Law on Multiple FIR’s
The First Information Report is recorded under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code. According to this Section, the FIR can be registered only in cognizable offenses.
Doctrine of Sameness
According to the Doctrine of Sameness, two different FIRs relating to the same incident cannot be registered. Even according to Section 220 of Cr.P.C. the law recognizes a common trial or a common FIR being registered for one series of acts so connected together as to form the same transaction.
In another judgment, the Court has discussed the cons of such interpretation. In the case of Anju Chaudhary v. State of Uttar Pradesh and another, wherein the SC held as under:
“Be that as it may, if the law laid down by this Court in T.T. Antony is to be accepted as holding that a second complaint in regard to the same incident filed as a counter-complaint is prohibited under the Code then, in our opinion, such conclusion would lead to serious consequences. This will be clear from the hypothetical example given herein before i.e. if in regard to a crime committed by the real accused he takes the first opportunity to lodge a false complaint and the same is registered by the jurisdictional police then the aggrieved victim of such crime will be precluded from lodging a complaint giving his version of the incident in question; consequently he will be deprived of his legitimated right to bring the real accused to book. This cannot be the purport of the Code.”
Therefore as observed by the Apex Court in Chaitanbhai Nipunchandra Amin v. State of Gujarat,
“The concept of sameness has been given a restricted meaning. In order to examine the impact of one or more F.I.Rs.; the Court has to rationalize the facts and circumstances of each case and then apply the test of ‘sameness’; to find out whether both F.I.Rs. relate to the same incident and to the same occurrence; and whether they are in regard to incidents which are two or more parts of the same transaction or; relate completely to two distinct occurrences.
It is only if the second F.I.R. relates to the same cause of action, the same incident; there is sameness of occurrence and an attempt has been made to improvise the case, would the second F.I.R. be liable to be quashed. In cases where every F.I.R. has a different spectrum, and the allegations made are distinct and separate, it may be regarded as a counter-complaint, but it cannot be stated that an effort has been made to improve the allegations that find place in the first F.I.R. or that the principle of ‘sameness’ is attracted .”
In this case, the Court reaffirmed that registration of multiple F.I.Rs. by the same informant about the same incident cannot be permitted. It will be hit by the Doctrine of Sameness and cannot be allowed; the Karnataka High Court observed while quashing the second F.I.R. against BJP workers relating to the same incident.
Justice M Nagaprasanna ruled that through filing a new complaint of the same incident the complainant cannot be permitted to improve on the earlier complaint, bringing in new offenses.
“Once having registered a complaint on a particular premise of an incident; it was not open to the complainant to have registered another complaint on the very same incident regarding what happened during the very same period. The complainant cannot be permitted to improve on the earlier complaint and; as an afterthought bring in other offenses in the second complaint becoming a second FIR on sameness. It would amount to permitting multiple FIR’s on the very same – incident, time of the incident, date of the incident and by the very same complainant. It would be hit by the doctrine of sameness as held by the Apex Court,” the Court said.
The Court was in the process of hearing a plea moved for quashing the second FIR against the BJP workers registered by the same complainant in 2018 during the State assembly elections.
The Court drew on the SC judgment in Krishna Lal Chawla vs State of UP to observe,
“If the law that is laid down by the Apex Court in the afore extracted judgments is considered, what would unmistakably emerge is, registration of second FIR on the same incident would be hit by the “doctrine of sameness” and will have to be annihilated as it would amount to improving the facts and the case in the subsequent complaint on the same incident. On the bedrock of the principles laid down in the afore-extracted judgments of the Apex Court; the case at hand will have to be considered.”
A counter-complaint is always permissible on the same incident as there can be complaints and two FIR’s, the Court said; if it is a case of complaint and counter-complaint or a case of consequential complaint.
However, this was not the case in the present matter, the Court noted.
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