Read Order: Shiv Kumar vs. State of Bihar & Ors. 

Pankaj Bajpai

Patna, February 28, 2022: While hearing an ongoing case pertaining to cyber-crime of SIMs of telecom companies by way of forged documents and non-registration of FIR of the same, the Patna High Court has clarified that the Officer-in-Charge of the police stations who are not registering FIRs on the complaint of the telecom companies shall be proceeded against for committing contempt of court.

The Single Judge Sandeep Kumar said that the advocates for the telecom companies are free to submit the details of those police stations and their Officer-in-Charge who have refused to register their cases. 

The observation came pursuant to the submission made by the counsels for Telecom Companies namely, Airtel, Vodafone, B.S.N.L and Reliance Jio on the difficulties faced by them in registration of FIRs in some police stations as the Officer-in-Charge of those police stations are not registering the FIRs, after it was specifically queried by this Court about the registration of FIR with regard to sale and purchase of SIMs by cyber criminals on forged documents.  

After considering the submissions, Justice Kumar found that when this Court has made a query from the telecom companies whether the direction of Department of Telecommunication (DoT) is being followed now in the entire country for registration of FIR, they are not able to answer the same and they say that they will have to seek instruction. 

Therefore, the Single Judge directed the Department of Telecommunication to file a specific affidavit whether FIRs are being registered by the telecom companies pursuant to the directions of the DoT in all the States or only in the State of Bihar.

On the last date of hearing, it was submitted on behalf of the telecom companies that now they have stopped selling pre-activated SIMs, which fact has been disputed citing the registration of FIR in Allahabad, wherein around five hundred pre-activated SIMs were recovered from the accused who was misusing them for committing crime. 

Hence, observing that telecom companies are to respond on this issue also as to how their SIMs are still reaching the criminals, Justice Kumar directed the telecom companies to file supplementary affidavits answering the Circular dated March 23, 2017 and August 9, 2012 and submit specific statement as to whether these Circulars are being followed by the telecom companies or not. 

DoT shall also file its affidavit as to what action has been taken by DoT against the telecom companies for not following the circulars, directed the Single Judge. 

The action of Rupaspur Police Station of not registering the F.I.R., is violation of the guidelines of the Supreme Court in the case of Lalita Kumari vs. State of U.P. reported in (2014) 2 SCC 1 and similar guidelines have been issued by this Court recently for registration of the F.I.R. in similar matters” added the Single Judge.

The High Court therefore, issued notice to the Officer-In-charge of Rupaspur Police Station as to why F.I.R.s are not being registered by him though there is direction of the Supreme Court for registration of the FIR. 

Moreover, when a cognizable offence is committed and just because of the fact that a petty amount is involved, the Police cannot refuse to register the FIR, added the Court. 

Accordingly, the High Court listed the matter on March 7 & 11, 2022 for further hearing. 

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