Detailed article on F.I.R

FIR- FIRST INFORMATION REPORT

Meaning

The information regarding commission of an offense has to be entered in a book available with the police. The information so recorded is called First Information Report i.e. F.I.R. It is an information to the police station at first in point of time that an offense has been committed and on the basis of which the investigation is commenced. Vague, cryptic and indefinite telephonic information cannot be treated as F.I.R. But it need not be an encyclopedia containing every minute detail of the offense (Manoj v. State of Maharashtra (JT 1999 (2) SC 58).

Section-154 of CrPC. Information in cognizable cases.
(1) Every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be read Over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf.

(2) A copy of the information as recorded under sub- section (1) shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.

(3) Any person aggrieved by a refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to record the information referred to in subsection (1) may send the substance of such information, in writing and by post, to the Superintendent of Police concerned who, if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him, in the manner provided by this Code, and such officer shall have all the powers of an officer in charge of the police station in relation to that offence.

 

FIRST INFORMATION REPORT

  • An information given under sub-sec(1) of sec 154 of CrPC is commonly known as FIR.
  • It is the earliest and the first information of a cognizable offence recorded by an officer-in-charge of a police station.
  • It sets the criminal law in motion and start the investigation and submitted the charge sheet u/s 173 of CrPC after completion of the investigation.

Importance of FIR

The principal object of the F.I.R is to set the criminal law in motion and to obtain information about the alleged criminal activity so as to be able to take suitable steps to trace and bring to book the guilty. Hence, Sec. 154 has a three-fold object, which is:

  1. To inform the Magistrate and the District S. P. who are responsible for the peace and safety of the district, of the offences reported at the police station;
  2. To make known to the judicial officers before whom the case is ultimately tried, what are the facts given out immediately after the occurrence and the materials on the basis of which the investigation commenced,
  3. To safeguard the accused against subsequent variations or additions.

In order to qualify as an FIR under Section 154, the following essentials need to be fulfilled:

  1. It is an information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence;
  2. It is given by the informant either orally or in writing;
  3. If given oral, it should be reduced to writing by the officer in charge of a police, station or under his direction and if given in writing or reduced to writing shall be signed by the person giving it;
  4. The substance of the information shall be entered in a book in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf. This book is called ‘General Diary’.
  5. In order for the information to be qualified as an FIR there must be something in the nature of complaint or accusation regarding commission of a cognizable offence.

Essentials of FIR

  • IT must be first point of time
  • It must related to the commission of a cognizable offence
  • It must be made to the officer in charge of a police station.
  • The information may be given orally or in writing
  • It must be signed or marked by the informant
  • If it is orally ,it must reduce to writing
  • A copy of the FIR shall be given free of cost to the informant

If the information is given by the women against whom an offence u/s-326 A, 326 B,354,354A-D,376,376 A-E AND 509 OF IPC is alleged such information shall be recorded by women police officer or any women officer.

Further, provided that this offence have been committed or attempt is temporarily or permanent mental or physical disabled person then such information shall be receive by a police officer at the residence of that person seeking to report such offence or at the convenient place of such person choice. In presence of interpreter or a special educator.

Recording of such information shall be videography.

Evidentiary value of F.I.R:

  • The value of F.I.R depends on the circumstances of each case, nature of the crime, information and opportunity of witnessing the offence (AIR 1973 SC 476)
  • F. I. R. is not a substantive piece of evidence. It can be used either for corroboration under Section 157, or for contradiction under Section 145 of the Evidence Act, of the maker of the statement. (State Of Orissa vs. Chakradhar Behera And Ors, AIR 1964 Ori 262,)
  • F.I.R can be used to prove motive, prove previous conduct of accused
  • F.I.R can be used for cross-examination of informant who gave such information.
  • For refreshing informer’s memory.
  • For impeaching the credit of an informer.
  • For proving informer’s conduct.
  • . For establishing identity of accused, witnesses & for fixing spot time as relevant facts u/s 9 Evidence Act.

Who can lodge an F.I.R ?

  • An FIR can be lodged by the victim, a witness to the incident, or any person with knowledge of the incident.
  • A police officer who come to know the commission of the cognizable offence can file an FIR.

DELAY OF LODGING OF FIR?

  • THE LAW has not fixed any time for lodging the fir. As per the law, the first information report is to be registered as soon as possible so that no time is wasted and the culprit is caught timely and no danger is present to others.
  • FIR is an information of first in point of time, Delay result in embellishment, and danger of introducing of the colour version.
  • Delay lodging FIR without satisfying explained is lucked upon with the grave suspicion because there are chance of fabrication.
  • Whenever there is a delay it must be properly explained.

