First Information Report (FIR) Legal Provisions

INTRODUCTION

The information recorded under Section 154 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is known as the First Investigation Report (F.I.R). The information given sets the criminal law in motion. It is termed as F.I.R because it is the earliest and the first information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence. The term "F.I.R" is not mentioned in the Code.

SECTION 153- WHAT IT PROVIDES

This section states that any information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally must be reduced to writing and must be recorded in a book kept by the police in the manner prescribed by the State government. The book is termed as “station diary” or “general diary”. The recorded information must be read out to the informant and must be signed by the informant.

If any such information is given by a woman against whom an offence under Section 326-A (punishment for acid attacks), Section 326-B (punishment for attempted acid attack), Section 354 (assault or use of criminal force with intent to outrage modesty), Section 354-A (sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment),Section 354-B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), Section 354-C (voyeurism), Section 354-D (stalking), Section 376 (punishment for rape),Section 376-A (intercourse by a man with his wife during separation),Section 376-AB(punishment for rape on woman under twelve years of age),Section 376-B (intercourse by public servant with woman in his custody), Section 376-C (sexual intercourse by person in authority), Section 376-D (gang rape), Section 376-DA (punishment for gang rape on woman under sixteen years of age), Section 376-DB (punishment for gang rape on woman under twelve years of age), Section 376-E (punishment for repeat offenders), or Section509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) is committed or attempted, then such information shall be recorded, by a woman police officer.

If a woman against whom the above-mentioned offences were committed or attempted to be committed is temporarily or permanently mentally or physically disabled, then such information shall be recorded by the police officer at her residence or at any place where she is convenient, in the presence of an interpreter or a special educator and the same should be video- graphed. The officer should get the statement of the woman recorded by a Judicial Magistrate under clause (a) of sub-section (5-A) of section 164. A copy of the recorded information should be made available to the informant free of cost.

If the officer in charge of a police station refuses to record the information, then the aggrieved person can send the information in writing or by post to the Superintendent of Police (SP). If the SP finds the information to be disclosing the commission of a cognizable offence, then he/she can either investigate the case himself/herself or direct a subordinate to do so.

ESSENTIALS OF AN F.I.R

  • The F.I.R. must always be in writing. If the information is given orally, then it should be reduced to writing.
  • The information written down should be read out to the informant.
  • The information must be recorded in the station diary of the police station.
  • A copy of the recorded information must be made available to the informant free of cost.
  • If the informant is a woman who has been a survivor of any of the offences mentioned in Clause (1) of Section 154, then the information should be recorded by a woman police officer and the same should be done in the presence of an interpreter or a special educator.
  • The information should relate to only cognizable offences.
  • The informant must sign the record.

ANALYSIS OF THE SECTION

The information relating to the commission of cognizable offences can be given by any person who is aware of a cognizable offence and not necessarily the survivor of the offence. The information should be reported to the police station which has the jurisdiction to investigate the offence. In case of non-availability of a woman officer to record the information, then the services of any woman government servant can be utilized for recording the statement. The F.I.R. need not contain every detail of the case. Sometimes, it may happen that more than one person report the same offence to the station, in such cases, the police should use common sense and record only one of the statements as F.I.R. Whether the information relates to the commission of a cognizable offence depends on what the police officer thinks and not what the informant thinks. All material facts should be carefully and accurately mentioned in the F.I.R, the absence of which can detract its credibility. An F.I.R. can be lodged through an email or through a mobile text. The mode of lodging an F.I.R. can vary from facts to facts.

F.I.R should be the earliest and the first information that persuades the police to start the investigation. The statement recorded after the commencement of an investigation is not F.I.R. According to Section 74 of the Indian Evidence Act, F.I.R. is a public document and an F.I.R. made by a person dying is admissible as substantive evidence under Section 32 (1) of the Indian Evidence Act. The F.I.R. is not a piece of substantive evidence and can be used only to corroborate or contradict the informant.

COURTS’ VIEW ON F.I.R

1. MotiramPadu Joshi v. State of Maharashtra[1]- The Supreme Court, in this case, held that F.I.R. is not an encyclopedia which is expected to contain all the details of the prosecution case. It should not be rejected unless there are indications of fabrications in the F.I.R.

2LalitaKumari v. State of U.P.[2]- This is a landmark judgment relating to F.I.R. The court put forth certain rules relating to F.I.R. in this case. The court held that registration of an F.I.R. is mandatory on the information of a cognizable offence. It is not mandatory to arrest the accused immediately after registration of an F.I.R. The police can conduct a preliminary inquiry if the information given does not disclose a cognizable offence.

3. State of A.P. v. V.V. PandurangaRao[3]-The Supreme Court held that the fact that the information was first in time does not give it the character of an F.I.R.

4. Davinder v. State of Haryana[4]- The court held that recording the statements of the witnesses without recording the oral information relating to the cognizable offence would not amount to an F.I.R.

CONCLUSION

An F.I.R. should be lodged promptly to eliminate any chances of adversity. In case of any delay, the reasons should be explained satisfactorily. In Mahabir Singh v. State[5], it was held that unreasonable delay in sending the occurrence report to the Magistrate is bound to cast some shadow on the prosecution case.

  • [1] 2018 SCC 676 SC
  • [2](2014) 2 SCC 1
  • [3] (2009) 15 SCC 211
  • [4]1998 Cri LJ 3787
  • [5]1979 Cri LJ 1159

 

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