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This article is written by Team LawSikho.

What is Quashing?

FIR and Sexual Harassment

Registration of FIR in case of the women

It is mandatory that the cases that involve offences against the women are to be investigated promptly right after an F.I.R get registered along with the filing of the charge sheets within sixty/ ninety days should be ensured. The kinds of offences that are included in the offences against the women are as follows:

  • Rape.
  • Kidnapping/abduction of aof girl/women.
  • Molestation.
  • Eve-teasing.
  • Dowry homicide/suicide/torture.
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The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 has also included a lot of new offences in the same list. They are:

  • Acid attack.
  • Voyeurism.
  • Stalking.
  • Trafficking of women.
  • Investigation Officer: The investigation of a crime against women shall be conducted by a women officer. If necessary, an investigation team should be formed. The victim should be dealt with utmost sympathy and be extremely courteous.  No indecent questions should be asked.

Provision of FIR under special laws

Juvenile

Cyber

Sexual harassment

Immoral trafficking

How do you inquire whether an FIR is lodged against you?

If an F.I.R has been filed against you for a cognizable offence the police will start the investigation immediately after the registration of an FIR. So, you’ll come to know as police will come to your house to arrest you or they will call you up. What you can do in this situation is ask for the registered copy of the FIR and the arrest warrant that is issued against you. The next step is you can take an advice from your lawyer and file a petition in the High Court for quashing of the FIR along with getting anticipatory bail if you have not been arrested and regular bail if you have been arrested.

Right to Information

Imagine a situation-

You had a fight with some bad guys who were eve-teasing a girl. The matter subsided and you are not in contact with anyone of them. One day you receive a call and the person says that he has filed an FIR against you in Maharashtra.

Confused about what to do in this situation?

Do not panic.

Simply go and file an RTI in the headquarters of Maharashtra Police and they will let you know whether an FIR has been lodged against you or not. Some state police departments like Delhi Police also have an online system of displaying all the existing FIR`s lodged on a free search basis. This also can be used by you to track the FIR in case this service is available in your state.

Basic miscellaneous facts one needs to know about FIR

The FIR is lodged with a view to setting the investigation into motion and not for the purpose of setting down all the story and plot of the offence. There should be a common sense approach to such matters while evaluating the criticism against the FIR.

Where FIR is proposed against a politician, actor, or a public servant charging that person with allegations of dishonesty, a preliminary enquiry should be conducted against such person

Use of the FIR

The FIR is not a substantive evidence. A person or the maker of the statement may give many statements, but it is not necessary that every statement of such person can be treated as an FIR. For a statement to constitute the first information report, it is very necessary that two conditions should be fulfilled:

  • That the statement should be accusation that it must be in nature of a complaint, or it should be a statement that gives some information regarding a crime.
  • It must relate to a cognizable offence on the face of it

Introduction

Let us start with the layman interpretation of FIR. A police complaint is synonymous to an FIR. What does FIR actually means? When to register an FIR? How to register an FIR? What are rights of the person registering an FIR? What to do in case where a police officer refuses to register an FIR? What happens after registration of an FIR is complete? Should a person fear for often visit police station after registering an FIR? What are the legal intricacies involving an FIR? What is the object of an FIR? All queries are to be  answered here

Objects of FIR

  • Mere going to a police station (preferably nearest police station of the area where the crime was committed) and asking the police inspector to file an FIR is sufficient. A sample FIR is attached in Annexure 1.
  • Before beginning with anything it is important for us to know that FIR are registered only for cognizable offences. Cognizable offences are one where police officers have the right to arrest a person with or without warrant and start the investigation of the crime prior to obtaining permission from court.
  • From the point of view of an informant, registration sets the criminal law into motion. That is to say, starts the process of solving the case by first registering it. From the point of view of police, FIR is obtaining of information about some alleged crime.
  • It is not required that the person registering FIR should be personally aware of the whole incident. Therefore, if one finds a body lying at the corner of a lane, it is not assumed that he knows when the murder happened? How it happen?
  • FIR is not an encyclopedia. Minute details are not to be given in an FIR.
  • Simply because a particular name finds a mention in an FIR, that cannot be taken as an evidence against the accused.

