of prosecutions under IPC 182
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The simple way this process can be triggered in all States’ police (and not just Jaipur), is to file RTI to PIO (Public Information Officer under RTI Act) of local police station, or PIO of city, region police departments asking about number of B/false final reports, and also how many of these were prosecuted under IPC 182. The data can be asked for last year or last 3 years.
To find PIO to which RTI has to be sent, one can try google search with “<city> police RTI”, and doing that one can often get the direct link to RTI and PIO related information of the city’s police. E.g. following page is first result for “Bangalore police RTI”
For “Jaipur police RTI”, the 4th result in google search results gives the right information about filing RTI to police in all cities in Rajasthan including Jaipur:
It’s not that difficult to find information about PIOs in police, and in case of doubts one can call their numbers too on website to confirm the details like address to send the RTI too.