FIR is that information which is given to the police first in point of time. However, every sort of information given first in point of time is not necessary to be an FIR. It is necessary that such information must relate to the commission of cognizable offence. FIR is not defined in Criminal Procedure Code. It is an information which is first in point of time and followed by an investigation as held in the case of Lalita Kumari v. State of U.P.
Section 154(1) lays down the procedure for lodging of FIR. As per this clause, FIR can be given orally or in writing. If it is given orally, then it shall be reduced into writing by the Police officer himself or under his direction by any other police officer. Then it shall be read over to informant so that he may suggest corrections if needed and then it shall be signed by the informant.
As per clause 2, copy of the information shall be given free of cost to the informant. As per clause 3, if police officer refuses to lodge the FIR, then the informant has the remedy to send the written application to Superintendent of Police who shall investigate the case himself or direct any subordinate to do so and he shall have all the powers of SHO.
Purpose of FIR
1. To set the criminal law in motion
2. To inform the police in order to make him to proceed to the spot and to take suitable steps.
3. To inform the magistrate about the offence reported at the police station.
4. To safeguard the accused against any subsequent variation.
Once the information has been given to police officer relating to cognizable offence, he is duty bound to lodge FIR. Thereupon he has to decide whether he will investigate or not under section 157 Proviso. Whatever he decides, he has to send the ‘Occurrence Reports to the Magistrate under section 157(1). But if he decides not to investigate, then the Magistrate may exercise his powers under section 159. FIR is a pre investigation process therefore it will not be hit by section 162.
Whether police officer is duty bound to register an FIR was an issue raised in the case of Lalita Kumari v. State of U.P. Supreme Court while deciding this issue referred to its earlier decision in State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal and Ramesh Kumari v. NCT Delhi 2006 SC. Following guidelines were laid down in this case:
1. Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154, if the information discloses the commission of cognizable offence.
2. FIR must be registered in the FIR register or book notified by the state government and the substance of such information is also to be mentioned in the general diary or station diary.
3. The expression ‘information’ used in Section 154(1) is not qualified by any prefix like reasonable, credible as used under section 41 (1) (b). The non qualification is for the reason that the police officer should not refuse to record any information relating to the commission of any cognizable offence on the ground that he is not satisfied about the reasonableness or credibility of the information.
4. If the information received does not disclose commission of the cognizable offence then preliminary inquiry can be conducted as to ascertain the nature of the offence.
5. Preliminary inquiry must be made in the following cases:
A. Matrimonial offences
B. Corruption cases
C. Medical negligence
D. Commercial cases
E. Where there was inordinate delay in lodging FIR.
6. A preliminary inquiry should be made in 7 days to protect the right of the complainant and the accused. This 7 days time can now be extended to 15 days, and 6 weeks in exceptional cases.
The Court in the above mentioned case observed that the Code contemplates 2 kinds of FIR : 1. Duly signed FIR under section 154.
2. Which is not so recorded covered under the word ‘otherwise’ used under section 157.
It further observed that registration of FIR is mandatory but arrest of the accused on such FIR is not at all necessary.