The Kerala High Court observed that a second FIR is not barred if allegations therein are substantially different from the first one.

In this case, the Trial Court dismissed the petition filed by accused for discharge observing that they failed to establish sameness of two FIRs. The High Court was considering Revision Petition filed against this order. The Court noted that the two FIRs were based on distinct allegations and involved different parties. Consequently, the Court deemed the second FIR valid.

The Bench of Justice PG Ajithkumar observed, “If both the FIRs are with the same set of allegations and the offences constituting from the allegations are the same, the second FIR and the proceedings following such second FIR are illegal. If there is no sameness, if the nature of allegations and the facts involved and also the persons aggrieved are different, the bar would not be applied."

Advocate KP Antony Binu appeared for the Petitioners (M Mohammed Kunhi, Gracy Jacob Stephen Joseph), Public Prosecutor Seena C Appeared For the First Respondent and Advocate Jawahar Jose appeared for the Second Respondent (V Hashim).

A retired Teacher, U. Raghavan passed away in 2003, leaving behind a property. In 2007, a sale deed was forged to transfer the property to Gracy Jacob. The property was then sold to V. Hashim. V. Hashim filed a complaint in 2023 alleging that the sale deed was forged and that the property rightfully belonged to him. The Accused, Muhammed Kunhi and others were charged with Sections 419, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120B read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). The Accused Individuals filed a petition seeking discharge, but it was dismissed in 2018. The Accused approached the High Court by way of revision petitions challenging the dismissal of their discharge petition.

The Court noted that Gracy Jacob benefitted from a fraudulent sale deed, implicating her husband, the second accused, as an accomplice in the forgery, along with the third accused, the scribe of the forged document. The fourth accused, Mohammed Kunhi, later sold the property to the complainant. The complainant's son discovered the forgery and filed a complaint, leading to an investigation. Simultaneously, a civil case was initiated.

The Bench noted that per the law of the land filing for multiple FIRs for the same incident is not allowed. This means that once an FIR has been filed, any subsequent information related to the same incident should be treated as a statement under Section 162 of the CrPC. The Court further added that the exception to the rule is if the allegations in the second FIR are different from those in the first FIR, even if they relate to the same incident. In this case, the Court will need to determine whether the two FIRs are related to the same incident or whether they are two or more parts of the same transaction.

Furthermore, the Bench noted that the Court's revisional jurisdiction is limited and should not be routinely applied. Courts must exercise caution to prevent injustice. When assessing the framing of charges under the law, the Court may be reluctant to intervene using its revisional jurisdiction unless the case substantially aligns with specific legal issues predefined by the law.

Therefore, the revisional jurisdiction is a very limited one and cannot be exercised in a routine manner. The Court has to keep in mind that the exercise of revisional jurisdiction itself should not lead to injustice ex facie. And, where the Court is dealing with the question as to whether the charge has been framed properly and in accordance with law in a given case, it may be reluctant to interfere in exercise of its revisional jurisdiction unless the case substantially falls within the categories aforestated”, the Bench observed.

The Court observed that the two FIRs are not based on the same incident and therefore the second FIR is not illegal. The first FIR was filed by Sethunath who alleged that the accused created a forged document impersonating the late U. Raghavan. The second FIR was filed by the 2nd respondent and contended that the 4th accused fraudulently induced him to execute a sale deed and receive Rs.22 lakh as sale consideration.

The Court held that the allegations in the two FIRs are substantially different and that the complainants and accused are not all common. Therefore, the Court noted that the two FIRs are not based on the same incident and that the second FIR is not illegal.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the Revision Petition.

Cause Title: M Mohammed Kunhi v State Of Kerala (2023:KER:76176)

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