Can FIR be Amended to include more names in array of accused? Allahabad HC Judgment

On Monday, the Allahabad High Court at Lucknow allowed a Writ Petition seeking quashing of an Order passed by the State Government directing to include the name of Petitioner in the array of accused of an already lodged FIR.

A Writ Petition was filed before the Allahabad High Court at Lucknow challenging the order dated 24-02-2021 passed by the state government, whereby the Regional Assistant Director of Education(Basic), Devi Patan Mandal, Balrampur was directed to get the name of the petitioner included in the array of accused persons mentioned in the F.I.R. lodged against one Smt. Mamta Singh and Others.

Shri Vidhu Bhushan Kalia and Shri Vaibhav Kalia, counsels for the Petitioner put forth two arguments:

  1. The Order impugned has been passed in violation of the Government Order dated 19-07-2005 and 24-05-2012, which requires in case any irregularity committed by an official/officer comes to light, then, he shall be departmentally proceeded with and on inquiry in the departmental/disciplinary proceedings, if it is found that the official/official is criminally liable as well, then First Information Report can be lodged against him after seeking opinion of the law department. 
  2. Second limb of argument was that once an FIR has been lodged the Criminal Law is set in motion and the FIR cannot be amended, as such the Order is without Jurisdiction.

A Division bench of Hon’ble Justice D.K. Upadhyaya and Hon’ble Justice Manish Kumar, after hearing the arguments called upon the Government Advocate that how the order impugned is justified.

So far as the first limb of submission, the Court observed that:

The government orders dated 19-07-20095 and 24-05-2012 have been issued for guidance of the officers and for exercising abundant protection for the reason that before taking such a drastic decision for taking criminal action against an officer/employee of the state government, adequate caution is to be exercised, however, in case any cognizable offence comes to the notice of the state government or any of its officer, any consultation legally would not be required for lodging an F.I.R. under section 154 Cr. P. C.

The Court accepted the second ground of challenged and held:

What bothers us is the nature of directions issued in the government order dated 24-02-20-21 whereby a direction has been given to the Regional Assistant Director of Education(Basic) to get the name of the petitioner included in the array of accused persons in the F.I.R. dated 05-02-2021 lodged against Smt. Mamta Singh and Others. Such a course, in our considered opinion, as also submitted by the learned Government Advocate, is not available. 

In case in a trail of events leading to crime, certain facts come to the notice of anyone including the state government and its officers, which may be relevant for appropriate investigation of the crime already reported, it is always open to the authority concerned to lodge an F.I.R. However, inclusion of the name of such a person in the array of accused persons in an already lodged F.I.R. would not be legally permissible. 

Once any F.I.R. is lodged, machinery of criminal investigation is set in motion and thereafter it is for the Investigating Officer/Agency to conduct investigation and gather evidence and thereafter form his opinion as to commission of crime and identify the persons against whom incriminating evidence is found about their involvement in the crime. Such person(s) may even be other than those named as accused in the F.I.R. However, any direction to include a person as accused in the array of accused persons in the F.I.R. will be legally impermissible.

In view of above the Court allowed the Writ Petition, quashing the Order challenged.

Case Details:

Title: Indrajeet Prajapati vs State of UP

Case No.: 7355 (M/B) of 2021

Date of Judgment: 22.03.2021

Counsel for the Petitioner: Shri Vidhu Bhushan Kalia and Shri Vaibhav Kalia

Click to Read/Download Judgment

Editor’s Note:

The FIR or the First Information Report means a report or complaint given first in point of time by the complainant to the police. When an FIR is filed, police take prompt action on it. A delayed FIR can be seen as suspicious, and the sequence of events should be given as it occurred.

Once an FIR is registered, it can’t be amended. An amended FIR could suggest that the FIR was launched after an afterthought which implies that the facts might be twisted. Therefore an amended FIR cannot be called a First Information Report.

However, if some accused names are revealed later, they can be added, and the police conduct a detailed investigation to collect the evidence and ascertain the truth.

If the police find out new names during the course of the investigation, and those could be added at a later stage. The names cant be added to the FIR but would be added to the case diary later. If the information is relevant, police can file a charge sheet against the new accused.

The charge sheet includes people’s names against whom sufficient evidence has been collected even if their name is not mentioned in the FIR.

Section 319(1) of CrPC states that new names of accused can be added even at the trial stage.

In essence, the accused’s names can be added even after an FIR is registered if there is sufficient evidence to point out a person’s involvement.

If someone believes that there was another persons’ involvement, they can inform the police, and after ascertaining the facts, the police can charge sheet them, and there is no need to amend the FIR.

Click to Read/Download Judgment

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