Signature forgery, police inaction
There has been an incident of signature forgery leading to stealing of items sent overseas for personal use via courier. The parties involved are ABC Couriers (acting as agents for various courier companies), DHL (whose services were sought and used through the said agents) and DTDC (alleged by DHL to handle that part of the transport when the crime took place), none of whom initiated any investigation to identify the culprit despite repeated requests. Furthermore, both DHL and DTDC claimed to have no connection, business relation or knowledge of ABC Couriers, who refuted their claims.
Our complaint has two components: (1) identification and harshest commensurate punishment of the culprit and (2) reimbursement of the money lost in the stolen goods, weight discrepancy of the package as a result, the severe harassment and mental agony caused by the three named parties in addressing our concerns. We aim to raise the second part of our complaint through the District Consumer Forum.
With regards to the first part of the complaint, on 10/4/15 we sent via speed-post a complaint to the Officer-in-Charge (O.C) of the local police station that also happens to have jurisdiction in the area the alleged crime is committed. A copy of the complaint was also sent to the local D.C by the same method. Speed-post records show the letters to have been accepted by the two authorities on 11/4/15 and 13/4/15 respectively. However, when the police station was contacted to enquire whether the complaint was registered we were told that such information cannot be given over telephone. Upon visiting the police station we realised that some of them were aware of the complaint, though no one categorically mentioned whether it was officially filed or not. One of them indicated that the O.C has instructed one official to look into the matter and that we should call after a certain date to speak to him. When we called the person, he seemed in total darkness about it and after listening to the details, advised us to contact him a few days later. When contacted again, he said he could not register the complaint as sufficient information was not provided. Reading about the process of lodging FIRs or diaries, it seems that the police is required to register a complaint irrespective of the comprehensiveness of documentary evidence supplied with it.
Under these circumstances, we wish to know the following:
1) What is our next recourse? I have been advised to file a petition before the District Judge (u/s156(3) of Cr.P.C.) praying for direction upon the police to investigate and act based on my complaint. However, whilst reading some cases about the power of the magistrate in this case (http://zulfiqarlegal.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/power-of-magistrate-us-156-3-of-crpc.html), it seems even the Court does not have full powers to move the police into action.
2) Do forgery and forgery with criminal intent (impersonation, stealing etc.) qualify as cognizable or non-cognizable offences? In case of the latter, apparently the police cannot act without direction from a magistrate.
3) Is the District Judge the same as the Local Magistrate?
Thanking in anticipation.
Asked in Criminal Law from United Kingdom
1. Yes, you can file such case u/s 156(3) crpc but not in dist judges' court but in CJM court.
2.Yes, these are non-cog offence.
3. No, he is not and that is why I asked you to file such case in Chief Judicial Magistrate's court.
I may add that after registration of FIR if the police still does not move much then you can file wirt petition in high court for ncessary direction against police ination.
1. This is a case of police inaction. So your legal recourse is before the court alone. You can prosecute all the parties on your own before the court if the police is not doing its duty. You have been rightly told yo move the court under 156(3) crpc. The court is vested with plenary power to move the police in action.
2. The question is not about the cognizability of the offences. Cognizability is to be decided by the court and not police. The fact of the matter is that police is bound to register the complaint, which in your case it has not.
3. The District Judge can exercise the powers exercisable by the magistrate wherever such power has been conferred on him. As and when he does that he is known as Magistrate. So the answer to your question is Yes.
1. I think I have attended to this query earlier,
2. You have send complaint letter to police under copy to the D.C. by speed post and kept the track record,
3. Now move an application before the District Judge u/s156(3) as suggested in my earlier posts,
4. When a police complaint has been filed against a cognisable offence, police is expected to act,
5. If police failes or refuses to act, 156(3) nis the answer,
6. However, you can take the RTI route to find out whether any FIR has been registered by the police or any investagation has started or not and the stage of the investigation.
The advise to file a petition under section 156(3) is the right course of action to be taken if the police is not ready to do the work it is supposed to do. The case you are referring is on the facts of that particular case. No criminal case can be equated on the basis of the decision rendered unless the facts are similar in nature. furthermore, the offence as mentioned by you qualify as non-bailable offences however the cognizability of any offence is to be seen by a judicial court and not by the police. hence, it is advisable to move the Chief Judicial Magistrate court at the earliest. The word "District Judge" is used for civil side and the same rank judge is also called "Sessions Judge" if he is dealing with criminal cases. Hence if in a particular district, the district judge is empowered with both civil and criminal cases and the powers of a Local Magistrate then both will be the same person.