The Karnataka High Court has stated that the ratio which was laid down in the judgement of Lalita Kumari vs Government of Uttar Pradesh and Others, which said that a Station House Officer on receiving information disclosing a cognizable offence is bound to register FIR, will not apply in cases wherein an officer receives secret information about a crime which is yet to occur.
The bench made this observation while setting aside the bail applications of Tasleem N.P and others accused under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
While rejecting their contention, Justice Sreenivas Harish Kumar stated:
“In Lalita Kumari (supra), the focus is on the duty of a Station House Officer once he receives information about commission of offence, that means the information should disclose a crime being already committed. And in such a situation, if the crime is cognizable, the Station House Officer is bound to register FIR without wasting time.”
According to the petitioners, the Police Inspector received credible information that about six persons living in a house bearing No. 65, Kapila Cross Road, Behind Maruthi Dental College, Vinayaka Layout, Hulimavu, were possessing narcotic substances such as ganja, MDMA, ecstasy tablets and LSD strips and they were about to sell those substances.
The court stated:
“Sometimes, offences do take place in the presence of the police officers. In such a situation, his first duty is to arrest the accused and collect the evidence, and not registration of FIR. In the case in hand what the police officer received was a report about likelihood of offences under NDPS Act being committed, the informant only suspected possession of contraband substances, regarding which no FIR could be registered without ascertaining the truth in the information. The seizure panchanama discloses that the petitioners and other accused possessed contraband substance for the purpose of selling them. He seized the substances and made a report of the same. No error can be found in it.” The court also turned down the argument of the accused that contraband substances were not seized from the ‘conscious’ possession of the accused.
The court dismissed the petitions by stating “In these petitions, there are prima facie materials against the petitioner, section 37 of the NDPS Act is very much attracted. Therefore, the petitions are dismissed.”