The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) High Court recently stepped in to direct the J&K Police to register a First Information Report (FIR) in relation to an online loan scam, after a Magistrate restrained itself from issuing such a direction despite finding that ex facie, cognizable offences had been committed (Vivek Sagar v. UT of J&K and others).
A single-judge Bench of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur observed that the court below had already found a ex facie case against the accused after a petition was filed under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) (dealing with the power of the Magistrate to order police investigation where cognizable offence is made out).
While the lower court found that cognizable offences were made out thus, it had left it to the police to decide whether an FIR should be registered after they conducted a preliminary investigation.
“… it is considered just and appropriate to allow the application and direct SSP Crime Branch, Jammu to look into the allegations and if some cognizable offence is found to have been committed by the accused persons, then only, an FIR shall be registered and the occurrence shall be investigated forthwith“, the magistrate’s order had read.
The High Court opined that the lower court had erred in leaving the question of FIR registration to the police once it had found that cognizable offences were ex facie made out. Therefore, the High Court set aside this part of the lower court’s order and directed the police to register an FIR in the matter.
“The second portion of the order impugned, in my opinion, is contrary to the satisfaction already recorded, therefore, to that extent the order impugned on the face of it appears to be bad“, the Court said.
The order was passed on a plea by a person who claimed that he had been duped of Rs. 20,700 by online fraudsters on the pretext of extending him a loan. The Section 156 (3), CrPC petition had been moved after the police showed reluctance in registering the FIR.
The High Court has now directed the cybercell in-charge of the J&K Police to register an FIR in the matter and undertake an investigation.