When a crime is committed, the police registers a case. This is the basic logistic. However, there have been hundreds of incidents wherein the police is accused of siding with the perpetrator of any crime and refusing to register the particular matter. In such a scenario, a common man can approach the court and register a case under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) called istagasa wherein the court would then direct the police station concerned to conduct investigation.The idea behind a aforementioned section is noble, however over period of time, it has appeared that the power has been misused by people in registering fake cases and troubling another person by regular questioning by cops.This has been corroborated by the fact that nearly three fourth of all cases registered in Rajasthan under 156 (3) CrPC since 2013 have found to be false under police investigation. A close look at the data reveals the same.In 2013, nearly 63,000 cases (62,976) were registered through istagasa of which 40,986 cases were found to be false – 72.23 per cent cases. In 2014, the number increase as 67,680 cases were registered of which 45,014 cases were found to be false – 73.14 per cent. In 2015 too 73.64 cases of 63,013 cases were found to be false.However in 2015, the Supreme Court gave a judgment in Priyanka Srivastav Vs state of UP and others, observing , “In our considered opinion, a stage has come in this country where Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. applications are to be supported by an affidavit duly sworn by the applicant who seeks the invocation of the jurisdiction of the Magistrate. That apart, in an appropriate case, the learned Magistrate would be well advised to verify the truth and also can verify the veracity of the allegations. This affidavit can make the applicant more responsible. We are compelled to say so as such kind of applications are being filed in a routine manner without taking any responsibility whatsoever only to harass certain persons.”The Apex court also made it mandatory for the applicant to file an affidavit. “We have already indicated that there has to be prior applications under Section 154(1) and 154(3) while filing a petition under Section 156(3). Both the aspects should be clearly spelt out in the application and necessary documents to that effect shall be filed.The warrant for giving a direction that an the application under Section 156(3) be supported by an affidavit so that the person making the application should be conscious and also endeavour to see that no false affidavit is made. It is because once an affidavit is found to be false, he will be liable for prosecution in accordance with law. This will deter him to casually invoke the authority of the Magistrate under Section 156(3)” the order reads.Since the order, Rajasthan Police has seen a huge slump in the number of cases under 156(3) CrPC. Just in 2016, a decrease of nearly ten thousand cases was seen as 53,682 cases were registered compared to 63,013 cases in 2015.Furthermore till November 2017, only 40,702 cases have been registered denoting a further decrease in such cases.However, it may be noted that even though an affidavit is demanded to file with the case so that action can be taken if found to be false, three-fourth cases are still found to be false as in 2016 73.61 per cent cases in 2016 and 72.46 per cent cases – thus far – in 2017 have been found to be false.FACT SHEETIn 2013, nearly 63,000 cases (62,976) were registered through istagasa of which 40,986 cases were found to be false – 72.23 per cent cases. In 2014, the number increase as 67,680 cases were registered of which 45,014 cases were found to be false – 73.14 per cent. In 2015 too 73.64 cases of 63,013 cases were found to be false.CASE STUDYSince the order, Rajasthan Police has seen a huge slump in the number of cases under 156(3) CrPC. Just in 2016, a decrease of nearly ten thousand cases was seen as 53,682 cases were registered compared to 63,013 cases in 2015. Furthermore till November 2017, only 40,702 cases have been registered denoting a further decrease in such cases. However, it may be noted that even though an affidavit is demanded to file with the case so that action can be taken if found to be false, three-fourth cases are still found to be false as in 2016 73.61 per cent cases in 2016 and 72.46 per cent cases – thus far – in 2017 have been found to be false.

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How aam aadmi is ‘misusing’ power of istagasa