HOW TO SEEK REMEDY AGAINST A CRIME AND WHY EVERYONE MUST KNOW THE BASIC CRIMINAL LAW
Crime against an innocent law- abiding person is a crime against the society and it is the duty of the State or the Government, to prevent and remedy the same, by appropriate punishment administered to the culprit. While all this is true in principle and theory, criminal justice in heavily populated nation such as India, works much differently. For a variety of reasons, the law enforcement agencies are not too keen to register a crime if they could well avoid. There is also undue and heavy pressure on law enforcement agencies from the politicians and people in position of power and influence, to register or not register a case, or register the same in a particular way. Rampant corruption also contributes in a big way and in a large number of cases, law enforcement agencies act different from the path of justice, equity and legality. While it is the solemn duty of the police and law enforcement agencies to act as per provisions of law, whether or not a victim has any knowledge of the working of criminal justice procedures and systems, it rarely happens on the ground. It is mostly beyond the capacity of the victim of a crime to get these agencies to work in an appropriate way. Basic knowledge of criminal justice system is essential for every citizen in his own interest. Correct record of events and evidence building by the victim or anyone else, compels the law enforcement agencies to follow the appropriate legal procedures ultimately.
Vintage of Man-made Criminal Law relates with birth of the second homo sapiens. First human being being might not have needed a code of conduct. His only interaction was with nature which would have responded with its own certain and definite ways and still continue to do today. Man-made criminal law is a system, which is meant to operate on the human beings alone.
Human beings hold two major rights- right to life and liberty and right to acquire and hold property. The entire criminal justice system works only to defend these two rights. But this is a very complex and exhaustive task since rights and duties of one person affect those of another. In India, police is the first and foremost trustee on the ground to defend and protect the life and property of any person. In complex and diverse societies such as India, police is often misused and pressurised to take sides or act otherwise than in accordance with the law.
How to Seek Remedy Against a Crime
Indian Penal Code (IPC) covers the substantial provisions i.e what constitutes an offence and the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr PC) its implementation mechanism i.e. the trial and punishment procedures on an offence. IPC divides the criminal acts into various sub categories. We find a few such common sub categories to be relevant, essential and of use to the users of this web site. Please click on the link Indian Penal Code to see what acts would constitute an offence. Common offences against the human body and property amongst others can be found listed under the similar headings on the said Indian Penal Code link.
If a person believes that someone has caused any unlawful harm to one’s persona or property wrongfully, the criminal justice system could be activated at appropriate time. In India, the first and simplest provision for setting the criminal justice system into motion is Section-154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC) which deals with filing of FIR with the police. Any aspect affecting life, well- being of human body or property of any human being or collection of human beings, is well covered under the criminal justice system.
The aggrieved person has two remedies. Either he can lodge an FIR with the police or file a complaint with the criminal court. In case of police complaint, if police till the SHO level refuses to lodge an FIR or take appropriate action then complainant can forward the same in writing by post to the Superintendent of Police. Most of the states have now facilitated online registration of the FIRs. However, if no appropriate action still ensues by the law enforcement agencies, then the complainant could approach the criminal courts, urging them to direct the police to investigate the matter. This is a different remedy than directly approaching the court. In the second remedy court can be approached directly and petitioned to proceed but in the first remedy, court is approached after a complaint has been made to the police authorities but no appropriate action has been taken by them. A suggested format for filing police complaint is given on the button “How to Prepare a Police Complaint.