Provisions for Ex-officio Justice of Peace regarding Registration of FIR

Provisions for Ex-officio Justice of Peace regarding Registration of FIR 22-A, 22-B Cr.PC Case Laws Criminal Law FIR Investigation Justice of Peace Knowledge - Criminal Law Litigation & Arbitration Solutions - Criminal Law Supreme Court Mr. Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik in his seperate note has laid the provisions for Ex-officio Justice of Peace regarding registration of FIR and investigations in Civil Appeals No. 1491 of 2013 etc.

1. I have had the privilege of going through the erudite judgment rendered by my learned brother Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan. While agreeing with the conclusion drawn by his lordship, I am adding following note to attend to certain aspects which are germane to the lis.

2. The past experience of around 14 years (since the insertion of these provisions into the Code of Criminal Procedure) would unmistakeably reveal that these provisions especially Section 22-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, though beneficial and advantageous to the public at large, yet in myriad cases, it has been misused and abused.

3. Once a false criminal case is registered against an individual, it becomes exceedingly difficult for him/her to get rid of it. The time and money which is spent on acquiring a clean chit by way of cancellation of the case or acquittal is not hard to fathom. There is no denying the fact that at times false and frivolous cases are got registered just to humble and harass the opposite party. In such a milieu, powers given to an ex-officio Justice of the Peace under sub-section (6) of Section 22-A, Code of Criminal Procedure, to issue appropriate directions on a complaint filed by an aggrieved person for registration of a criminal case (Clause-i) and for transfer of investigation from one police officer to another (Clause-ii) though efficacious and expeditious besides being at the doorstep, but at the same time, these provisions should not be unbridled or open-ended. These provisions must be defined, structured and its contour delineated to obviate misuse by influential and unscrupulous elements. Therefore:

(i) The ex-officio Justice of the Peace, before issuance of a direction on a complaint for the non-registration of a criminal case under sub-section (6)(i) of section 22-A, Code of Criminal Procedure must satisfy himself that sufficient material is available on the record, such as application to the concerned SHO for registration of the criminal case and on his refusal or reluctance, complaint to the higher police officers i.e. DPO, RPO etc., to show that the aggrieved person, before invoking the powers of ex-officio Justice of the Peace, had recourse to the high ups in the police hierarchy.

(ii) So far as transfer of investigation of a criminal case from one police officer to another police officer is concerned, a complete mechanism has been provided in the Police Order, 2002. However, Clause (ii) of Sub-section (6) of Section 22- A, Code of Criminal Procedure has given power to the exofficio Justice of the Peace to issue appropriate direction to the concerned police authorities for the transfer of investigation of a case from one police officer to another, but it does not prescribe a criterion or mechanism in so many words as to what might be the standard or what reasons should prevail with the ex-officio Justice of the Peace while issuing such a direction. To issue a direction regarding transfer of investigation by ex-officio Justice of the Peace without taking into consideration the attending circumstances of the case may be counter-productive and may defeat the purpose of the mechanism as provided in the Police Order, 2002, thus may result into unnecessary interference with the working of an agency. Therefore, it would be appropriate for the ex-officio Justice of the Peace, before issuance of any direction regarding the change of investigation, to satisfy himself from the available record that the grievance of the aggrieved person (who has filed the application for this purpose) has not been redressed by the Police Officers/authorities as provided in the Police Order, 2002.

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