FIRST INFORMATION REPORT
- An information given under sub-section (1) of Section 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 results in submission of the charge sheet u/s 173 of CrPC after completion of the investigation.
ESSENTIALS OF FIR
- It must be the first instance of reporting
- It must be 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 recorded,it must be reduced to writing
- A copy of the FIR shall be given free of cost to the informant
If the information is given by a womanalleging an offence u/s-326 A, 326 B,354,354A-D,376,376 A-E AND 509 OF IPC such information shall be recorded by women police officer or any women officer.
Further, provided that the offence has been committed or attempt has beenmade on temporarily or permanently(mentally or physically) disabled person then such information shall be received by a police officer at the residence of that person seeking to report such offence or at the placeconvenient to such person in presence of interpreter or a special educator. Recording of such information shall be through 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 in lodging FIR without satisfactory explanation is looked upon with the grave suspicion because there are chance of fabrication.
- Whenever there is a delay it must be properly explained.
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 be fatal. An undue delay in lodging a First Information Report is always looked upon with a certain amount of suspicion and should as far as possible be avoided'.
In Harpal Singh vs. state of HP AIR 1981 SC 361
Delay of 10 days in lodging fir was consider to be justified in rape case as the ground was prestige of the family.
In State of H P Vs Gian Chand (2001) 6 SCC 71 Hon'ble Supreme Court of India observed, '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-
(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.
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
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 REFUSES 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.
Ifa 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.. Even if that does not yield any satisfied result, he can file an application u/s156 (3) before the magistrate. The magistrate can direct the fir to be registered and also can direct a proper investigation to be made.
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 be 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 it 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 cases where the police station under whose jurisdiction the crime was committed is not easily accessible.
As mentioned above, it can be concluded that these are various essentials, requirements, and standard procedure for lodging an FIR under CrPC, along with when delay of lodging an FIR can be accepted and when it cannot be accepted, 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 of the Criminal Procedure Code, makes it clear that an FIR can be registered in cognizable offenses only.