Whether the cryptic information given on telephone can be held to be the first information report under Sec 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Hereinafter referred as ‘The Code’)?

Section 154 of the Code requires an officer in charge of a police station to reduce to writing every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally to such officer. It further requires that such information, which has been reduced to writing shall be read over to the informant and the information reduced to writing or given in writing by the person concerned shall be signed by the person giving it. Section 2(h) defines investigation to include all the proceedings under the Code for the collection of evidence conducted by a police officer or by any other person (other than a Magistrate), who is authorised by a Magistrate in this behalf.

From time to time, controversy has been raised, as to at what stage the investigation commences. That has to be considered and examined on the facts of each case, especially, when the information of a cognizable offence has been given on telephone.

Two Cases possible:

  • When telephonic message is cryptic in nature,
  • When telephonic message is not cryptic in nature.
  1. If the telephonic message is cryptic in nature and the officer in charge, proceeds to the place of occurrence on basis of that information to find out the details of the nature of the offence itself, then it cannot be said that the information, which had been received by him on telephone, shall be deemed to be first information report. The object and purpose of giving such telephonic message is not to lodge the first information report, but to request the officer in charge of the police station to reach the place of occurrence.
  2. On the other hand, if the information given on telephone is not cryptic and on basis of that information, the officer in charge, is prima facie satisfied about the commission of a cognizable offence and he proceeds from the police station after recording such information, to investigate such offence then any statement made by any person in respect of the said offence including about the participants, shall be deemed to be a statement made by a person to the police officer “in the course of investigation”, covered by Section 162 of the Code, That statement cannot be treated as first information report.

Ramsinh Bavaji Jadeja vs State Of Gujarat1

But any telephonic information about commission of a cognizable offence irrespective of the nature and details of such information cannot be treated as first information report. This can be illustrated. In a busy marketplace, a murder is committed. Any person in the market, including one of the shop-owners, telephones to the nearest police station, informing the officer in charge, about the murder, without knowing the details of the murder, the accused or the victim. On basis of that information, the officer in charge, reaches the place where the offence is alleged to have been committed. Can it be said that before leaving the police station, he has recorded the first information report? In some cases the information given may be that a person has been shot at or stabbed. It cannot be said that in such a situation, the moment the officer in charge leaves the police station, the investigation has commenced. In normal course, he has first to find out the person who can give the details of the offence, before such officer is expected to collect the evidence in respect of the said offence.

Tapinder Singh v. State of Punjab2  it was said by this Court, that anonymous telephone message at police station that firing had taken place at a taxi stand; does not by itself clothe it with character of first information report, merely because the said information was first in point of time and the said information had been recorded in the daily diary of the police station, by the police officer responding to the telephone call.

Again in Soma Bhai v. State of Gujarat3  in respect of an information given to the police station by telephone, it was held : “The message given to the Surat Police Station was too cryptic to constitute a first information report within the meaning of Section 154 of the Code and was meant to be only for the purpose of getting further instructions.”

Dhananjay Chatterjee Alias Dhana vs State Of W.B.4 

The cryptic telephonic message received at the police station from the father of the deceased had only made police agency run to the place of occurrence and to record the statement of the mother of the deceased; the investigation commenced thereafter.

  1. 1994 SCC (2) 685.
  2. 1970 AIR 1566.
  3. AIR 1975 SC 1453.
  4. (1994) 2 SCC 220.

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