Falsely accused of a crime? Want to know how to defend yourself against false accusations?
We all know that the legal proceedings in India can drain all your energy. The situation becomes even worse when you are falsely implicated in a case. A distinguished criminal lawyer can take you out of this trouble. But you should also be aware of the legal remedies on what to do when a false FIR is filed against you.
Not every person is well versed with their legal rights when it comes to false accusations. You might be one of them. Because you might never have felt the need to be aware of such remedies and could never have imagined that someone will file a false FIR against you. But now that you are here googling ‘What To Do When A False FIR Is Filed Against Me?‘, we can understand that yes you want to prepare yourself for such situations too.
Stats About False FIRs/Cases In India
The stats about false criminal complaints in India are really shocking.
- As per Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) data, 53.2% of the rape cases in Delhi, filed between April 2013 and July 2014 were found to be false.
As per Crime in India 2016-Statistics, 5347 SC cases and 912 ST cases were found to be false.
- In 2015, 11024 cases resulted in discharge or acquittal out of 15638 cases decided by the court. 485 cases were withdrawn and 4119 ended in conviction ( Annual Report 2016-2017 published by the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India).
- As per NCRB, 13,297 cases under Dowry Prohibition Act were registered in 2019. Out of which 4,840 were acquitted and 874 were discharged.
- As per the 2020 NCRB report, 28,046 rape cases were registered in India. Out of this figure, 3,375 cases were closed by police as false, 5,015 were closed due to false, insufficient evidence, mistake or civil dispute. 5,403 were acquitted.
The stats are alarming that people are misusing the law but what’s the solution. How do you fight against false FIR? What can be the legal remedies to fight a false case? How to defend yourself against false FIR/accusations? We will try to answer all these questions.
What Is An FIR?
FIR stands for First Information Report, the first document which is prepared in a criminal proceeding under Section 154(1)(x) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. An FIR can only be lodged in the case of COGNIZABLE offences described under Sec 2(c) of CrPC. Schedule I of CrPC has listed the cognizable offences for which an FIR can be lodged.
Cognizable offences include murder, rape, theft, attack etc and offences like defamation or bigamy come under the ambit of non-cognizable offences. In the case of cognizable offences, the police can arrest the accused without a warrant.
What To Do If Local Police Refuse To Register An FIR?
There is proper machinery for registering FIR. It is as follows:
- To register an FIR, you can approach a police officer under Section 154 of CrPC.
- If the police officer refuses to register the FIR, a person can lodge an FIR with a Senior Police officer or SSP in writing or by a registered post under Section 154(3) of CrPC.
- If, then, also the FIR is not registered, then the complainant can approach the Magistrate under CrPC Section 156(3) where the Magistrate can direct the police officer to register the FIR.
But what if the FIR is false? What to do when someone makes false accusations? What are the laws against false accusations?
Legal Remedies Available To Deal With False FIR
What happens if someone files a false FIR against you? Does FIR against a person mean his career is finished?
All these questions are really haunting for an innocent person. This can be the most traumatizing phase of your life and therefore, you need a good lawyer to handle a false FIR against you. Because the process demands expertise, experience, and most significantly knowledge.
Legal proceedings in India are prolonged and exhausting. As you’ve read the stats about false cases in India, you might be aware of the fact that people use legal tactics to settle their scores with people. This is not the right path but it is unfortunate that this is happening. There are various remedies against false criminal complaints that you can consider while figuring out how to deal with a false FIR is filed against you.
1. Remedy Before Arrest: Anticipatory Bail
As soon as a false FIR is filed, you can file an anticipatory bail in either the Session Court or High Court under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 before the arrest is made. After a person has been arrested, the accused can seek bail under Section 437 and Section 439 of CrPC.
2. Application Under Section 482 of CrPC For Quashing False FIR
An application can be filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure before the High Court to seek directions to quash a frivolous FIR against the accused.
Under Section 482, High Court has the inherent power to pass any order which is necessary to
- Prevent abuse of process of Courts; or
- To secure ends of justice to the people.
On What Grounds FIR Can Be Quashed under Section 482 of CrPC?
The falsely implicated person can approach High Court to quash a false FIR on the following grounds:
- The Acts or omission on the basis of which the FIR has been lodged does not constitute an offence.
- The Offence for which the FIR has been registered against the accused has never happened;
- The FIR contains merely baseless allegations without any reasonable ground to prove an offence against the accused.
Supreme Court Guidelines To Quash False FIR under Section 482
In State of Haryana and Ors. v. Bhajan Lal and Ors, Supreme Court noted that it may not be possible to lay down any precise, clearly defined and sufficiently channelised and inflexible guidelines or rigid formulae and to give an exhaustive list of myriad kinds of cases wherein such power should be exercised. The apex court laid down the following guidelines to quash an FIR under Section 482.
