LAHORE The Punjab government is devising mechanism to discourage registration of fake First Information Reports and wrong indictment of innocent people in the FIRs. To bring an end to this menace, it has been decided that strict disciplinary should be taken against police officers notorious for registration of fake FIRs, and indicting the 'complainants who were behind implicating the innocent in bogus cases. In this regard, at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Punjab Nasir Mehmood Khan Khosa in attendance was top cops and bureaucracy it was observed that lodging of fake FIRs or nomination of innocent people was mainly used as means to exploit and extort, and the victims were trapped in a vicious circle which ultimately culminated into economic devastation and sometimes tragic incidents. In the rural set up, it is a major impediment in social cohesion, fostering family feuds, draining even limited resources, and ultimately encumbrance on public exchequer with unnecessary burden on the police and courts, quoted the source about attendees observations, while adding that elements of collusion, misuse and malafide interpretation of courts and executive orders, issuance of fake Medico-Legal Certificates (MLCs) were found to be the major contributory factors. Consequently, a huge pendency for discharge of cancelled cases in the courts kept the fate of innocent people hanging. The meeting decided that no amendment was required in the existing laws to make Section 182 of the PPC a cognisable offence with enhanced punishment though it was argued that 'it is the certainty not the severity of the punishment which could compel the complainants not to implicate innocent people. If a proper monitoring mechanism is put in place, the existing laws, resources and government machinery can tackle the issue, opined the attendees, endorsing the idea that the prosecutors and police officials should be educated when and where to apply Section 182, 193, 211 and 250 of the PPC and other relevant laws. About heavy pendency of cancelled cases for discharge orders in courts and with the Prosecutors, it was decided that 90 per cent pendency of the cancelled FIRs should be cleared within three months. However, SPs (Inv) before submission of FIRs for discharge will ensure that the cancellation reports are based on well-founded and cogent reasons. A direction was issued that the local police and the Prosecutors will ensure effective enforcement and trial of Qalandras by applying the relevant penal sections against the complainants having lodged fake cases. The convictions will be reviewed on monthly basis. For discouraging the for registration of fake FIRs, it was decided that strict disciplinary action should be taken against police officers notorious for registering fake FIRs. Secondly, the direction was issued that before ascertaining guilt, arrests should not be incorporated and that too with recorded cogent reasons. It was also decided that the tendency of putting the accused persons unnecessarily in Column No. 2 should be discouraged. In this regard, inspection of police stations by the supervisory tiers, as envisaged in the law and incorporating their observations and guidelines for the staff, was considered important. For the issuance of fake MLCs and vague medical reports, the Secretary Health was directed to take action against the notorious medical officers of five top districts. It was also suggested that Forensic and other labs should be revamped by screening the corrupt functionaries and eliminating the mafia around. Secondly, the Health Department was directed to take steps for the capacity building of deputed Medical Officers in report writing besides familiarising them with relevant provisions of law. Lastly, for creating deterrence against the registration of fake FIRs, it was decided that a media campaign should be tailored to create public awareness to sensitise the masses by highlighting miseries of the victims, delicacy of the issue, wastage of time and resources. Moreover, the media campaign must highlight a warning about the consequences and repercussions for lodging such FIRs. To meet the objectives, each department would achieve the given targets within the stipulated time of three months for which fortnightly review meetings would be held. MARCH 4, 2010