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Trap without FIR or complaint

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate (Lucknow)

Online advising since Oct. 2014

Criminal Law

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Question: I want the quashing of trap proceeding. The Maharashtra anti corruption team has trapped me without lodging a complaint or first information report. In this situation can I challenge the trap case in the High Court because the trap was without FIR? After the trap they prepared a report and submitted it to the court. The court has granted seven days judicial custody. Please suggest what I should do?

Asked from: Maharashtra

The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) does not conduct a trap without lodging a complaint. When the ACB receives a complaint against a government servant, it conducts a pre-trap inquiry. The pre-trap inquiry is a fact finding inquiry to check the veracity of a complaint. If the ACB finds that the complaint is genuine then it plans a trap. 

Hence, before conducting a trap the ACB has a formal complaint and incriminating material against the government servant. Therefore, your assumption that the trap was conducted without FIR is wrong. You cannot challenge the trap proceeding on this ground only.

The trap team prepares a detailed report about the entire trap proceeding. If the team has committed any error while conducting the trap then you can challenge it in the High Court. 

Quashing of trap

The High Court can quash the trap proceeding if it finds the trap illegal or violative of settled principles of law. On the following grounds you can approach the High Court for quashing the trap and the FIR. After conducting a successful trap the ACB lodges an FIR.

Devoid of Complaint

The ACB cannot initiate trap proceedings without receiving a complaint from a person. That person in his complaint must state the demand of illegal gratification. He should also state therein the reason and purpose of such a demand. No ACB officer can lodge a complaint on his own behalf and conduct a trap. 

Therefore, devoid of complaint before conducting a trap renders the entire trap proceeding illegal. A formal complaint provides information and evidence towards the demand of bribes. Thus absence of formal complaint will render the trap illegal. Hence, accused can approach the High Court for quashing of entire proceedings. 

Demand of illegal gratification

The object behind the trap is to catch the accused red handed. The trap has been conducted against the government servant if he is demanding illegal gratification. Therefore, if the accused did not demand bribes during the trap, then the High Court can quash the trap along with FIR.

During the trap proceeding the accused must ask or demand money from the complainant. The accused must use some words which have a strong connotation of demand. Demand in an oblique manner will negate the trap proceeding. 

Recovery of money

It is mandatory that ACB must recover money from the accused. The ACB marks some currency notes and enters those details in a pre-trap report. If that money is not recovered from the accused during the trap then the entire proceeding becomes a failure. The ACB cannot proceed further upon such a foul play. Hence, devoid of recovery constitutes a solid ground for quashing of trap and subsequent steps. 

If your case meets any of the above said irregularities then you should file a writ petition in the High Court under Article 226 of the constitution. The High Court may quash the first information report and entire trap proceedings.

shivendra pratap singh advocate

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate (Lucknow)

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