This article is written by Team LawSikho. This article discusses how to file an FIR.
Guidelines for filing an FIR
On the basis of what is stated in the FIR, the police will determine under which provisions of law an offense is likely to have been committed and accordingly begin an investigation to identify and collect evidence pertaining to those offenses. If a particular offense was committed but it has not been sufficiently described in the FIR by the informant, the police may not investigate into the offense. Therefore, it is extremely important that the FIR is written in a clear, comprehensive and elaborate manner, wherein the crime is fully described.
Writing the FIR carefully can make a difference to the overall charges framed, the investigation and the ultimate outcome of the case.
Consider a scenario where a woman’s husband has hit her on the head with a cricket bat. What should she mention in the FIR?
The woman could write the FIR in at least four different ways:
- her husband hit her
- her husband hit her with a cricket bat
- her husband hit her on the head
- her husband hit her on the head with a cricket bat
Each of the four scenarios can have different implications on what charges are framed against the accused, whether he is arrested by the police, whether the police register the FIR at all or redirect the informant to the magistrate on the assumption that it may be a complaints case.
For example, if the informant only mentions that the husband hit his wife, the police may frame charges under the provision for simple hurt punishable with imprisonment up to one year or a fine up to Rs.1000/-, or both, but if she mentions that she was hit on the head with a bat, it is possible for the police to frame charges under the provision for grievous hurt (depending on whether it falls in any of the eight clauses, which provide for castration, loss of eyesight, loss of hearing, permanent destruction of any joint; disfiguration of head or face, fracture or dislocation of bone or tooth, or any injury which endangers the life of the victim or causes the victim to be in severe pain for a space of twenty days, or due to which the victim is unable to carry out his ordinary pursuits. Refer to Section 320 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860) which would entail imprisonment up to 7 years and fine, a much more severe offence.
Certain guidelines should be kept in mind while filing an FIR, as provided below:
- name and telephone number of the informant,
- name(s) of the perpetrator of the crime
- relationship of the perpetrator with the victim
- detailed information and narrative pertaining to the commission of the offense, which explains the following points:
- roles played by the different people who are accused (in case there is more than one) in the commission of the offense
- the place where the crime took place,
- date and time of the incident,
- whether any weapons were used, the nature of the weapons used (sharp/blunt),
- description of the injuries caused,
- information about the motives of the perpetrators
- if the property was taken away, then describe the nature and value of the property that was taken away,
- describe any threats
- traces, articles or left behind by the accused
- articles are broken or damaged
- the number of people involved in the offense,
- if there was any witness
- reasons for the delay in filing the FIR, if any
- ensure that you sign (or place your thumb impression) on the FIR
Can the contents of an FIR be altered?
An FIR contains the first details of the information provided by the informant right after he or she became aware of the crime being committed. If the informant requests alteration in the information itself, then that raises a question on the sanctity of the initial information provided. Once registered, the FIR cannot be altered. Any changes which are required to be made on account of additional facts becoming known or more accused becoming known can be added by means of a statement, rather than changes to the original FIR filed.
How can the FIR be made actionable or stronger?
The recording officer and the complainant should know to the extent possible, the 11 Ws while recording/reporting the FIR. These are:
What information is to be conveyed
In what capacity
Who committed crime
Whom – victim or person against whom the crime was committed.
Which way (actual occurrence)
What was taken away
What traces were left by the accused
An FIR requires the complainant to give out a detailed version of the occurrence, as it took place. It is of essence that this account also is accurate and true. Details of the place where the crime took place, at what time, your name, whether any weapons were used, the nature of the weapons used (sharp/blunt), the injuries caused, the number of people involved, witnesses; if any, etc. are all important details which must be given out in an FIR. These details may make a difference to the overall charges framed and the punishment the accused is likely to undergo.
What are some Dos and Don’ts to be kept in mind while filing an FIR?
DO’S AND DON’TS
- FIR should be lodged immediately.
- It should be recorded in First person.
- Attitude/Behaviour towards the victim should be sympathetic.
- Technical words should be avoided and as far as possible language of the informer/complainant should be used.
- Written complaint should be taken.
- Written statement should be duly signed or bear the thumb impression of complainant.
- Only a report of cognizable offence should be lodged in FIR.
- Authentic information should be mentioned in FIR.
- Place, Date & Time of occurrence should be mentioned in the FIR.
- Arrival & Departure of the informer should be mentioned in the FIR as well as Daily Diary Register.
- Delay, if any, in registering the case should be covered in FIR.
- 11 “Ws’ should be followed.
- Description & role of every accused involved in the commission of offence should be covered in FIR.
- Kind of physical damage & property destroyed should be mentioned in the FIR.
- Weapon of offence and observation of scene of crime should be mentioned in the FIR.
- Telephone number, if any, of the complainant should also be mentioned.
- FIR should be lodged in neat & clean hand writing and be kept in safe custody being a permanent record.
- A copy of FIR should be sent to Metropolitan Magistrate concerned immediately.
- A copy of FIR should be provided to the complainant free of cost.
- Complainant should not be confused while they are providing the information.
- Harsh language should not be used.
- Aggression should be avoided.
- Unnecessary details should be avoided.
- Over-writing/ scoring should be avoided.
- Offence should not be minimized.
- Do not forget to take thumb impression or signature of the informer.
- FIR should not be lodged on the basis of telephone, telegram or hearsay rumour without verifying the facts and getting the signature of the informer/ complainant.