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   Home >> Library index >> Police Complaints >> Every citizen entitled to copy of an NC 

Every citizen entitled to copy of an NC 

Mumbai: All those complaints that are lodged as an ‘NC’ (non-cognisable complaint) need no longer be mere jottings in the police diary to which the complainant has no access. The Maharashtra government has assured the Bombay high court that soon the police will provide a copy of complaints filed in non-cognisable offences. 
This move that is expected to materialise after six months—the state has to change the existing book of complaints and replace it with a printed format—will help citizens who go to the police and are told that the offence is not cognisable and hence no first information report (FIR) is required. A city doctor Sunil Mishra had moved the high court complaining that the police only registered an ‘NC’ on a complaint that a person was threatening him to sign a cheque. He wanted the police to arrest the person and wanted a copy of his complaint. 
But the court said the police was right since there was no proof in the complaint to substantiate the charges. It, however, noted that the police never gave copies of NC complaints and asked the principal secretary (home) P P Srivastava why that was so and whether copies could be given free of cost. The secretary informed that there was no provision in law to provide copies to the complainant. Besides, he said, if the police start doing so it would increase their burden. 
This explanation did not satisfy the court which said that overburdening of police duties was no reason not to give copies of NC complaints. Justices R M S Khandeparkar and P V Kakade said, “If a complainant has a copy of his complaint, when he goes before a magistrate to file a private complaint, the court could rely on it’’. 
As things stand today, the police are only supposed to give the complaint number and the complainant usually does not even know what the police has recorded in the complaint book. 
The police do not have powers to investigate an NC complaint and certainly cannot arrest a person on the basis of such an offence. A complainant has to go before a magistrate to pursue the matter. 
However, the secretary later informed the court that the state had in principle taken the decision to supply NC complaint copies free of cost to the complainant but the implementation would require six months as the present NC register needs to be changed and a new one needs to be printed in the government press for circulation to all police stations. 
The judges accepted the secretary’s assurance and called for a compliance report in December 2005.