Ques: Why was Section 166A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was added by the 2013 Amendment Act? What mischief does it seek to cure?
According to Section 166A of Indian Penal Code, 1860, when a public servant (here meant to be police officers) intentionally (i) disobeys laws that empowers him to take attendance for investigation purpose or (ii) causes harm/ injury to a person even in cases where there is explicit procedure to be followed for investigation or (ii) fails to register complaint (with or without intention) on offences that are cognizable offences in general, he/she is punishable under this section with imprisonment of 6 months to 2 years and will also be fined.
Taking reference from the case – Amit Kumar vs Joginder Singh and ors, (MANU/PH/0477/2019) intent behind the added section of 166A into IPC through the 2013 criminal law amendment can be derived. The main intention of the legislature to bring such an amendment is to reinstate the fading responsibility of police officers/ SHOs as a duty-bound officer of the state to undergo fair investigation. Cognizable offences and the requirement of registering complaint has been stressed upon, especially in certain grave criminal activities, was to curb the mischievous act of police officers in neglecting filing FIRs where it’s been reasoned that the information provided to them is not reasonable and credible. Though this has outrightly spoken in section 154 of IPC, the amendment again stressed upon the same with some specificity which would if not, might be understood loosely. When the section speaks about the investigation by police officers which are in form of causing injury to the general public and making that as punishable, unfair actions and misuse of authority against the general public have been expected to be curbed through the amendment. Also, the amendment was being reinforced through the Circular issued by the Home Ministry of India dated 10.05.2013, which even more stressed upon the punishment as a police officer one would undergo if he’s found to have not complied with the amendment.