FIR in case of rape complaint

In cases of sexual offence, delay is not given much importance as it is assumed by the court also, the difficulty of the victim to come out and complaint. Where delay in filing an FIR ina reape case had taken place, Court was satisfied with the reasoning that the name of the family was involved, therefore, there was a delay in filing of the FIR .

Zero FIR: The Concept

As per the concept, Zero FIR is a FIR that can be filed in any police station regardless of the place of incidence or jurisdiction.  The same is later transferred to the l Police Station having competent jurisdiction after investigation and filing with a magistrate. What  distinguishes Zero FIR from Ordinary FIR is that in the latter, FIR is registered by a serial number in police station but in the former one an FIR is instituted at any Police Station other than the jurisdictional Police Station concerned, that is the place where incident took place, and such an FIR is registered but not numbered. Such unnumbered FIR  simply is then forwarded to the concerned Police Station where it gets numbered and further acted upon. Hence those FIR’s are known to be Zero FIR’s. For instance an Offence is committed within the jurisdictional limit of ‘A’ police station & FIR is lodge at ‘B’ police station. Then by the procedure, if it is revealed that the offence is committed within the jurisdiction limit of the other police station the FIR will be channelize to that police station as ZERO number FIR. The Police Station registering the Zero number FIR is required to make some prelude investigation into the case before directing it to the concerned Police Station.

Is Zero FIR Legal?

The provision of Zero FIR came up as recommendation in Justice Verma Committee Report in the new Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, devised after the December 2012 gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in the territory.

However, policemen by and large deny knowing about provisions of “Zero FIR” and direct the complainant to Police Station having jurisdiction but Clause (e) of Section 460 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) says that if any Magistrate not empowered by laws to call for cognizance of an offence positioned in section 190 (a) or (b) erroneously but in good faith does take cognizance, the proceeding minutes will not be set aside merely on the grounds of not being empowered for same. If at the time of initiation of FIR, it looks evident that the crime was committed outside the jurisdiction of the concerned police station, then the police must be appropriately ordered to register a Zero FIR, and ensure that the FIR is transferred to the jurisdictional police station. If there is a failure in compiling with the instruction of FIR registration on acknowledgement of information about the offence, it will invite prosecution of the police officer under section 166A which provides a rigorous imprisonment of six months be extended to two years. This evasion of responsibility may invite the departmental action for the police officer.

The Centre has asked all the states to make amendments in the state laws with respect to the registration of the Zero FIR on receipt of complaint or information about a crime without getting into argument related to the jurisdiction. Central Government, keeping in mind, the influence of the Zero FIR has warned by invoking the amendment in the criminal law that if there is any refusal with regards to the registering of the Zero FIR, it will lead to imprisonment.  This ordered amendment empowers the police to register the complaint acknowledged in police station other then the jurisdictional police station where crime has been committed. The concept of Zero FIR is a free jurisdiction FIR, brought up in order to avoid the delay in filing the crime and to avoid wastage of time that adversely impacts the victim and gives a free way to offenders getting an opportunity to escape from the clutches of the law.

The Impact

  • As per static report, there is a crime committed against women in every 1.7 minutes, and rape is committed within every 16 minutes recorded in this country and domestic violence done in every 4.4 minutes against every girl. Zero FIR is provided as a right to women which she can exercise as required. Zero FIR in cases of any such heinous crime done against her in any place or at any moment acts as a remedy in the hands of the women.
  • Zero FIR is also a great power to the passengers on  rail journey for a direction in making the travel safe and hassle free for the millions of passengers on frequent journey. So, as per the requirement the victim can file the case against theft in the place that is nearest to their approach while travelling.
  • Certain grave crimes like accident, murder and rape that require immediate action from the concerned authorities and to collect evidentiary proof from the party and place like samples, deposition from the eye witnesses and circumstantial evidences. A Zero FIR helps take into account of this prelim action regardless of deciding the territorial limits of the crime.

As is the well settled rule when there is certain good there is always something bad attached to it. And the biggest drawback is in the basic concept of the Zero FIR provision i.e., for say a crime occur in a place and reported in other jurisdiction and if there is certain collusion between the police staff of the station where the FIR instituted  and the offender then the whole root of the provision collapses.

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