Yes, the accused person is entitled to get a copy of the FIR registered against him on payment of the applicable legal fees.
The First Information Report (FIR) is registered by the police under the provisions of Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.). Section 154(2) of the Cr.P.C. requires that a copy of the FIR should be given to the informant immediately after its registration; this provision is reproduced below:
“(2) A copy of the information as recorded under sub-section (1) shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.”
However, we are talking here regarding the supply of copy of FIR to the accused person, and not the informant.
When charge sheet has been filed on completion of investigation by the police, clause (ii) of Section 207 of the Cr.P.C. requires the Magistrate concerned to furnish to the accused a copy of the FIR; this provision is reproduced below:
207. Supply to the accused of copy of police report and other documents.— In any case where the proceeding has been instituted on a police report, the Magistrate shall without delay furnish to the accused, free of cost, a copy of each of the following:—
(ii) the first information report recorded under Section 154;
Similarly, a combined reading of sub-sections (5) and (7) of Section 173 of the Cr.P.C. shows that, after filing of the charge sheet, the police may also supply copy of the FIR to the accused person along with other papers of the charge sheet.
In the case of Dhanpat Singh v. Emperor, AIR 1917 Patna 625, Patna High Court held as under:
“… It is vitally necessary that an accused person should be granted a copy of the first information at the earliest possible state in order that he may get the benefit of legal advice. To put difficulties in the way of his obtaining such a copy is only creating a temptation in the way of the officers who are in possession of the originals.”