Is it compulsory to lodge FIR before doing panchnama?
Please explain in detail
No. Filing of FIR is not compulsory before preparing Panchnama in a case. FIR can be filed subsequent to a Panchnama also depending on facts of a case.
Panchnama is considered to be a part of the investigation in an offence.
Now, Section 157 of the Criminal Procedure Code lays down “Procedure for Investigation”. Sub-section (1) of this section begins with: “If, from information received or otherwise, an officer in charge of a police station has reason to suspect the commission of an offence which he is empowered under Section 156 to investigate, … … shall proceed in person, or shall depute one of his subordinate officers … …, to proceed, to the spot, to investigate the facts and circumstances of the case, and, if necessary, to take measures for the discovery and arrest of the offender…”.
This section makes it clear that the police officer can start investigation from information received or otherwise. Here, the expression information received implies information received under Section 154 of Cr.P.C., which is FIR. And the expression or otherwise implies that the investigation can be started even without registration of FIR.
Thus, panchnama, being part of investigation, can be prepared before the registration of FIR also, if need arises in the facts of a case, though FIR would be generally registered subsequently.
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