IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA

WP(C) NO.1788/2021

JUDE JOSEPH

VERSUS

DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE & ANR

IN THE PRESENCE OF HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE V.G.ARUN

Hon’ble Mr Justice V.G. Arun dismissed the writ petition of issuing a mandamus as there were alternative statutory remedies available to the petitioner. The petitioner was Jude Joseph, represented by learned advocate Mr.M. R Sarin and therefore the respondents were Director-General of police station, Vazhuthacaud and police station officer, fort police headquarters represented by learned advocate Sri. Suman Chakravarthy, Senior Government Pleader.

Facts of the case

The petitioner is a vehicle supervisor at the Vizhinjam Depot on the KSRTC. The incumbent managing director of the KSRTC had unearthed a scam involving highly placed officials of the corporation. In the Internal audit of the corporations ‘account for the period of 2012-2015, grave financial irregularities and misappropriation were reported by the accounts manager, K. M. Sreekumar.

After the revelation, the petitioner who claimed agitation within the issue of corruption lodged Exts. P1 and P2 complaints alleging that, along with Sri. K.M. Sreekumar, the then Executive Director (Vigilance) Sri. Sharad Mohammed and certain other officials were also involved in the misappropriation of public money.

As police refused to lodge the complaint, the petitioner prayed for a direction to the respondents to think about and eliminate Exts.P1 and P2 by conducting a proper investigation.

The contention of the petitioner

Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the police are bound to register FIR, when the commission of a cognizable offence has been brought into their notice, according to Lalita Kumari v. State of U.P. counsel also submitted that in the pendency of writ petition, the petitioner had been issued with a notice under section 160 CRPC, in furtherance to which he appeared before the second respondent and gave Ext.P4 statement. After recording the petitioner’s statement, the second respondent is bound to register FIR and commence an investigation.

The contention of the respondent

The learned prosecutor contended that the requirement of the police to register FIR can’t be enforced by straightaway rushing to the supreme court and seeking issuance of a writ of mandamus. it was submitted that the director of the Corporation has raised the matter of allegation of misappropriation, the investigation was sure to happen and interlopers just like the petitioner shouldn’t be permitted to meddle with the investigation.

It was also contended by the prosecutor that the question of whether a writ of mandamus might be issued to register an FIR, dehors the choice remedies under sections 36, 156(3) and 200 CRPC, hadn’t arisen for consideration in the case of Lalita Kumari v. the State of U.P. as stated by the petitioner.

The legal obligation on the police to register FIR on receipt of data regarding commission of the cognizable offence(s) is not any longer res Integra within the light of the declaration of law in Lalita Kumari v. State of U.P. Public prosecutor also submitted that the aggrieved complainant should resort to the remedies provided under the code and can’t, immediately, invoke the writ jurisdiction.

Observations

Hon’ble Justice V.G. Arun observed that the case of Lalita Kumari doesn’t favour the petitioner in the least because it doesn’t obliterate the choice of statutory remedies available to the aggrieved complainant. According to that case, the FIR in corruption cases got to be registered only after conducting a preliminary enquiry.

The case only relates to the question of interpretation of section 154 of the Code and incidentally to consider sections 156 and 157 also. According to the findings of the case, FIR in corruption cases got to be registered only after conducting a preliminary enquiry.

The case of the petitioner is that the persons named in his complaint are guilty of the offences u/s. 13(1)(c) and (d) of the Prevention of the Corruption Act, 1988, the case Lalita Kumari is of no help to him.

The court also took into consideration the judgement given in the case of Sudhir Bhaskarrao Tambe, that if the high courts entertain such writ petitions, then they will be flooded with more of such writ petitions and will not be able to do any other work except entertaining these kinds of petitions.

So the complainant must avail of his alternative remedy to approach the Magistrate concerned under section 156(3) CRPC and if he does so, the Magistrate will ensure, if prima facie he’s satisfied, registration of the primary information report and also ensure a correct investigation within the matter and he also can monitor the investigation.

The petitioner’s failure to implead the persons against whom grave allegations are raised is yet another factor that deters the court from entertaining the writ petition.

Written By- Ruparekha Jena

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