FIR (First Information Report) - Become an Expert!
By Bhavneet Vohra July 29, 2016
Very often in our daily lives, we come across people complaining about the police for not lodging the FIR and are unaware of their rights for enforcing the same. FIR- which stands for the First Information Report is the initial point or the first step of the investigation of any crime or any particular offence that is initiated by the Police. It is very important for every citizen to know about FIR in order to initiate or begin the criminal proceedings against the person who has committed the crime who is the offender.
First Information Report
Which Law governs the FIR in India?
Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Information in Cognizable Offence) deals with what is commonly known as the First Information report. According to this section, every information that has its relation to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given in an oral form or manner to an Officer in Charge of a Police Station must be reduced or put in writing by him, and after writing it is essential to be read out to the informant. For the authentication of the report, it is important for it to be signed by the person giving it, and it is the duty of the Officer to enter the substance in the book which is kept by him in the prescribed form (Section 154 (1)). It is to be noted that copy of the information recorded, is given to the informant free of cost (Section 154(2)).
What if Officer-in Charge of the Police Station refuses to file FIR?
As per the Section 154(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure,
The aggrieved person may send the same information through the means of post to the Superintendent of Police. If the SP is satisfied that the information provided relates to a Cognizable Offence, then he himself or any subordinate officer investigates the case.
An online complaint can also be filed at their respective State Human Rights Commission by following this link- http://nhrc.nic.in.
There is a recent judgement by the Supreme Court of India, according to which it is mandatory to register FIR under all circumstances in cognizable offence-
Lalita Kumari V Govt of U.P and Ors
WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 68 OF 2008
To read the whole judgement- http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/outtoday/wr68.pdf
How to ensure that FIR has been filed or not?
We need to ensure as per Section 154 that the information provided, is entered in the book (FIR Register) that is maintained in prescribed form of the State. And moreover a copy of the FIR is also provided to the Informant which is free of cost.
What is a Cognizable offence and how is it different from Non Cognizable offence?
Cognizable offence is defined under Section 2(c) of CrPC. In a layman’s language it is an offence in which a Police Officer can arrest without a warrant and it includes more heinous and serious crimes.
Non Cognizable Offence is defined under Section 2(l) of CrPC. In these offences police has no authority to arrest without a warrant and the offences are not as serious as the cognizable offence such as murder.
Apart from this, there can be many loopholes in the lodging of FIR, for which the Indian law do provide some safeguards against it which are as follows:
What if Police Officer because of ill will fabricates changes in FIR and records it wrongly?
Section 218 of Indian Penal Code states if any public servant who is charged with the preparation of any record or other writing, records it in incorrect form with an intention to save the person from punishment or property from forfeiture shall be punished for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
Though our law stated punishment for the above wrong, but the informant while giving the information also should be vigilant enough and behave in a cautious manner and follow the steps as mentioned in Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
What if the informant due to ill will furnishes false information?
Section 177, 182 and 211 states the punishment against the informant for furnishing false information with an ill intention to injure the other person.
Can an FIR be filed online?
Some States in India though have started Online Portals, but that is only eligible for filing complaints for lost articles and minor crimes basically and not for filing FIRs because they relate cognizable offences which are more heinous and serious crimes and is filed at the discretion of the Police Officer. In some states, the police after verification of the complaint can register the same. So to file online complaints following links can be accessed.
- Himachal Pradesh- http://admis.hp.nic.in/himpol/Citizen/OnlineComplaints.aspx
- Mumbai- https://mumbaipolice.maharashtra.gov.in/complaint.asp
- Tamil Nadu- http://www.tnpolice.gov.in/CCTNSNICSDC/ComplaintStatusPage?0
- Delhi- http://www.delhipolice.nic.in/register.html
- Madhya Pradesh- http://mppolice.gov.in/Complaints/NewComplaints.aspx
- Jharkhand- http://jofs.jhpolice.gov.in/
- Haryana- http://haryanapoliceonline.gov.in/FAQs.aspx#q1
What an FIR looks like?
The following link shows an example of the format of FIR that is taken up by the state of Odisha- http://odishapolice.gov.in/sites/default/files/PDF/FIR.pdf
Schedule 1 of IPC defines the different forms of offences which are categorized into cognizable and non-cognizable. So to ensure that for which offences FIR will be bound to be filed by the Officer-in- Charge, we can have a look at the following schedule given in the following link- http://ecourts.gov.in/sites/default/files/classification.pdf
Some of the common cognizable offences include-
- Murder- Section 302 IPC
- Theft- Section 379 IPC
- Waging war against Indian Government- Section 121 IPC
- Culpable Homicide not amounting to murder- Section 304.
FIR is a beginning step which sets the law into motion. Though FIR cannot be used as substantive evidence but it has its validity and the informant should ensure that every single minute detail is covered without any complication and harsh language.
Image Source: Piinterest
Bhavneet Singh Vohra
Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies
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