Prevention Of Corruption Act- An Enquiry At Pre-FIR Stage Is Not Only Permissible But Desirable: Supreme Court

first_imgTop StoriesPrevention Of Corruption Act- An Enquiry At Pre-FIR Stage Is Not Only Permissible But Desirable: Supreme Court LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK24 March 2021 7:22 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court observed that it is permissible to hold discrete/open enquiry, at pre FIR Registration stage in corruption cases.In this case, the High Court dismissed the challenge against a notice issued to the appellant by the Police Inspector, Anti Corruption Bureau, Nagpur, by which the appellant was called upon to give his statement in respect of the properties owned by him, for…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court observed that it is permissible to hold discrete/open enquiry, at pre FIR Registration stage in corruption cases.In this case, the High Court dismissed the challenge against a notice issued to the appellant by the Police Inspector, Anti Corruption Bureau, Nagpur, by which the appellant was called upon to give his statement in respect of the properties owned by him, for the purpose of enquiring the complaint against him, alleging accumulating the assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.In appeal, the bench Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah considered the question whether such an enquiry at pre-FIR stage would be legal and to what extent such an enquiry is permissible? Referring to Lalita Kumari v. Government of Uttar Pradesh (2014) 2 SCC 1., the bench observed thus:Thus, an enquiry at pre-FIR stage is held to be permissible and not only permissible but desirable, more particularly in cases where the allegations are of misconduct of corrupt practice acquiring the assets/properties disproportionate to his known sources of income. After the enquiry/enquiry at pre-registration of FIR stage/preliminary enquiry, if, on the basis of the material collected during such enquiry, it is found that the complaint is vexatious and/or there is no substance at all in the complaint, the FIR shall not be lodged. However, if the material discloses prima facie a commission of the offence alleged, the FIR will be lodged and the criminal proceedings will be put in motion and the further investigation will be carried out in terms of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Therefore, such a preliminary enquiry would be permissible only to ascertain whether cognizable offence is disclosed or not and only thereafter FIR would be registered. Therefore, such a preliminary enquiry would be in the interest of the alleged accused also against whom the complaint is made.The court added that, even at the stage of registering the first information report, the police officer is not required to be satisfied or convinced that a cognizable offence has been committed. “It is enough if the information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence as the information only sets in motion the investigative machinery, with a view to collect all necessary evidence, and thereafter to take action in accordance with law. Therefore, as such, holding such an enquiry, may be discrete/open enquiry, at preregistration of FIR stage in the case of allegation of corrupt practice of accumulating assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, cannot be said to be per se illegal” , it said.Referring to the impugned notice, the bench observed that the information sought therein has a direct connection with the allegations made i.e. accumulating assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. It said:The same cannot be said to be a fishing or roving enquiry. Such a statement cannot be said to be a statement under Section 160 and/or the statement to be recorded during the course of investigation as per the Code of Criminal Procedure. Such a statement even cannot be used against the appellant during the course of trial. Statement of the appellant and the information so received during the course of discrete enquiry shall be only for the purpose to satisfy and find out whether an offence under Section 13(1)(e) of the PC Act, 1988 is disclosed. Such a statement cannot be said to be confessional in character, and as and when and/or if such a statement is considered to be confessional, in that case only, it can be said to be a statement which is self-incriminatory, which can be said to be impermissible in law.While dismissing the appeal, the bench clarified that statement of the appellant on the points mentioned in the impugned notice would be only to satisfy whether a cognizable offence is disclosed or not and so as to enable the appellant to clarify the allegations made against him with respect to accumulation of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income and the same shall not be treated as a confessional statement. Case: Charansingh Vs. State of Maharashtra [CrA 363 OF 2021]Coram: Justices Justices DY Chandrachud and MR ShahCounsel: Sr. Adv Subodh Dharmadhikari, Sr. Adv Raja ThakareCitation: LL 2021 SC 179 Click here to Read/Download JudgmentSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more