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What’s Lalita Kumari case? SC verdict judge Muralidhar held up as model for Delhi Police

Justice Muralidhar had said the Delhi Police should be guided by the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Lalita Kumari case and go strictly by the mandate of the law.

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday saw a gripping exchange of conversation between Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Justice S. Muralidhar.

The high court was hearing a petition filed by activist Harsh Mander, demanding an SIT probe into the communal riots that erupted in Northeast Delhi on 23 February and continued for the next two days, and filing of FIR against BJP leaders Parvesh Verma, Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra and others for making ‘inflammatory’ speeches.

During the hearing, Justice Muralidhar came down heavily on the authorities and said that “the police should be guided by the judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Lalita Kumari versus Govt of UP and others case and go strictly by the mandate of the law”.

On Thursday, when the case was taken up by a different bench of the high court, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing Mander, also relied heavily on the 2013 Lalita Kumari case to present his arguments.

While the case will next be heard in April, ThePrint explains what the judgment in Lalita Kumari case stated.

Also read: IB officer Ankit Sharma’s death case of ‘targeted killing’, AAP’s Tahir Hussain named in FIR

Who was Lalita Kumari? 

Lalita Kumari was a minor girl who was kidnapped, following which her father, Bhola Kamat, filed a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court. 

He alleged that even though he had submitted a written report to the officer-in-charge of the police station concerned, no action was taken. An FIR was filed only after the matter reached the superintendent of police.

While hearing the case, the top court noticed disparity in registration of FIRs on a case to case basis across the country after it issued notice to the central and state governments.

A three-judge bench of the court then came across contradictory judgments on whether a police officer is bound to register an FIR when he is informed of the commission of a cognisable offence under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

A cognisable offence is one where the police can make an arrest without a warrant. These include offences such as murder, rape, dowry death, kidnapping, etc. Section 154 of the CrPC lays down the manner in which information received on commission of cognisable offences needs to be treated.

The question on the mandatory registration of FIR was then referred to a 5-judge bench.

‘Police officers cannot avoid their duty’

Answering the question in the affirmative, the Supreme Court in the Lalita Kumari case framed eight guidelines to be followed by the police. 

The bench ruled that registration of an FIR is mandatory under Section 154 CrPC if the information received by the police discloses commission of a cognisable offence. No preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation, it said.

“The police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering offence if cognisable offence is disclosed. Action must be taken against erring officers who do not register the FIR if information received by him discloses a cognisable offence,” the court had observed. 

As to the cases in which preliminary inquiry may be conducted, the court said this would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. The court also provided an illustrative list of such cases, which included matrimonial/family disputes, commercial offences, medical negligence cases, corruption cases and cases where there was a delay in initiating a criminal case. 

The court also ordered that in any case, a preliminary inquiry should be initiated within 7 days. This was modified in March 2014, increasing the time limit to 15 days in normal cases and six weeks in exceptional cases. 

Also read: Can’t allow another 1984: Delhi HC orders burials with ‘dignity’, shelters for riot victims


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  1. The situation is different in this case. Police is strugling to first bring order in the city.

  2. Police may be wrong in many cases. But atleast sometimes they are doing their duty honestly. In the present situation everyone is looking for someone to blame, now it is police. Unfortunately they also become the victims. If a patient dies you blame the doctor. If some crime takes place you blame the police, the government, an so on it goes

  3. प्रबुद्ध पाठकों , अपने विचार लिखने से पहले हम यह स्पष्ट कर देना जनहित और देश हित में जरूरी समझते हैं कि ,ये , समसामयिक घटनाचक्र और विगत की घटनाओं को देखते हुए हैं ,नकि किसी दुर्भावना से ।

