BENGALURU: The police cannot conclude that there is no truth in a complaint without registering an FIR, the Karnataka High Court observed on Monday, hearing a case regarding complaints filed against the police in connection with the anti-CAA protest in Mangaluru in December. Directing the Mangaluru Police Commissioner to file a rejoinder, a division bench comprising Karnataka Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar said, “Prima facie, the endorsement will have to be withdrawn as he (Commissioner) cannot come to the conclusion that a complaint is false, without registration of an FIR.”
The court made this observation on an affidavit filed by Mangaluru Police Commissioner Dr P S Harsha in relation to directions issued by the court on a public interest litigation petition filed by freedom fighter HS Doreswamy and former Mangaluru Mayor K Ashraf. When the bench asked what action the Police Commissioner had taken on complaints filed by the petitioner and others against police, Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi submitted that some complainants were given endorsements as the complaints were a violation of Section 132 of the Criminal Procedure Code (that protects public officials from prosecution under certain circumstances). Others were transferred to Criminal Investigation Department (CID) which is investigating the incident, the AG said.
Senior advocate prof Ravivarma Kumar, representing the petitioners, told the court that two complainants who had been given endorsements included a woman who had accused police of molesting her and assaulting her husband and the other was by K Ashraf, who alleged that police had violated privacy by entering into a hospital. Kumar sought time to file a response to the affidavit filed by the Mangaluru Police Commissioner.
On the endorsements given to the two complainants that ‘no truth was found’, the bench orally observed that such endorsements cannot be issued without registering an FIR and would have to be withdrawn. Otherwise, it would affect the investigation, the bench said. The bench also said that there can’t be multiple FIRs on the same incident.
Police Commissioner Harsha also said in the affidavit that 20 DVRs had been seized from different locations and CID has sent the footage to the FSL, Bengaluru, for analysis. Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi submitted an affidavit on the status of the investigation.