My father got into a lot of debt sometime back due to his gambling habits and had no means of paying them back. When the creditors started to force their hands, he resorted to writing them cheques which obviously bounced. This invited a lot of trouble and he was booked under Section 420 of IPC and had an arrest warrant on his name. He fled thereafter terminating all contact with family and acquaintances. Haven’t heard or seen him in the past three years. For a few months after that we received notices from the court which we didn’t accept. It stopped for a while.
Today, two cops showed up at our house asking for his whereabouts and we told them all we knew. However, they weren’t convinced with that and told us it doesn’t stand well in front of the court nor with the police and that we’re hiding information from them. I smelled something fishy and asked them why’d they come looking after so many years? And so it turns out that the court has demanded a statement from the T.I. as to why the court-hearing has been pending for 3 years. He then went on telling us that since we haven’t filed an F.I.R. for a missing person, we might face some legal implications. In our defence, why file an F.I.R. for a person who fled by choice. Obviously, this isn’t enough and after giving them a statement, we might still get a notice from court to appear in front of the judge. After much debate, I pursued them to allow us some time. We have until tomorrow when we go down to a Police Station to give a statement.
In a criminal case the family of the accused is not liable to be prosecuted for the criminal acts of his/her relative. A person alone is responsible and answerable for his acts.
Having said that it should be noted that since you are the closest link to your father, the investigating agencies may also question you or your relatives about the whereabouts of your father. You should be ready to face this hassle and stress.
Please be aware that whoever knowingly harbours an offender (conceals a person whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the offender, with the intention of screening him from legal punishment) is also guilty.
Your logic for not filling an FIR seems reasonable. If summoned before a judge also the judge is likely to confront you about the whereabouts of your father. Be forthcoming and honestly respond to the queries.
If your father is declared a Proclaimed Offender (s. 82 CrPc) then his property may also be attached under S. 83 CrPc.
Please seek legal assistance to help you muddle through the seemingly daunting complexities of the legal system.