Kerala HC: FIR in Case of Corruption Needs To Be Registered Only After Preliminary Enquiry

On the 8th day of June 2021, the Honorable High Court of Kerala heard and decided a Civil Writ Petition matter filed seeking Writ of Mandamus against the police authorities to register the First Information Report and conduct the investigation. The case was heard and decided before the single judge bench of Honorable Justice V.G. Arun.

Kerala HC directes Central Government

Facts

The Petitioner who has approached the Honorable High Court is a government employee, as vehicle supervisor named Jude Joseph in KSRTC at Vizhinjam Depot. The incumbent manager of the depot had exposed a scam that reached the mismanagement by many highly placed officials of the department. The Petitioner played a major role in assisting the incumbent manager. One among the big names exposed was the then Accounts Manager K.M. Sreekumar and the then Executive Director Sharad Mohammed and others. When this was brought to the notice of the police authorities, they refused to register the crime. This reply of the police was the cause for the instant writ petition.

Arguments before the Court

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The Petitioner was represented by learned Advocate M.R. Sarin Panicker and Respondent was represented by Advocate Suman Chakravarthy. The counsel placed Section 154 of the Cr. P. C before the Court and relied upon the Apex court judgement of Lalita Kumari v. the State of U.P, which mandated the police to register FIR when they are informed about the cognizable offence. 

This judgement was countered by the learned Public Prosecutor by relying on Aleque Padamsee v. Union of India and other 2 cases, arguing that the Petitioner cannot approach the Court straight away seeking a writ of Mandamus.

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The council also put forth the fact that the Managing Director had raised the allegation of misappropriation and the investigation was pending by the corporation. The counsel for the Respondents also argued that the Petitioner’s submission and claim were only based on newspaper articles and hence were vague. The counsel for the Petitioner claimed that the judgments relied on by the Respondent are invalid and unacceptable as the judgment delivered by the Apex court was authoritative. The court recorded both the counsel’s arguments. 

Court’s Observation

The Honorable Kerala High Court concurred with the decisions of the Supreme Court that the aggrieved cannot straight away invoke the writ jurisdiction and resort to remedies prescribed in the code. It also considered and accepted the Respondent’s argument of interlopers that the Petitioner must not be encouraged to intervene in the investigation.

The Court relied on various judgements passed by the Apex Court concerning whether FIRs be filed as soon as they get the knowledge of it or after the preliminary enquiry in corruption cases. It was after this, the Court held that the police authorities can file FIRs only after preliminary investigation when the matter or the offence is of corruption. 

Court’s Order

The learned single judge of the Kerala High Court, after recording the arguments of both the Petitioner and the Respondent held that the Petitioner had failed to implead the alleged offenders and along with this, the Court held that the Petitioner did not make out a ground for admission and hence dismissed the Writ Petition. 


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