- where the allegations made in the First Information Report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused;
- where the allegations in the First Information Report and other materials, if any, accompanying the F.I.R. do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 155(2) of the Code;
- where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or ‘complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused;
- where the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Section 155(2) of the Code;
- where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused;
- where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party;
- where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to a private and personal grudge.
When Can An Application Under Section 482 Be Filed For Quashing A False FIR?
To make sure you don’t mess up things. Get in touch with an expert criminal lawyer to help you in a false case. That lawyer is going to guide you for every single step. There are different stages when you can file an application under Section 482.
Before Chargesheet Is Filed –
You can file an application under Section 482 to quash the false FIR registered against you before the chargesheet is filed. The High can quash an FIR when it is against the principle of Natural justice cause a grave miscarriage of justice to the victim. The High Court has also the power to reprimand the police officer or issue certain directions to such officer
After Chargesheet Is Filed:
If the charge sheet has been filed on the basis of frivolous FIR, and the case is committed to the session judge and before commencement of trial, the accused can file a discharge Application u/s 227 of CrPC. This application can be filed in order to get discharged from the offence charged with on the basis of the false FIR. The grounds include
- That the charge sheet contains no prima facie evidence against the accused in respect of the offence with which it is charged.
- The trial cannot be commenced against the accused because of insufficiency of evidence on record.
- The evidence on record is inadmissible as evidence under the Indian Evidence Act.
After Commencement Of Trial:
If an application under Section 227 has been rejected by Session Court and the charges are framed, the trial is commenced. Now, an application under Sec 232 of CrPC can only be filed for the Acquittal.
3. Writ Petition Under Article 226 Of Indian Constitution
The victim can approach the High Court to quash the false FIR against him/her under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Finding that grave injustice has been caused to the victim of the false FIR, the High Court can issue two kinds of writs.
Writ of Mandamus:
High Court may issue a writ of mandamus against the police officer or police department who lodged such false FIR and direct them to perform their duty in a lawful manner.
Writ of Prohibition:
High Court may issue a writ of prohibition to a Subordinate Court, where the victim’s trial is underway, to stop all the criminal proceedings against the victim.
What Is The Punishment For A False Case?
Lucky are you if you have been acquitted of all the charges and accusations have been proved false. But what’s next? Though you are acquitted of all the charges, you’ll still face the questions and judgmental eyeballs. One FIR might have affected your life quite negatively. It might affect your career and reputation too.
Nothing can compensate for the ignominies that you have been through but a lesson is a must for the people who misuse the law to settle their personal scores. The thought ‘Is there any Punishment for a person who lodges a false FIR against someone?’ will obviously hit your mind. So, let us tell you that our judiciary cares for every citizen and has the provision for punishment for false cases too. Below mentioned are the details.
False information – Section 182 of the Indian Penal Code
Giving false information, with intent to cause public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person.—Whoever gives to any public servant any information which he knows or believes to be false, intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause, such public servant to cause injury or annoyance to the accused person, can be imprisoned up to six months, or Fine up to One thousand rupees or both.
Falsely charged with an Offence – Section 211 of the Indian Penal Code
Whoever, with intent to cause injury to any person, institutes or causes to be instituted any criminal proceeding against that person, or falsely charges any person with having committed an offence, knowing that there is no just or lawful ground for such proceeding or charge against that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both; and if such criminal proceeding be instituted on a false charge of an offence punishable with death, 1[imprisonment for life], or imprisonment for seven years or upwards, shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Framing of incorrect document by Public Servant to cause Injury – Section 167 of Indian Penal Code
Whoever, being a public servant, and being, as 1[such public servant, charged with the preparation or translation of any document or electronic record, frames, prepares or translates that document or electronic record] in a manner which he knows or believes to be incorrect, intending thereby to cause or knowing it to be likely that he may thereby cause injury to any person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
Incorrect Record with the Intention of saving a person from punishment or property from forfeiture – Section 218 of Indian Penal Code
Whoever, being a public servant, and being as such public servant, charged with the preparation of any record or other writing, frames that record or writing in a manner which he knows to be incorrect, with intent to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause, loss or injury to the public or to any person, or with intent thereby to save, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby save, any person from legal punishment, or with intent to save, or knowing that he is likely thereby to save, any property from forfeiture or other charge to which it is liable by law, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
Can I File A Defamation Complaint Against The Person Who Lodged A False FIR Against Me?
Yes, when you are falsely implicated in a case, you can seek relief under two remedies which include
- Under Section 19 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the victim can seek justice and compensation for the defamation caused due to the false accusations.
- You can also file a defamation case against false FIR. The victim can also file a criminal defamation suit under Section 499 r/w Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code. The person will be liable for imprisonment up to 2 years, or with fine, or both.
With this, we hope that this article might help you understand what to do when a false FIR is filed against you. Now you know the remedies against false criminal complaints as well what are the false FIR punishments in India. The first thing you need to do in such situations is not to panic and reach out to a good criminal lawyer to fight against false FIR.
This article is written by Varsha. You can reach out to the author via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.