Section 155 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) – Explained!

The previous section, i.e., Section 154 relates to provisions relating to FIR, which sets the criminal law into motion against the accused. A report may be treated as the First Information Report (Repte iptidai) only if it discloses commission of a cognizable offence in which a police officer may make an arrest without a warrant.

But under Section 155 the substance of an information received about the commission of a non-cognizable offence is recorded in Special Register meant for this purpose. Such a report is not called an ‘FIR’ but it is known as ‘NCR’ (Non-cognizable Offence Report). On receipt of such NCR, the officer-in-charge of the Police Station directs the informant to report to the Magistrate because the police cannot make an arrest without a warrant from the Magistrate.

Sub-Section (4) provides that where a case relates to two or more offences of which at least one is cognizable, the case shall be deemed to be a cognizable case and police officer can investigate into it without an order from the Magistrate. Thus a case alleging commission of offences under Sections 494 and 498-A, IPC could be investigated by the police, though offence under Section 494 is non-cognizable.

It has been a settled law that any interference by police in civil disputes between parties will be ex-facie illegal being in blatant violation of the provisions of Section 155 (2) of the Code. The High Court of Andhra Pradesh in S. Masthan Saheb v. P.S.R. Anjaneyulu, has observed that, “as a necessary corollary, it must be concluded that any effort on the part of police ‘to look into’ any complaint by a person which does not contain allegations of commission of cognizable offences would violate the provision contained in Section 155 (2) of Cr.P.C. There is no presumption in law that every rift in human relations would lead to a civil dispute and a civil dispute would likely to result in offences, against human body. Any such effort on the part of police to look into the complaints regarding civil disputes is not even the part of the code of conduct of the police.”