Petty incidents that don’t merit FIRs, add to the paperwork, while people feel they are not being taken seriously
An NC was registered after two women fought in a queue for water. Illustrations/Ravi Jadhav
A threat for a haircut, a municipal official who 'stole' 4 kg apples in lieu of pending tax, a fight in a queue for water – all these take up the valuable time of the police. These hilarious incidents that are serious to those involved in them, fail to merit FIRs, but Mumbai police sees over 20,000 such non-cognisable offences every month. Since 2010 till date, police have registered 17 lakh NCs.
Every police inspector who mans the station house and handles NCs then, says these duties are the most tedious task. "We have to deal with many petty offences throughout the day when we are on station house duties. People come up with such funny issues and convincing them that such petty things are not legally offences, is next to impossible," said a sub-inspector.
Another was lodged after a man claimed another man threatened him with a haircut
Some of the issues that people think are serious included a 'forced' haircut recently. On the 7th of this month, one Prithvi Triwedi (19) approached Mulund police, and requested them to register a complaint against a person who had threatened him to have a haircut. He claimed the person threatened that if Triwedi did not do so, he would take him to a salon and get it cut. Triwedi claimed he had the haircut for his precious hair due to the threat. Police registered an NC against Hiren Chheda (30) under Sections 504 (intentional insult), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of IPC. But they found that Triwedi is a drug addict and used to take money from Chheda. When Chheda asked for his money back after realising that Triwedi used it for drugs, he (Triwedi) cut his hair and went to police with the story.
A vendor claimed a civic official took away 4 kg apples
Another case in which south Mumbai police have registered an NC against a woman last year, involved a heated argument between two women standing in a queue for water. The reason for the argument, the complainant claimed, was that the other woman got in queue out of turn, but the accused claimed she was already there. During the argument, the complainant slipped, and that's why she approached police to register a complaint.
Apples in lieu of tax
In another interesting case, a fruit vendor approached the Tulinj police station claiming that a civic official stole 4 kg apples from him. The police registered an NC, but said that the official came to the vendor's shop as he was as defaulter and had not paid his tax. He then took 4 kg apples from his shop.
A police official said, "We register an NC which comes under Section 155 of CRPC. If there are two NCs against a person, we can start chapter proceedings against him. This means that under CRPC 107, we ask him/her to give us in writing (a bond) that in the next one year they will not commit such a crime again."
"If a police official wants to investigate the NC then he can take court permission under 155(2) of CRPC. If the court grants him permission, only then he can start his investigation, and after it, he has to submit the report to the court," the official added.
According to a police official, when a complainant comes to a police station, he/she is angry. If told it is a petty issue, they start arguing with the police and feel that they are not taking them seriously. The police can't lodge an FIR in such petty crimes so they register NCs.
In 2017, till date 80,000 NCs have been registered