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Chungtia violence: HC orders Mokokchung police to register regular case and probe incident

Gauhati High Corut Kohima Bench

DIMAPUR, MARCH 6: After pulling up the Officer-in-Charge of Police Station-II in Mokokchung for violating Supreme Court guidelines, the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court has directed the officer to register the FIR lodged in July 2022 by a man as a regular police station case and conduct an investigation into the alleged incident of physical abuse inflicted upon the petitioner by a group of persons numbering 20 to 30.
As reported by Nagaland Page on August 27, 2022, the victim, Imkongkumzuk, had filed a criminal leave petition against the Superintendent of Police (SP), Mokokchung, and said Officer-in-Charge for their alleged inaction on an FIR he had filed on July 10, 2022.
“As in the instant case, the written information dated July 10, 2022 submitted by the petitioner did disclose the commission of cognisable offence and also disclosed the name of some of the alleged offenders, the respondent No. 3 (OC) is legally bound to register the said FIR and register the regular police station case and conduct the investigation as per law and take it to its logical conclusion according to the provisions of law.
“Therefore, the respondent No. 3 is hereby directed to register the FIR lodged by the petitioner on July 10, 2022 as a regular police station case and conduct the investigation in accordance with law and take it to its logical conclusion”, stated an order passed by Justice Mridul Kumar Kalita on March 5.
The petitioner, a Havildar in Nagaland Police, submitted that he had obtained 8 days of leave in July 2022 to visit his aged father at Chungtia village in Mokokchung district.
“On July 9, 2022, while the petitioner was sleeping at his aunt’s place, a group of 20 to 30 men belonging to a self-styled political party, namely, Senso Party, Chungtia, came inside the residence of the aunt of the petitioner at around 10.30 p.m. to 11 p.m. and physically assaulted the petitioner without any rhyme or reason.
“The intruders also threatened the petitioner to leave the village the next day before 8 a.m.”, the order stated.
A day after the incident, on July 10, 2022, the petitioner filed a complaint before the OC of PS-II narrating the whole incident and requesting to take appropriate steps according to law.
“It is also stated by the petitioner that after submitting the said FIR the statement of the petitioner was recorded by the police on July 13, 2022 and on July 25, 2022, the accused persons were summoned to appear before the police on July 26, 2022.
“However, the FIR lodged by the present petitioner was not registered by the police even after lapse of 15 days of filing of the same, therefore, on July 26, 2022, the petitioner made an application before the Superintendent of Police, Mokokchung, requesting the Superintendent of Police to take steps under the provisions of Section 154 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973”, it stated.
In the meanwhile, on July 27, 2022, the Chungtia Village Council wrote a letter to the petitioner directing him to withdraw the complaint before the OC. And Mokokchung Police did not register the FIR.
During the hearing, the petitioner’s Counsel submitted that the police had acted in connivance with the accused persons and waited until “a false FIR” was filed against the petitioner by some persons from Chungtia Village.
In his ruling, Justice Kalita observed that the petitioner’s complaint dated July 10, 2022 had categorically mentioned that the previous night “around 20 to 30 persons in a group led by Mr. Moayanger” came his aunt’s place “and beat them up without any rhyme or reason and threatened the petitioner to leave the village before 8 a.m. or to face dire consequences”.
“A bare perusal of the contents of the FIR shows that the accused persons trespassed into the house of the aunt of the petitioner in the night and assaulted the petitioner and his friends which itself constitutes a cognisable offence and it also appears that the written complaint/information filed by the petitioner not only discloses the commission of cognisable offence, but also names some of the alleged offenders out of the 20 to 30 persons, who are alleged to have trespassed into the residence of the aunt of the petitioner and assaulted him”, he stated in the order.
Citing guidelines, laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of “Lalita Kumari v. State of Uttar Pradesh and others” (supra), the Judge pointed out that in cases of cognisable offence, no preliminary inquiry is permissible.
“Under such circumstances, the Officer-In-Charge of Police Station II, Mokokchung, (respondent No. 3) has violated the guideline of the Apex Court in laid down in the case of “Lalita Kumari v. State of Uttar Pradesh and others” (supra), by merely making General Diary entry No.3/2022 and by not registering a regular police station case and after registering the FIR”, he ruled.
If the written FIR discloses a cognisable offence, the Officer-in-Charge cannot initiate a preliminary inquiry, “at his own sweet will”, to verify the veracity or otherwise of the information without registering it and without registering a regular police station case, he said.
“It is only after registering the FIR, during the course of investigation, the veracity of the truth or otherwise of the content of the FIR may be found out and accordingly either the final report or the charge-sheet may be laid before a Magistrate empowered to take cognisance of the offence on a police report”, the order stated.
(Page News Service)