In Kulwant Singh and others vs State of Punjab (2012) 3 Cri. L.J. 2199 (S.C.) it was held that delay in lodging FIR is not a ground to throw away the entire prosecution case.

It was held in Satpal Singh vs State of Haryana (2010) 4 Cr. L.J. 4283 (S.C.) that delay in FIR lodging in the sexual offence has to be considered with a different yardstick.

 

The supreme court held that in a rape case lodging of FIR was delayed for 10 days, the delay will be deemed to have been reasonably explained where the honor of the family was involved and its member had to decide whether to take the matter to the court or not.(Harpal Singh and another versus State of Himachal Pradesh, 1981 Cr. L.J. 1 (S.C.)

In Bathula Nagamalleswara Rao & Ors. vs. State Rep. By Public Prosecutor]the Apex Court held that:

‘Delay in lodging of FIR, if justifiably explained, will not fatal. An undue delay in lodging a First Information Report is always looked with a certain amount of suspicion and should as far as possible be avoided’.

In State of H P Vs Gian Chand (2001) 6 SCC 71 Hon’ble Supreme Court of India observed as,

‘Delay in lodging the FIR cannot be used as a ritualistic formula for doubting the prosecution case and discarding the same solely on the ground of delay in lodging the first information report. Delay has the effect of putting the court on its guard to search if any explanation has been offered ‘for the delay, and if offered, whether it is satisfactory or not. If the prosecution fails to satisfactorily explain the delay and there is a possibility of embellishment in the prosecution version on account of such delay, the delay would be fatal to the prosecution. However, if the delay is explained to the satisfaction of the court, the delay cannot by itself be a ground for disbelieving and discarding the entire prosecution case’

What about F.I.R on telephone or telegram OR EMAIL?

Legally a case may not be registered as –
(a) as there is always a doubt about its authenticity
(b) as it does not satisfy the tests of Section 154 Criminal Procedure Code being not an oral statement reduced into writing; read over, admitted correct and signed by the informer.

Message to the police on telephone that an injured person was lying amount to FIR (Sukharam Vs. State of Maharashtra (1969) 3 SCC, 730.

Any person who is victim of an offence or who is a witness to any such offence or who has knowledge about the commission of any such offence can lodge an F.I.R. The FIR can be got recorded on telephone or even through e-mail and it is not necessary for the informer to be present personally before the police for registration of FIR.

Depends on the facts of each case. If not vague it can be treated as FIR.

A message sent by telephone to the police officer and recorded by him in his station diary, which discloses an information regarding a cognizable offense, is First Information Report.

If the telephonic message by any person is not recorded by the police inspector into writing and signed duly, it will not be considered as a First Information Report.

At many police stations in India, even an email or WhatsApp message can be registered as a First Information Report, provided they are not vague and comes under the ambit of information as provided in section 154.[1]

What to do if an offence is non-cognizable in nature

An FIR is filed only when the offence is of cognizable nature. In non-cognizable offenses, the informant has to approach the officer in charge, who then:
•    Enters such information in his book (format prescribed by the State Government).
•    A police officer can begin with the investigation for a non-cognizable offense, only after receiving an order from the magistrate under section 155(3) of the CrPC.
•    The power of investigation of a police officer is the same in cognizable and non-cognizable offenses, except the power to arrest without a warrant.
•    Hence, if a person wants to register a complaint regarding the commission of a non-cognizable offense, he/she has to first register a complaint with the magistrate having jurisdiction.
•    There are no strict norms pertaining to the format of a complaint. A complaint can be in the form of an affidavit or a petition or a letter. After receiving the complaint, the magistrate will decide upon the issue of cognizance. If the magistrate is satisfied that a non-cognizable offense has been committed, he can order for further investigations.

Immunity against FIR

  • A police officer cannot register an F.I.R against the President of India and governors of the Indian states while they are holding their office, because they enjoy the immunity as per Article 361 of the constitution of India.
  • Also no FIR can be registered against any sitting member of the legislature or Parliament for anything spoken or done on the floor of the house. But the police officer shall register a case if it is preferred by the speaker of the concerned house or any person authorized by him. These members are protected by Article 105 and 194 of the Constitution of India. However, it is to be noted they are liable for criminal prosecution for any act committed by them in their private capacity outside the Legislature and Parliament.

It is thus very important for every individual in India to understand the basic concepts related to an FIR.

A brief understanding of the FIR not only empowers an individual with their rights but also helps them to decide the proper course of action when they are at the receiving end of a cognizable offence.

