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This article is written by Vineeta Narayan. 

Introduction

The concept of Zero FIR (First Information Report) is based on the establishment of jurisdiction free F.I.R. It was mainly propounded to be inserted in the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 by Justice Verma’s committee after the incident of the Nirbhaya Rape Case December 2012. It is also known as Nirbhaya Act. According to the Committee Report, the Home Ministry of the Indian Government on 10th May 2013 released an advisory to every State and Union Territories for Zero FIR. The term F.I.R. is not defined as under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. But, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 explained the concept of FIR for both under Section 154 which deals with cognizable offences and under Section 155 also for non-cognizable offences.

Provision regarding Zero FIR 

There is no direct or indirect provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 regarding Zero FIR. But, its legal basis can be found in Section 460 and 190 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Section 166A(c) of the Indian Penal Code(IPC), 1860 talks about punishment for a public servant who refuses to record any information given to him under Section 154 (1) of the CrPC, 1973.

Why is Zero FIR required? examples make it more convenient to understand

Suppose if a situation arises where you went to the police station to lodge an F.I.R. and the Police Officer deny by telling you that the offence committed is not within their local area and suggests you go to another police station in whose local area, the offence has been committed and therefore consequently leads to the delay of F.I.R. resulting in the loss of the suspicions and facts.

The main objective of this article is to explore the awareness of Zero FIR

Zero F.I.R. aimed at the concept of jurisdiction to allow for smooth initiation of proceedings. 

What exactly does Zero FIR mean?

Zero FIR is the mode of logging F.I.R. in any Police Station irrespective of the offence committed in that area or any other area of jurisdiction. The Police Officer is bound to register it immediately without any delay. Police have no longer reasons to deny on the basis of the local jurisdiction. In simple words, it is a written complaint lodged against criminal offences.

Who can lodge a Zero FIR?

Victim himself, a family or a relative or any other person can lodge a complaint on behalf of the victim who has knowledge about the facts related to the incident.

What are the major differences between FIR and Zero FIR?

  • F.I.R. lodged only in case of an offence committed within the local jurisdiction of that police station, After introducing Zero FIR it is possible to lodge a complaint in any police station other than the jurisdiction.
  • F.I.R. registered with the serial number called regular FIR but in the case, Zero FIR registered with “0” called Zero FIR.
  • Investigation under F.I.R. is done by the police station where it registers but in case of Zero FIR it is transferred to their concerned jurisdiction police station and registered with a serial number for further investigations.
  • In F.I.R. informants have some restrictions but in Zero FIR it is a restriction-free FIR.

What are the essential elements for Zero FIR?

  • An offence must be cognizable.
  • Information was given by the victim or any other person on behalf of the victims.
  • It should be written.
  • An area where an offence is committed outside the jurisdiction of that police station.
  • F.I.R. lodge with “0” number.
  • Transferred the same as to the concerned jurisdiction police station.

Format for Zero FIR or F.I.R.

What are the essential steps for registering a Zero FIR?

  • Informants filing the F.I.R. must mention his name and address on the F.I.R.
  • The Date, Time and Location of the incident are the most essential requirements.
  • The informant states the true facts of the incidents as they occurred.
  • The informant filing the FIR  mentions the name of all the people involved in the incident if aware.
  • If in the knowledge of the informant filing the F.I.R. there is any witness to support his claim that must be mentioned by him.
  • Once it’s completed the informant needs to read it by himself or by police to check the information given recorded as the same.
  • Informant Signature.
  • Police officers register it under Zero FIR.
  • Copy of F.I.R. also provides to the informant free of cost.
  • During the period of the whole procedure the outside jurisdiction police role as an investigation preface till it transfer.
  • Then it transferred to their original jurisdiction area police station as the same.
  • Where they register it with a proper F.I.R. number.
  • Then the matter was properly investigated by the area police station officer in charge in which the offence was committed.
  • Now its online mode is also available by digital technology which makes it more efficient.

What are the salient features of Zero FIR?