    तारिख पे तारिख। का डायलॉग आज के न्यायालय के सिस्टम की असलियत बयान करता है ।अगर आप किसी न्यायाधीश के लिये कुछ कहने का प्रयास करेंगे तो उसे ,,, अवमानना,,,समझ लिया जाता है ।भारत का नागरिक अपने राष्ट्रपति से सवाल कर सकता है तो न्यायाधीश से क्यों नहीं?क्या सब न्यायाधीश दूध के धुले हुए हैं?क्या वो राजनैतिक दबाव , अंडरवर्ल्ड डॉन के दबाव , धार्मिक संगठनों के दबाव ,एन जी ओ के दबाव और न जाने कितने का दबाव के नीचे काम नहीं करते ,? सत्य है कि करते हैं । अपने और परिवार के स्वार्थ के चलते। जज मूरलीधर की पत्नी अर्बन नक्सल,,नवलखा के एनजीओ से संलग्न है,इसके अलावा और भी विवादित एन जी ओ है जिनका उनसे सीधे सम्पर्क है ।,,गौतम नवलखा के मामले को जज मुरली धर ने जिस तरह हैंडल किया ,वह सोचनीय है ।इसके अतिरिक्त राजनैतिक दबाव उन पर हमेशा हावी रहा है ।इसके भी साक्ष्य है ।यहां एक बात पर ध्यान केंद्रित करें,इन्हें सु्प्रीम कोर्ट की कालेजियम ने 12 __2___2020 को पंजाब हाइकोर्ट में इनकी फालतू उछल-कूद की बजह से कर दिया ,फिर भी कुर्सी छोड़ कर राजी नहीं ,बार कौंसिल और एक राजनैतिक दल से लोबिग क्या रहे हैं कि दिल्ली से न जाना पड़े ।कारण बहुत से है जब घड़ा भर कर फूटेगा तो इन्हें और इनकी पत्नी को अपने कर्म फल भुगतने पड़ेंगे।
    आखरी कोशिश मीडिया से लाबिंग की गयी ,जिसमें बहुत सयाने मीडिया घरानों ने बहुत से अनर्गल सवाल खड़े किए।
    अनुशासन के मानने वाले जज का स्थानांतरण हो गया था तो उनको सु्प्रीम कोर्ट का आदेश मानना चाहिए था ।कुछ ग़लत था तो रिएडरेसल की संस्था गत व्यवस्था है ।आप तो चोरी और सीनाजोरी की कहावत को चरितार्थ कर रहे हैं पूरे चौदह साल दिल्ली की कुर्सी पर ऐसे चिपक गये कि जाने के भी बहाने ।हद है ,इनकी और इनके पुश्त पनाही करने वालों की ।

    धन्यवाद ,हमें उम्मीद है ,इन विचारों से आप को नमक मिर्च लगना स्वाभाविक है , इसलिए न भी छपे तो कोई दुख नहीं ।आप की पत्रिका का उद्देश्य सर्व ज्ञात है।

  4. I can blame the supreme court for Delhi riots because they didnot take action when case was in supreme court They simply appoint three interlocutor who are congress party and left supporters

  5. The suggested guidelines must be incorporated in IPC, Cr PC etc by the parliament. Then only they can be enforced.

  6. “Man ki Baat” Modiji will explain whether Trump was important or voters of Delhi…..Governments are responsible…..All governments should resign…..

  7. To coverup sc failure, courts blame police after jamia jnu. 320 on police without SC orders. Don’t blame police. Real truth as said by SC continue sheenbag till elections over. 60 days could not read Mahatma Nehru Ambedkar 47 promise to refugees, caa2pages. All can read in 1 hour these. Isi network won, plan jamia jnu sheenbag SC ok, riots likeMumbaiAtsdivertedforHindu terror. None can blame isi, world blame India.

  8. Its cognizable first of all, not cognisable.
    Secondly the preliminary inquiry is just to ascertain the fact whether the offence committed is cognizable or not.
    Also please enlighten me when did the period of 7 days converted into 15 and then 6 weeks in March 2014.

  9. We normally see the judges won’t take risks. They narrate the whole story and finally say we take guidance from some ABC judgment. Why not you give the logical conclusion and complete the judgment as a new case. Put the nation first.

  10. Muralidhar has got up from slumber as it is time to get media attention. Every day so many complaints against all criminals but no FI R. Now to sensationalize the issue in favor of opposition he rightly over reacted.

  11. The police is correct. It cannot divert its attention from diffusing the atmosphere in Delhi and go about who is at fault and what action should be taken. In Delhi riots several persons were involved in the communal tension and any attempt to blame onside will enthuse other party to commit more crimes with impunity. The Court was not correct in hurrying up matters ,without giving sufficient time to the assess the situation. The Court is involving more to politics than justice.

  12. The soft pedalling by the supreme Court is primarily responsible for all these hell. Thus the supreme Court should be responsible for the hell that broke out. Any advice by the Delhi high court should be given to the supreme Court.

  13. There is youtube video on aasteen ke saanp which throws light on harsh mander, member of sonia advisory council.

  14. The central government and the police will now manipulate the crimes now as they have got enough time and as the ruling Bjp MPs are involved.

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