The Police has to do a preliminary enquiry before registering a First Information Report (FIR) against former minister M.J. Akbar, who has been accused of rape by his former colleague in her article written in a US-based newspaper.
However, the police have said that it will wait for a complaint by the US-based woman journalist before proceeding with the investigation.
Senior Advocate K.V. Viswanathan also said that police should act with caution and not do anything hastily.
A journalist, formerly associated with Asian Age, narrated in the Washington Post her detailed account and described the incident of rape and various others incidents of sexual assault on her 23 years ago calling them "the most painful memories of my life".
Akbar on Friday termed allegations of rape by the journalist a "lie" and claimed they had entered into a "consensual relationship".
"If the contents of this article are given to a police officer in the form of an information, because of the huge delay, the Police officer has to do a preliminary enquiry before registering the first information report, as per Supreme Court judgement on Lalita Kumari issue," Viswanathan told IANS.
The senior advocate maintained that police cannot straightaway register an FIR in this case. However, the police have to be satisfied that there was a good reason for the delay.
"It will be extremely unjust to register a criminal case 23 years after the alleged incident, when the complainant is a well-read person, with a good position in life and has not been under the influence of Akbar, admittedly for at least two decades," the advocate said.
However, known advocate Vrinda Grover said that if a woman approached the police then the police can register an FIR against Akbar. As per law, on the basis of the article, police can register an FIR against Akbar, conduct investigation in the case and can approach the woman journalist for recording her evidence, said Grover.
But Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa said that under Section 154 of The Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) regarding a cognizable offence like rape, molestation or outraging the modesty of a woman, FIR can be registered only when a complaint either oral or in writing is given to a police officer by the victim.
Pahwa said that an FIR can be registered in a police station which has jurisdiction to investigate, the place where the offence has taken place.
Young lawyer Ashish Dixit said that normally the police acts on a written complaint in case of sexual assault because the victim's statement has to be recorded before a magistrate. "Suo Motu FIR or zero FIR will not be an efficacious remedy as in the absence of the complainant, the matter will not proceed further," Dixit said.
(With inputs from agencies.)