Can your later version become an F.I.R

FIR will remain the same on which the investigation was started. The later statement being during investigation, even if found true cannot become F.I.R

Two FIR’s – Quashing – When facts disclose prima facie cognizable case and also disclose remarkable identity between two FIRs as if the first FIR is filed second time with no change in allegations then Court may, in appropriate case, consider it proper to quash the second FIR. (2018(1) Criminal Court Cases 001 (S.C.)

What to do If Police Refuse To Register FIR

It is a common notion that people are often refused an FIR registration.

If you are reporting a crime and the police denies to register your FIR on unreasonable grounds, you can make a complaint to a higher ranking officer. If the Police still deny  lodging your FIR, you can make a formal complaint to the nearest judicial magistrate, who will direct the police to register the FIR if deemed necessary. Various States as well as the National Human Rights Commission provide the service of e-complaints where these complaints against the defaulter police officials can be filled on the Network Channel.

Can the police refuse to file my complaint?

Yes and no. A police officer can refuse to file your complaint if he believes the case is of petty issue or also if they don’t have the territorial jurisdiction in such cases. Crimes are generally segregated into ‘cognizable’ and ‘non-cognizable’ offences. FIRs are lodged only for cognizable crimes, for non-cognizable crimes a complaint is submitted to the magistrate who in return directs the police for action.

IF A person has a grievance that the police station is not registration his FIR U/S=154 CR.P.C. THEN HE CAN approach the Superintendent of Police u/s 154 (3) of Cr.p.c. In written.

Even if that does not yield any satisfied result ,it open from him to file a application u/s-156 (3) is filed before the magistrate. The magistrate can direct the FIR TO BE REGISTRED AND ALSO CAN DIRECCT  a proper investigation can made. The magistrate can also on same provision

Monitor the investigation:

A written Complaint in the form of a Letter may be made to the concerned Judicial / Metropolitan Magistrate, and the Magistrate is empowered to take cognizance of the said letter complaint by virtue of section 190 of CrPC, 1973. However, the Magistrate concerned is at discretion to act or not to act on the said Letter Complaint.

He may prefer an oral / written Complaint before Judicial Magistrate / Metropolitan Magistrate u/s 200 of CrPC, 1973; and the Magistrate after examining the Complainant and his witnesses, may issue Summons / Warrant u/s 204 of CrPC, 1973, against persons made accused in the complaint. The Magistrate in his discretion, before issuance of Summons / Warrant, u/s 202 of CrPC, 1973, may conduct an inquiry by himself or cause an inquiry to b conducted by a Police Officer

A Writ Petition in the respective High Court may be filed for the issuance of Writ of Mandamus against the defaulting Police officers, inter alia, to Register the FIR and directing him to show cause

Section 166A(c) now, expressly makes a punishable offence if the Public servant concerned fails to record any information given to him under sub-section (1) of section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, in relation to cognizable offence punishable under section 326A, section 326B, section 354, section 354B, section 370, section 370A, section 376, section 376A, section 376B, section 376C, section 376D, section 376E or section 509 of the Indian Penal Code.

Supreme Court Guidelines on FIR

Lalita Kumari v Government of Uttar Pradesh and Others, Criminal Original Jurisdiction, Writ Petition (Criminal) No 68 OF 2008, Supreme Court of India judgement dated November 12, 2013: The Supreme Court held that:

  1. i) Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code, if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation.
  2. ii) If the information received does not disclose a cognizable offence but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted only to ascertain whether cognizable offence is disclosed or not.

iii) If the inquiry discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, the FIR must be registered. In cases where preliminary inquiry ends in closing the complaint, a copy of the entry of such closure must be supplied to the first informant forthwith and not later than one week. It must disclose reasons in brief for closing the complaint and not proceeding further.

  1. iv) The police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering offence if cognizable offence is disclosed. Action must be taken against erring officers who do not register the FIR if information received by him discloses a cognizable offence.
  2. v) The scope of preliminary inquiry is not to verify the veracity or otherwise of the information received but only to ascertain whether the information reveals any cognizable offence.
  3. vi) As to what type and in which cases preliminary inquiry is to be conducted will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case.

The category of cases in which preliminary inquiry may be made are as under:

  1. a) Matrimonial disputes/ family disputes
    b) Commercial offences
    c) Medical negligence cases
    d) Corruption cases
    e) Cases where there is abnormal delay/laches in initiating criminal prosecution, for example, over 3 months delay in reporting the matter without satisfactorily explaining the reasons for delay

The police officer is duty bound to lodge FIR in every cognizable case. And if a police officer gets a complaint from an aggrieved person about the cognizable offense, he must lodge a FIR

What is a Zero FIR?

