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Clubbing of FIRs


Pawan Tamrakar and Ors. v. M.P. Special Police Establishment and Ors., 2021

(MP High Court)


Brief Facts

The allegation against the petitioner is that while working in a different capacity in Genius Paramedical Institute, he had submitted a forged list of students and claimed scholarship amount. Separate FIRs got registered against him with respect to each student. He was charged u/s 120-B, 409, 420, 467, 468 of the IPC and u/s 13(1)(d) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The fundamental basis on which the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court was invoked under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, was the filing of multiple FIRs and complaints in various States and Union Territories arising out of the same cause of action.


Argument advance

Petitioner - Shri Anil Khare, a learned Senior Advocate appearing for the petitioners submits that all the FIRs are based upon the same preliminary enquiry; they relate to the same academic year and are based upon the same cause of action, therefore all the impugned FIRs should be consolidated and clubbed.

Respondent – the petition of the appellant shall be dismissed on the ground of delay itself as the FIRs were registered 5 years back. Also, it is not the same offence, but FIRs have been registered on different courses run by the institute and for different reserved categories of students.


Observation of the High Court

1.     T.T. Antony v. State of Kerala (2001): It is settled that there is no straitjacket formula to club all the FIRs, and the court is required to examine the facts of each case. Second FIR for the same offence is not permissible as it would be violative of Article 20(2), Article 21, Section 300 of CrPC. But the second complaint in regard to the same incident filed as a counter-complaint as also the second FIR for the same nature of offence against the same accused persons lodged by a different person or containing a different allegation is permissible.

In the instant case, the petitioner and its promoters alleged to have committed the "same kind of offence" involving different banks with the same kind of modus operandi, hence the acts of the petitioner and its promoters constitute a different and distinct offence and consequently, multiple FIRs are maintainable based on the written complaints of the consortium of banks. Though the transaction was through a consortium of banks and appraisal of the project may be common, it would be only for procedural convenience of the lending banks, but each of the aggrieved banks of the consortium lodged a written complaint in respect of fraud played on them insofar as the amounts advanced by it and in such a situation the principle of double jeopardy, as envisaged in Article 20(2) of the Constitution is inapplicable to the case of the petitioner.

In TT Antony, it was held that there can be no second FIR where the information concerns the same cognisable offence alleged in the first FIR or the same occurrence or incident which gives rise to one or more cognisable offences. It was further held that once an FIR postulated by the provisions of Section 154 of CrPC has been recorded, any information received after the commencement of investigation cannot form the basis of a second FIR as doing so would fail to comport with the scheme of the CrPC.

The Court further held that barring situations in which a counter-case is filed, a fresh investigation or a second FIR on the basis of the same or connected cognisable offence would constitute an "abuse of the statutory power of investigation" and maybe a fit case for the exercise of power either under Section 482 of CrPC or Articles 226/227 of the Constitution of India.

2.     State of Jharkhand, through S.P., C.B.I. v. Lalu Prasad Yadav (2017): SC held that the same offence is different from the same kind of offence and if the same kind of offence has been committed multiple times, then each time it constitutes a separate offence and can be tried in different trials.

In this case, different sets of fake vouchers/ allotment letters/ supply orders were prepared with the help of different sets of accused persons but with the same modus operandi with the object to withdraw huge sums of money from different Governments' treasuries falling within Jharkhand State. The SC held that FIRs will not be clubbed only on the grounds of modus operandi is the same; it will not constitute the same offence.  


3.     Arnab Goswami v Union of India (2020): The FIRs got clubbed as all the complaints were arising out of a single cause of action. The Republic T.V. aired a show ‘Poochta hai Bharat’ in which the incident of Gadchinchle village of the state of Maharashtra was debated where 2 sadhus were killed in front of the police and forest guard personnel by the mob. And the accused had raised an issue in relation to the issue of allegedly tardy investigation of the incident by the police. Hence it was violating the petitioners' right as a citizen to fair treatment u/a 14 and independent portal of views u/a 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. 

Since in the present case, all the FIRs and the complaints which were lodged in diverse jurisdictions pertain to the same incident and are not counterclaims, the Supreme Court was of the view that all the other FIRs except the Maharashtra FIR, can be quashed for being identical and abuse of process.

To elaborate the law on this subject, the Supreme Court placed reliance on the decision in TT Antony v State of Kerala[1]. The Court relied upon the decision in Kari Choudhary v Mst. Sita Devi[2], wherein the Court held that there cannot be two FIRs against the same accused in respect of the same case, but where there are rival versions of the FIRs with respect to the same incident, investigation needs to proceed in both the FIRs.

To supplement further, the Court also relied upon the decision in Upkar Singh v. Ved Prakash[3], wherein the Court while discussing the purport of CrPC held that the decision in TT Antony would not preclude a filing of a second complaint in the same incident if filed as a counter-complaint. This view was further reiterated in Babu Bhai v. State of Gujarat, that when there are two FIRs with different versions or counterclaims, an investigation in both the FIRs has to be concluded.

4.     Amitbhai Anilchandra Shah v. CBI (2013): The SC has considered the applicability of the ‘consequence test’ (as laid down by SC in C. Muniappan v. State of Tamil Nadu, 2010). As per this test, no fresh investigation can take place on receipt of subsequent information in respect of the same cognizable offence or the same occurrence or incident giving rise to the same cognizable offence. It has further been held that the second FIR is permissible in the case of cross cases and it is also permissible if the offence disclosed does not form part of the first FIR or it cannot be said to be part of the same transaction as covered by the first FIR or cannot be said to be arising as a consequence of the offence covered by the first FIR. Thus, it is settled that subsequent FIRs for different offences committed in the course of the same transaction or offences arising as a consequence of prior offences are not permissible.   

