Delay in lodging FIR
Delay is the time consumed more than the time required in the ordinary course of nature to perform a particular act or particular action. It means the more time consumed than the time required to report the matter relating to cognizable offence to the police u/s 154 Cr.P.C., in the ordinary course of nature.
Delay when fatal:
If the delay is not reasonably explained then it would fatal for the case of prosecution.
- If not satisfactorily explained, it would be considered sufficient to make dent in the prosecution case.
- Delay in lodging FIR would lead to inference that occurrence was un-witnessed. (2008 SCMR 6)
- FIR lodged with delay by one day without any explanation case of further inquiry. (1990 P.Cr.L.J 1367, 1994 MLD 1802)
- Delay of three days of lodging FIR, not properly explained accused admitted to bail. (2008 MLD 397)
- Delay of eight days in lodging FIR. Alleged abductee leveled allegation of zina against accused, but this solitary statement not believed, bail granted. (2005 MLD 1974)
- Delay by more than one month fatal. (1987 MLD 1202)
- Inordinate a unjustified delay in the prosecution of case, being abused of proses of law, a valid ground for grant of bail. (1993 P.Cr.L.J 1986)
- Delay in FIR, is fatal only when the same is not adequately explained. (2009 P.Cr.L.J 27)
- FIR lodged after six months of occurrence. Possibility of false involvement not ruled out. Bail granted. (NLR 1984 SD 222)
Delay when not fatal:
Delay in lodging FIR is not fatal if the delay is sufficiently explained and sufficient reasons are given in lodging the FIR. Higher courts have settled many precedents wherein delay in lodging FIR is not considered fatal for prosecution. Some of the cases are given below as:-
- If the delay is reasonably and plausibly explained then it would not fatal for the case of prosecution. Delay in lodging FIR is not always fatal to prosecution case it only gives rise to suspicion which puts the courts on guard to look to possible motive and explanation of delay. (AIR 1973 S.C 1)
- The question of delay in lodging FIR is to be considered in the background of human factors involved such as the time required by the persons concerned to compose themselves before deciding on their courts of action. (1981 Cr.LJ 1701, AIR 1981 S.C 2073).
- Grief sticken kith and kin may not rush immediately to give report to police. Unless there are indications of fabrications, the court cannot reject the prosecution version substantiated by evidence, merely on the ground of delay in lodging FIR. (1990 Cr.LJ 2681, AIR 1991 S.C 63)
- Delay of seven eight days, serologist report showing presence of spermatozoa in the vaginal of the prosecutrix, scientifically proving that prosecutrix was subjected to sexual intercourse. Delay not considered fatal. (PLD 2003 S.C 863).
- Delay of 24 hours in lodging FIR explained stating that the complaint have been intended to his injured brother, accused attributed specific role along with motive bail refused. (2005 SCMR 1496)
- No adverse inference can be drawn against prosecution on account of delay in recording FIR, when such delay had been adequately explained. (2005 Cr.LJ 955)
Causes of the delay:
Some of the natural reasons which causes delay in reporting the matter to the police station are as under:-
- In the rap cases women are slow and hesitant to complain of such assaults and if the prosecutrix happens to be a married woman she will not do anything without informing her husband.
- Complainant or victim may be resident of remote area and the occurrence also took place in the remote areas which have no basic facilities of transportation or conveyance etc.
- Road for transportation may not be metaled.
- Sometimes injured may have serious injuries which required to be transferred to the hospital for treatment on emergency basis as to save the life his primary interest.
- There might be chances of being unconscious due to shock of murder of kith and kins the complainant could not report the matter in time.
To conclude I can say that delay in lodging FIR is fatal as it raised suspicion of afterthought, preponderance, pre-meditation and concoction. But, it is not fatal if the delay is sufficiently and reasonably explained.