This Article is written by Shubham Mangesh Jawlekar
Table of Contents
FIR is the first information given by an aggrieved person to the officer in charge of a police station to the commission of an alleged offense. The main object of FIR is to set criminal law in motion. Thereafter, the police investigating officer takes suitable steps to trace the alleged accused and bring him behind bars. Section 154 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) defines F.I.R
Can FIR be registered for any offense committed?
Section 154 Crpc reads as ‘Information in cognizable cases’, thus, Police can only register an FIR in cases of commission of a Cognizable offence.
Types of Offences
Cognizable Offence [Section 2(c)]: The offences which are more grievous in nature and where the Police officer may investigate and arrest without warrant is a cognizable offence. Eg: Murder, Kidnapping.
Non-Cognizable Offence [Section 2(i)]: The offences which are less grievous in nature and in which the Police officer has no authority to arrest without a warrant are non-cognizable offences. Eg: Obstructing a public servant in discharge of his/her public functions, Bribery during elections and so on.
If the offence is Non-Cognizable, the Police officer will enter the substance of information in a book maintained by them. The Police will register a Non-Cognizable Report commonly known as NC and provide you with a copy of the same.
Section 155 of Crpc states that without a competent magistrate’s order, no police officer can investigate non-cognizable offences.
In the case of Sheikh Hasib v State of Bihar1 the court stated the principle object of an FIR which was to set the criminal law in motion.
Hon’ble Supreme Court held that when information disclosing cognizable offence is given to a police officer, such officer has no option but to register the case based on that information2.
Procedure to file F.I.R
- Communicating the offence
Substance of the alleged offence can be explained in a written format or can be communicated orally to the concerned police officer in the nearest police station.
- Written format
When the offence is communicated, police must reduce it to a written format.
- Read over
The informant can demand that the written information to be read over to him/her and the police officer is duty bound to do so.
- Verification & Signature
The person providing information shall verify the information recorded by the police officer and must sign it after being satisfied that the information is correct. If a person is illiterate, he/she is expected to give a left hand thumb impression.
The legislative intent of section 154 Crpc has been explained in the case of Bhajanlal v. State of Haryana3
Hon’ble Bombay High Court in Ratanchand Radhakisondas vs State4 held that the condition to reduce it in writing and signed by the informant is a mere matter of procedure. Failure to observe the procedure as to signature would not make the given information inadmissible.
Procedure to register FIR in Sexual assault & Rape cases
In addition to the above provisions, Section 154 Crpc gives the following steps to be followed while registering FIR relating to offenses of Sexual Assault and Rape5
- If the alleged offence has been committed and the victim is permanently or temporarily mentally or physically disabled, information shall be recorded by the police officer at the residence of the victim or a convenient place of such victim’s choice.
- The recording of such information shall be videographed.
- The Police officer shall get the statement recorded by a Judicial Magistrate under clause(a) of sub-section (5A) of section 164 Crpc as soon as possible.
- A copy of the information as recorded shall be given to the informant free of cost.
Remedies on refusal to register FIR by Police
Many a times, Police officers refuse to register FIR for various reasons, jurisdiction being one of them. The Supreme Court has held that registration of FIR is mandatory u/s 154 of Crpc if information discloses cognizable offence.
The remedies mentioned in law on refusal to register an FIR by the Police are as follows –
Section 154(3) CrPc: If a person is refused by a police officer to register an FIR, he/she can approach the Superintendent of Police of that area in writing, who shall investigate the case himself if satisfied or order a subordinate police officer to investigate the same.
Section 156(3), read with section 190 CrPC: If a person is unsatisfied with the remedy mentioned in section 154(3) he/she can pursue the remedy under this section where the Judicial Magistrate can order investigation and/or take cognizance
Section 200 CrPc: A complaint can be submitted to the Judicial Magistrate, who after examining the complainant on oath will decide upon taking cognizance of the case. Magistrate may dismiss the complaint or take cognizance after hearing the complainant
Writ of Mandamus: It is one of the writ enshrined in the Constitution, issued by the High Court or Supreme court under Article 226 or Article 32. It issues command to the State, its instrumentality or its functionaries as the case may be, to compel them to perform their constitutional/statutory/public duty. Hence a writ of mandamus can be filed to direct the investigation agencies to register FIR
In a landmark judgement of Lalita Kumari vs State of UP6 Supreme court held that the registration of an FIR is mandatory u/s 154 of Crpc, if the information discloses a cognizable offence & action must be taken against erring officers who refuse to register the FIR.
Evidentiary Value of FIR
It is a general principle that an FIR is not a substantive piece of evidence, but it can be used for the following purposes-
- For Corroboration purposes
- For contradicting the evidence of a person giving information
- In order to establish identity of an accused, witnesses & for fixing spot time as relevant facts.
- For proving the informer’s conduct.
- As an admission against the informer
- For refreshing informers memory
- For impeaching the credit of an informer.
This is a type of FIR which can be registered in any police station regardless of the place of incident and the jurisdiction of the Police station. Many a time, the police officers refuse to register FIRs stating the reason of jurisdiction. Zero FIR enables the informant to register an FIR at any police station. FIRs have a serial number but zero FIR is not numbered, hence it is called as zero FIR. The police station registering zero FIR needs to perform basic investigation before transferring it to the police station of a competent jurisdiction.
- Sheikh Hasib Alias Tabarak vs The State Of Bihar, AIR 1972 SC 283
- Lallan Chaudhary & Ors vs State of Bihar & Anr, AIR 2006 SC 3376
- Bhajan Lal vs State of Punjab & Ors, (1971)1 SCC 34
- Ratanchand Radhakisondas vs State 1960, CriLJ 461
- Offences committed or attempted u/s 326A, 326B, 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D, 376, 376A, 376AB, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376DA, 376DB, 376E or 509 of Indian Penal Code.
- Lalita Kumari v. Govt. of U.P. and Ors., AIR 2014 SC 187.