A cryptic phone call vaguely informing of a crime cannot be treated as a First Information Report, the Supreme Court has held in a judgment.
A Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat was hearing an appeal filed by a man whose acquittal in a murder case was set aside by the Bombay High Court.
The trial court convicted two of his co-accused, but let him go. The High Court reversed the decision, prompting him to appeal to the top court.
The accused said the police had received a call about two men on a motorcycle attacking the victim. However, the FIR was registered later against the three men on the basis of the accounts given by witnesses and the dying declaration of the victim.
The accused argued in court that the phone call was the original complaint under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the police could have doctored the complaint later on.
“A cryptic phone call without complete information or containing part-information about the commission of a cognisable offence cannot always be treated as an FIR,” Justice Bhat, who authored the verdict, observed.
Justice Bhat relied on the Supreme Court’s judicial precedents which have settled the law that a “mere message or a telephonic message which does not clearly specify the offence, cannot be treated as an FIR”.
Referring to the top court’s decision in Surajit Sarkar versus State of West Bengal, Justice Bhat said “in the case of a telephonic conversation received from an unknown person, the question of reading over that information to the anonymous informant does not arise nor does the appending of a signature to the information, as recorded, arise”.
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