Delhi HC Clarified parameters for Complaints under Section 156(3)

LI Network

Published on: 27 January, 2024 at 11:19 IST

In a recent ruling, the Delhi High Court clarified the parameters for filing complaints under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.).

The Court held that the Magistrate has the authority to examine the locus standi of a complainant, especially when the complaint is made on behalf of another person.

Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta emphasized that the power granted under Section 156(3) cannot be misused for filing frivolous complaints lacking merit.

The Court’s observation came in response to a petition where the petitioner sought the registration of an FIR based on allegations that his wife had been raped by her cousin when she was 16.

The Court noted that the wife, in response, denied the allegations and accused the petitioner of harassment for dowry. The court stressed that a mere allegation of a cognizable offense is insufficient if it lacks credibility and necessary details about the time and date of the alleged offense.

The High Court emphasized the importance of judiciously exercising powers under Section 156(3) to prevent harassment and the filing of complaints with malicious intent. It pointed out that the Magistrate’s role is critical in ensuring that the complaint is not an attempt to settle personal scores or defame individuals.

The Court highlighted that the power to direct an investigation under Section 156(3) is significant, as it limits the discretion of the police officer to decide whether an investigation is warranted.

The Magistrate, in such cases, must assess the veracity of the complaint and rule out the possibility of harassment by unscrupulous elements making baseless allegations.

The judgment reaffirms that a complainant’s locus standi, particularly when filing on behalf of another person, is subject to scrutiny by the Magistrate. The court concluded that the petitioner lacked standing to file the complaint when the wife had explicitly denied any offense committed by her cousin.

The petitioner’s actions were deemed to have oblique motives, attempting to gain an advantage in other legal proceedings against his wife.

Consequently, the Delhi High Court dismissed the petition and imposed a cost of twenty-five thousand rupees on the petitioner in the case titled Sanjeev Kumar v. State of NCT of Delhi & Ors.

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