In this blog spot, Anubhav Pandey explains how can a person lodge an FIR?
Let us start with the layman interpretation of First Information Report (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 the case where a police officer refuses to register an FIR? What happens after registration of an FIR is complete? Should a person fear visiting police station frequently after registering an FIR? What are the legal intricacies involving registration of an FIR? What is the object of an FIR?
All queries answered in one article.
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 a First Information Report is sufficient.
(A sample FIR is attached in Annexure 1)
- Before beginning with anything it is important for us to know that First Information Report is registered only for cognizable offenses.
Cognizable offenses are one where police officers have the right to arrest a person with or without a warrant and to start the investigation of the crime prior to obtaining permission from the 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 or how did it happen?
- FIR is not an encyclopedia. Minute details are not to be given in a FIR.
- Simply because a particular name finds a mention in an FIR, that cannot be taken as an evidence against the accused in the court of law.
- FIR can be registered orally. The condition is, after giving the oral statement it is the duty of the person registering the First Information Report to produce that oral statement into writing.
- Once satisfied that all the information is recorded in an FIR, the person making it should sign the FIR.
- A person making a First Information Report has the right to get a copy of the FIR.
- It is mandatory under the provision of Code of Criminal Procedure for a police constable to register a First Information Report.
When to File an FIR?
- The prompt and early reporting of an FIR, as soon as one comes to know of the happening of an offense, is advisable.
- The provision as to an information report is enacted to obtain early information of alleged crime actively.
- If an FIR is still not filed at an early stage, the findings of an FIR cannot be doubted on the same ground.
- The only thing needed before filing a late FIR is a reasonable reason for the delay in filing of an FIR.
What are the Consequences of Delay in Filing of an FIR?
- 5 hours delay: Not seen with suspicion.
- 6 hours delay: Do not in any manner warrants any adverse inferences.
- 12 hours delay: Non-explanation of delay of 12 hours in lodging the First Information Report assumes significance from the point of view of evidence law.
- 15 hours delay: When the evidence is clouded with strong suspicion and as the First Information Report is lodged with a delay of 15 hours, the false implication of accused cannot be completely ruled out.
- 5 days delay: Accused becomes entitled to the benefit of the doubt.
- 14 days delay: It will be utterly unsafe for convicting a person based on an allegation 14 days late.
In spite of the delay, if still, the First Information Report looks substantive from the point of view of the law, such delay will not result in letting the culprit escape.
How to Register an FIR?
- Visiting the nearest police station within the crime scene (preferably).
- Informing either orally or in writing. In case a verbal complaint is made, it is the duty of the authority recording the FIR to convert it into writing.
- First Information Report should be signed by the person giving the complaint.
- It is the duty of the police authorities to register the FIR in a record book.
- It is the duty of the police officer to provide the complainant with a free copy of FIR.
What To Do in the Case Where a Police Officer Refuses to Register an FIR?
- In such case, a person may send the substance of such information – in writing and by post – to the concerned S.P. (Superintendent of police).
- When S.P. receives such information it is his duty to either investigate such matter or pass the matter and order an investigation by the concerned authority.
Can a Telephonic Message be Sufficient for Registration of an 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.
Procedure After FIR is Lodged
- If the area where the incident occurred is within the reach (jurisdiction of the police station) then, the police authority possess all the power to investigate.
- The police officer himself assesses whether the complaint is worth entertaining or not. E.g. where there is an FIR of theft of Rs.50 then the police might not forward with the complaint.
- If convinced with the findings of First Information Report, police forward a report to the magistrate and ask him to take cognizance of the offense.
- Further, magistrate orders an investigation on the basis of First Information Report.
- A police officer might require the attendance of any person being within the local area of such police station.
- During enquiry of an FIR and its investigation, no statement made by any person to a police officer in the course of an investigation shall be signed by the person making it.
- After taking the final report, if the magistrate is satisfied with the report and findings of the investigation on the basis of First Information Report, court summons is issued.
FIR in Case of Rape Complaint
In cases of a sexual offense, the delay is not given much importance as it is assumed by the court about the difficulty of the victim to come out and complain.
Where delay in filing an FIR in a rape 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 First Information Report.
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 offense. 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 First Information Report 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-
- The statement should be an 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 offense on the face of it
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Annexure 1 (Sample FIR)
Annexure 2 (Sample police complaint about lodging an FIR)
Officer in charge,
________________ Police Station,
Sub: Loss of the Mobile phone
I am <name>, w/o <husband/father’s name>, currently residing at <address>. (Date), I lost my phone at the (Place) at <city>.
The mobile is a (model) with (specifications). The IMEI number of the phone is <IMEI number> and the serial number of the device is <serial number>. The mobile number of the SIM used in the lost phone is <phone number>. Approximate value of the new device of this model is Rs( ).
You are requested to kindly register the complaint and give me an attested copy of this complaint so that I can submit this to the service provider to block the phone number and prevent potential abuse of my SIM.
I shall be obliged if you kindly take action to trace and recover the lost device.