As per the CBI, the alleged criminal conspiracy commenced when Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi (whose deaths were in question in the first FIR) and Tulsiram Prajapati (whose death was in question in the second FIR) were abducted from Hyderabad after which Sohrabuddin was allegedly killed on 25/26.11.2005 and Kausarbi and Tulsiram Prajapati were killed thereafter since they were, as per CBI, the eyewitnesses. The learned Additional Solicitor General appearing for the CBI said that it is the definite case of the CBI that the abduction of Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi and their subsequent murders as well as the murder of Tulsiram Prajapati are distinct offences arising out of separate conspiracies through inter-connected with each other as the motive behind the murder of Tulsiram Prajapati was to destroy the evidence in respect of the abduction of Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi, as he was a prime witness to the said incident.

The only exception to the law declared in T.T. Anthony (supra), which is carved out in Upkar Singh (supra) is to the effect that when the second FIR consists of alleged offences which are in the nature of the cross-case/cross-complaint or a counter-complaint, such cross-complaint would be permitted as the second FIR. In the case on hand, it is not the case of the CBI that the FIR in Tulsiram Prajapati’s case is a cross FIR or a counter-complaint to the FIR filed in Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi’s case being FIR dated 01.02.2010. In the case on hand, as explained in the earlier parts, in our opinion, the second FIR was nothing but a consequence of the event which had taken place on 25/26.11.2005.



1.     Hence on the ground that the facts of the case fail the ‘test of sameness’ and ‘consequence test’, the court is unable to club the FIRs. As the details of the students in each, the category and course are different and even the witnesses in each case are different. FIRs reveal that the same kind of offence has been committed by the accused multiple times.

2.     Also, the FIRs were registered in the year 2015, thereafter the investigation had continued but the petitioners had at no point time raised any objection or taken any action for the clubbing of the FIRs. Now, when the investigation is completed, and the challan is ready the petitioner had approached the court for such relief. At this belated stage, no such relief can be granted. The only, remedy before the petitioner is to make a prayer before the trial court for common trial u/s 220 of CrPC.

It is worth noting that, had the separate FIRs been registered in respect of each student of the same course and category, then it could be said to be a case of multiple FIRs for the same offence, but that is not so in the present case.  



Test of Sameness

Chaitanbhai Nipunchandra Amin v state of Gujarat (2016): when FIRs relate to the same incident in respect of the same occurrence or are in regard to incidents having 2 or more parts of the same transaction.

Babubhai v State of Gujarat (2010): registration of an FIR any further complaint in connection with the same or connected offence relating to the incident or incidents which are part of the same transaction is not permissible.

Consequence test  

When different offences are committed in the course of the same transaction or offences arising as a consequence of a prior offence.


Manoranjana Sinh v. CBI, (2017) 5 SCC 218

Judges: Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy


The appellant, a charge-sheeted accused in judicial custody in connection with the infamous “Chit Fund Scam” involving the Saradha Group in the illicit operations to allure unsuspecting depositors to make investments in the scheme with the promise of awarding them with attractive rewards and returns. Violated SEBI Act, Companies Act and IT Act.

It was recorded that the scam had spread its roots in the different States of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and Odisha and had by then devoured Rs. 10,000 crores approximately from the public in general especially the weaker sections of the society, having fallen prey to the temptations of handsome returns, extended by the companies involved.


The basic rule laid down by this Court is that the grant of bail is the rule and its denial is the exception. The appellant was in judicial custody for over 15 months and was suffering from various ailments requiring constant medical attention. She was fully cooperating in the investigation and her judicial confinement was inessential. 

Ratio decidendi

This Court in Sanjay Chandra v. CBI, (2012) 1 SCC 40, also involving an economic offence of formidable magnitude, while dealing with the issue of grant of bail, had observed that deprivation of liberty must be considered a punishment unless it is required to ensure that an accused person would stand his trial when called upon and that the courts owe more than verbal respect to the principle that punishment begins after conviction and that every man is deemed to be innocent until duly tried and found guilty. It was underlined that the object of bail is neither punitive nor preventive.

This Court sounded a caveat that any imprisonment before conviction has substantial punitive content, and it would be improper for any court to refuse bail as a mark of disapproval of conduct whether an accused has been convicted for it or not or to refuse bail to an unconvicted person for the purpose of giving him a taste of imprisonment as a lesson. It was enunciated that since the jurisdiction to grant bail to an accused pending trial or in an appeal against conviction is discretionary in nature, it must be exercised with care and caution by balancing the valuable right of liberty of an individual and the interest of the society in general.

It was elucidated that the seriousness of the charge, is no doubt one of the relevant considerations while examining the application of bail but it was not only the test or the factor and that grant or denial of such privilege, is regulated to a large extent by the facts and circumstances of each particular case. That detention in custody of under-trial prisoners for an indefinite period would amount to a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution was highlighted.


The appeal is allowed, and the appellant is ordered to be released on bail in FIR RC-04/S/2014-(SIT) Kolkata of Rs. 1 (One) crore and on furnishing two local sureties each of the like amounts to the satisfaction of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Alipore, Kolkata, West Bengal. The Conditional bail was granted, with the conditions such as:- Surrender passport, Not to leave the territory of Kolkata, Report to the trial court and investigating officer, once a month, Cooperate with the investigating authority, Would not hinder the investigation in any manner, Any other condition as a trial court may consider fit.


[1] (2001) 6 SCC 181

[2] (2002) 1 SCC 714

[3] (2004) 13 SCC 292

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