  • It can be registered at any police station outside the jurisdiction.
  • Easy for informants from the confusion of multiple jurisdictions.
  • To lodge F.I.R. is mandatory first then the rest of the things.
  • It is registered with “0” instead of the serial number that is called Zero FIR.
  • Immediately transferred to their concerned jurisdiction police station as the same.
  • Police officers are bound to lodge F.I.R. they cannot refuse on the basis of lack of jurisdiction.
  • If the office in charge refuses to lodge it can lodge directly with the Superintendent of Police (SP) and initiate an investigation.
  • It also protects informants and the victim against technicalities.
  • It makes sure not to delay the investigation.

Why is it so important?

  • It is very important to avoid delays in the investigation.
  • Police bound to register outside the jurisdiction.
  • It helps in sports investigation.
  • To proceed fast and ensure justice is neither delayed nor denied.
  • To avoid manipulation and corruption.
  • Offences include rape, murder, kidnapping, accident etc. very Sevier in nature victim unable to reach the area police station where it occurred.

Case laws

  1. Lalita Kumari Vs. Govt.of UP & Ors, 2008

Observations given by the five bench judges was that police usually denied taking F.I.R. but the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in this case, held that any information which amounts to cognizable offence is mandatory to be registered as an  F.I.R. by the police as such no further inquiry is necessary.

2. Singh Rajput Death Case, 2020

In this case, F.I.R. was registered in Patna police station by his father thereafter it is considered as under Zero FIR and transferred the same to the area police station having jurisdiction.

3. Jodhpur Rape Case, 2013

In this case, the F.I.R. register in the Delhi police station under the Zero FIR case was registered after the medical examination of the girl confirmed sexual assault. When the Jodhpur police refused to register an F.I.R. against Asaram. Further, it is forwarded the same to the police station having original jurisdiction.

4. Kirti Vashisht Vs. State & Ors, 2019

It was stated that even if the information to be registered as F.I.R. where the incident took place out of the jurisdictional area of the police station, the police is still bound to take the information and register it as Zero FIR and after that, transfer the same to the original jurisdiction police station.

5. State Vs. Harnam Singh, 2010

Harnam Singh along with three men kidnaps a girl in school uniform. Later, receiving information both were taken to the police station nearby at Parliament Street where lodge as under Zero FIR after the medical examination was done and taken to the Police Station at Tilak Nagar where the duty officer was given a copy of F.I.R.

6. State Vs. Satish Kumar, 2007

An army man in uniform was brought to an unconscious state by the officer. After regaining consciousness, the statement given by him is that he became unconscious after drinking the mango juice given by a 25 yrs old man at Railway Station, and he finds his luggage was also missing. So, a Zero FIR was lodged at Itarsi Station and reported the information to the RPF Delhi and thereafter, requested to transfer the case to New Delhi.

Critical analysis

  • Zero FIR becomes slightly important, insensitive and serious cases where the information of the crime must be recorded as soon as possible. With the surety action taken without any delay and work for fastest delivery of justice.
  • In cases of rape and sexual assault, the collection of evidence through physical examination is most essential. Such a collection can be only done after the filing of an F.I.R. This is because these pieces of evidence are crucial in these types of cases and it becomes necessary to protect them from corruption or deterioration.
  • In homicide cases, the perpetrator must be caught quickly to prevent him from absconding. And also, to catch him and to initiate proceedings into the matter, an F.I.R. need to be lodged first.
  • In case the offence is committed while travelling. The victim or informant, in a situation, can reach out to the nearest police station which comes on the route of their journey and lodge a Zero FIR. Hence, it would become the responsibility of that police station to send the Zero FIR in question to the appropriate police station.

Conclusion

Zero FIR is the easiest way to lodge an F.I.R. in serious and sensitive cases without any restrictions related to outside jurisdiction. And also plays a very important role in a proper or immediate investigation before it is destroyed, manipulated or corrupted which is very crucial.

“Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”, “Delay Justice is Injustice”

These above mentioned Legal maxims may also apply here as well to make it easy to describe the importance of Zero FIR, in the sensing delay in investigation occurs losses of facts, evidence or witnesses which makes it an incomplete investigation. There is no doubt all Laws, Procedures and Provisions are only Made, Added or Amended according to the requirements of the society and also to make it more convenient for ourselves. So, we can live in a peaceful, fearless and healthy environment.


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