Updated: Jul 16, 2020
This articles attempts to give an insight on numerous aspects of FIR that a layman must know along with the steps and procedures involved in filing an FIR.
First Information Report (FIR) as the name suggest is the first piece of information that is reported to the police officer on duty regarding the crime. The information needs to be of cognizable offence (offence in which a police officer has the authority to arrest without a warrant and to start an investigation with or without permission of court). The information can be provided by aggrieved person or any other person like family members, witness etc.
Cognizable Offence : A cognizable offence is one in which the police may arrest a person without warrant. They are authorised to start investigation into a cognizable case on their own and do not require any orders from the court to do so.
Non-cognizable Offence : A non-cognizable offence is an offence in which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant. The police cannot investigate such an offence without the court's permission.
WHO CAN LODGE AN FIR?
The FIR can be filed by any person, including police officer, who is aware of the offence. He/She does not have to be victim, eye-witness or injured of the offence. The informant can lodge FIR on hearsay information and is not required to have first hand information of the facts.
WHERE IS IT TO BE FILED?
The FIR is required to be filed in the police station within whose jurisdiction the cognizable offence has been committed.
If the FIR has been filed in a police station that does not have jurisdiction over the offence, it can initially be filed there and then be transferred to the police station of appropriate jurisdiction. This is known as Zero FIR. It is filed irrespective of the jurisdictional limitations and location of the offence to avoid delay in filing the crime and to avoid wastage of time which in turn may affect the whole process of investigation and collection of evidence.
An e-FIR can be filed for any cognizable offence on the online portal which differs from state to state. Some states have adopted the system of e-FIR and have created platforms for the same, while in some states, the concept of e-FIR is still not present or is under development.
The e-FIR system was introduced to help those victims who cannot personally visit the police station due to travel constraints, bodily injury, saving oneself from shame or any other case.
WHAT ESSENTIALS SHOULD BE MENTIONED IN FIR?
1. Your name and address;
2. Date, time and location of the incident you are reporting;
3. The true facts of the incident as they occurred;
4. Names and descriptions of the persons involved in the incident.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE TO FILE AN FIR?
Important points to be taken into consideration as per Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 that defines the term FIR are as follows :
1. The nature of the crime reported in the FIR should be cognizable, only then the FIR could be lodged.
2. The information must be in writing. If it is given orally, it shall be reduced to writing by the officer in charge of the police station and must be read over to the informant
(The reduction of oral statements to writing and signature by the informant on the same is undertaken to discourage false, vague and irresponsible statements made by informants and placing responsibility upon them for the statement that is being made)
3. Thereafter, the FIR shall be signed by the informant and the record shall be entered into the book of the officer at the police station. The informant should sign the report only after verifying that the information recorded by the police is as per the details given by the informant. People who cannot read or write must put their left thumb impression on the document after being satisfied that it is a correct record.
NOTE : If the informant refuses to sign the FIR, the informant would be punishable of the offence under Section 180 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC).
4. The informant is not supposed to be charged for the copy of the information. It is given free of cost. It is the right of the informant to get a copy of the FIR free of cost.
WHAT IF THE FIR IS NOT REGISTERED?
1. In a situation wherein the officer in charge of the police station denies to lodge FIR, the aggrieved informant may send the information to the Superintended Police (SP) or other higher officers like Deputy Inspector General of Police & Inspector General of Police and bring your complaint to their notice. Henceforth, if the SP is satisfied that all essentials of the information are fulfilled to be FIR then either the SP can investigate the case on its own or direct the police officer subordinate to him to investigate the case.
2. Aggrieved informant can file a private complaint before the court having jurisdiction.
3. Aggrieved informant can also make a complaint to the State Human Rights Commission or the National Human Rights Commission if the police does nothing to enforce the law or does it in a biased and corrupt manner
The police may not investigate a complaint even if you file a FIR, when:
(i) The case is not serious in nature;
(ii) When there is not enough ground to investigate for the police
However, the police must record the reasons for not conducting an investigation and in the latter case must also inform you. —[Section 157, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973]
THE GOLDEN PRINCIPLE
FIR should be filed at the very first instance without any delay. Some of the advantages of the instant filing of the FIR can be stated as follows :
1. It gains credibility as report filed with delay may be incorrect or missing out on some key information
2. The chances for tampering of evidences is reduced.
3. Delay in filing FIR causes suspicion.
4. There would be hardly any variances in recalling the incident.
WHY IS FIR IMPORTANT?
FIR is an important document as it sets the process of criminal justice in motion. It is to be noted that only after the FIR is registered in the police station that the police takes up the investigation of most types of cases.
THINGS NOT TO BE DONE:
1. Never file a false complaint or give wrong information to the police. You can be prosecuted under law for giving wrong information or for misleading the police. —[Section 203, Indian Penal Code 1860]
2. Never exaggerate or distort facts.
3. Never make vague or unclear statements