A Zero FIR allows for any police station to register an FIR, regardless of their jurisdictional area.  It is usually used for crimes such as murder and rape and other cognizable offences, i.e. an offence for which police can take action without prior court approval. Initial action and investigation are conducted before it is transferred to the appropriate jurisdictional station as required. It is helpful for crimes that require an immediate response as it allows for swifter action that is not bogged down by the bureaucratic procedure as well as accounts for whether the police station under whose jurisdiction the crime was committed is not easily accessible.

Difference between the FIR and ZERO FIR

First Understand the FIR, it stands for First Information Report every FIR has serial no, date of occurrence, time of occurrence, place of occurrence, contents of the complaint, etc. and it is lodged because of commission of cognizable offence  (an offence in which police can take suo moto action and no prior approval from court is required). Every police station has its own jurisdictional area for which they can take up the investigation if the commission of any cognizable offence found under their jurisdiction. Suppose my Bag is theft at Bus stand of Taj Mahal, Delhi then the police station whose under Taj Mahal come will lodge my FIR and investigate it.

But in the case of Zero FIR, any police station can register FIR irrespective of jurisdictional area, but the investigation will be taken up by the police in which place of occurrence reported in FIR. The police officer registers the zero FIR marking it serial no. 00 and transfer to the competent jurisdictional police station area which has jurisdiction over the matter and that police station will number the FIR, means putting a serial no. (014) etc. on the FIR.

           Take a famous example of Aasaram Bapu Rape case, In the FIR, the place of occurrence of offence falls under the jurisdiction of Jodhpur, Rajasthan but the Police Station Kamla Market, Delhi registered the FIR, then transferred it to Jodhpur, for further investigation. Then Jodhpur police taken up the investigation.

The sanctity of the legal process remains the same in zero FIR. It is very helpful for people as it facilitates them by not allowing to make rounds of different police station for lodging the FIR.

 

CONCLUSION

As mentioned above, it can be concluded that these are various essentials, requirements, and standard procedure for lodging an FIR under CrPC(Criminal Procedure Code), along with when delay of lodging an FIR can be accepted and when it cannot based on if it provides a satisfactory explanation. Thus, it can rightly be said that,

FIR is a document that places on record the victim’s side of the story.
FIR acts as a tool on which police authorities’ base and start their investigations
Consequently, Section 154[1] of the Criminal Procedure Code (hereinafter referred to as CrPC), makes it clear that an FIR can be registered in cognizable offenses only.

Sample Draft of F.I.R

Date: _____ 20__

To
The Station House Officer
____________
Delhi

Complaint against the following accused to register a FIR under section 403, 405, 406, 420, 120B and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.

1. Mr. _____________ Accused No. 1
New Delhi

2. Mrs. _____________ Accused No. 2
New Delhi.

Sir,

I am a retired employee of __________________Corporation.

That Mr. ______________, my Cousin Brother and Mrs. _________________ his wife convinced me that, since I am out of India, they will purchase a property for me in India and compelled me to add their name as joint holders of my bank account with _________ No __________ to pay money for purchase of property, which will be registered after my return from abroad. Thereafter from ______to _________ Mr. __________ handled all my bank account and entire finances.

I have used my Bank Account No. _____________ with ____________,___________ , opened on ____________, exclusively for crediting my entire salary, savings, and retirement benefits.

Mr. ______________ told me that he would purchase property in my name and took pre-signed cheques and blank signed papers. His wife, Mrs. __________, working as __________ with _______________, joined with him in handling my finances.

On 20__ I returned from __________ and found that I had only a few thousand rupees balance available in my ___________ Bank account. I requested Mr. __________ and Mrs. T __________, to furnish my bank statement and papers of property purchased by using my money, but they refused to give me passbook or any bank statement or any property papers. I thus had to personally write to all the concerned banks insisting that they send me the account statements. After many months of painstaking follow up I got some bank statements from some of the banks.

My bank statement with __________ Bank shows that for the period from ____ ___ to ___ ___ a sum of Rs._____/- was credited into my account as my salary and retirement benefits. Amount of Rs. _____ has been siphoned off by Mr. _____ and Mrs. ______ and used for the personal wealth creation.

They have thus committed offences punishable under section 403 of IPC -Dishonest misappropriation of property, section 405 of IPC – Criminal Breach of Trust, Section 406 of IPC- Punishment for Criminal Breach of Trust, section 420 of IPC – Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property and section 120B of IPC- Punishment of criminal conspiracy.

I, therefore, request you to kindly register a FIR against the afore mentioned accused No. 1 to 2 under section 403, 405, 406, 420 and 120B and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and initiate investigation.

Yours sincerely,

__________
Address:
Delhi
Mobile No: ________

 

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