Law on FIR in India

FIR stands for first information report. It is a document providing the basic information that a cognizable offense has been committed. FIR or First Information Report is the information about commission of an offence given to a police officer by the first informant. It initiates the criminal proceedings.

We must know that FIR is not a conclusive proof that a person has committed an offense. FIR is the starting point of the investigation in a particular offense.

The process of filing FIR or First Information Report is provided under section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. The FIR is the primary information given to a police officer regarding the commission of a crime by the first informant. To file an FIR, the informant has to approach the police station in the jurisdiction of which the offence or crime has taken place.

  • To file an FIR, one has to go to the police station within the jurisdiction of which the cause of action arose or the offence took place.
  • Every piece of information relating to the commission of offence is to be given to the officer in-charge of the police station. If it is given orally to the officer, he shall reduce it to writing and read it over to the informant to confirm and verify the details.
  • Every such information has to be signed by the informant after which it is required to be recorded by the officer in a book maintained for this purpose as prescribed by the State Government.
  • The informant is entitled to receive a copy of the FIR free of cost.

If the officer in-charge of the police station refuses to record the information, you can send the substance of such information, in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police (SP) concerned. The SP is required to start the investigation himself or direct any other officer subordinate to him to start the investigation

File an FIR: Essential Things to Mention

Here are the things that must be mentioned while filing an FIR:

  • The informant’s name and address.
  • Name and details of the people involved in the incident.
  • Time, date and exact location of the incident.
  • Precise facts and details of the incident as it occurred.
  • Witnesses, if any.

These were some basic things about The FIR, which you all have read in articles or in law books for your basic knowledge, for making yourself aware about the things how to happen.

Here I am trying to give you some information in the light of the Judgements of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and I Hope this information will make you more aware of this Law and will help you in future to exercise your right to help someone and to grill the state machinery who sometimes working in an autocratic way.

1. What is an FIR ?

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of india State of Andhara Pradesh Vs V V Panduranga Rao 2009 (15) SCC 211 has laid down the definition of FIR, as provided in Section 154 Cr.P.C.

“First Information report …. Should be disclosing an cognizable offence satisfying the requirements of Section 154(1) of the Code.”

2. It is police duty to register an FIR of an offence disclosing a cognizable offence and they cannot deny to register as it is a statutory right :

The Constitution Bench decision of the Supreme Court reported in A.R. Antulay v. R.S. Nayak AIR 1984 SC 718 hold and settled that normally every genuine complainant , disclosing cognizable offence , first attempts to lodge an FIR at the police station.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in State of Haryana Vs Bhajan Lal 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 has held that “any information disclosing a cognizable offence is laid before an office in charge of a police station, The void police officer has no other option except to enter the substance thereof in the prescribe form, to register a case on the basis of such information”.

As per the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Bhajan Lal’s case (supra), if the information to an officer incharge of a police station discloses commission of a cognizable offence, such an officer is required to register an FIR. In case the officer incharge of a police station fails to register an FIR, a statutory duty, under Section 154(3) of the Code, is cast on the concerned Superintendent of Police to either investigate the case himself or direct investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him, provided on receiving the substance of such information in writing from the person aggrieved he is satisfied that such an information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence. It appears that neither the officer incharge of the concerned police station, nor the DCP concerned have carried out their statutory obligations under Section 154 of the Code.

3. If Even Then No FIR registered on the written complaint of the person aggrieved The remedy then provided under Section 156 (3) Cr.P.C. Which is as under …

156. Police officer’s power to investigate cognizable cases.

(1) Any officer in charge of a police station may, without the order of a Magistrate, investigate any cognizable case which a court having jurisdiction over the local area within the limits of such station would have power to inquire into or try under the provisions of Chapter XIII.

(2) No proceeding of a police officer in any such case shall at any stage be called in question on the ground that the case was one, which such officer was not empowered under this section to investigate.

(3) Any Magistrate empowered under section 190 may order such an investigation as above mentioned.

Section 156(3) is very briefly worded. The powers of Magistrate are not expressly mentioned in section 156 (3) of Cr.P.C. If that be so, a paucity will be crept mind that whether there is an implied power in the Magistrate under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. to order registration of a criminal offence and /or to direct the officer in charge of the concerned police station to hold a proper investigation and take all such necessary steps that may be necessary for ensuring a proper investigation including monitoring the same or not.

In Sakiri Vasu vs State Of U.P. And Others, 2008 (2)SCC 409, Hon’ble Supreme Court Held that if a person has a grievance that the police station is not registering his FIR under Section 154 Cr.P.C., then he can approach the Superintendent of Police under Section 154(3) Cr.P.C. by an application in writing. Even if that does not yield any satisfactory result in the sense that either the FIR is still not registered, or that even after registering it no proper investigation is held, it is open to the aggrieved person to file an application under Section 156 (3) Cr.P.C. before the learned Magistrate concerned. If such an application under Section 156 (3) is filed before the Magistrate, the Magistrate can direct the FIR to be registered and also can direct a proper investigation to be made, in a case where, according to the aggrieved person, no proper investigation was made. The Magistrate can also under the same provision monitor the investigation to ensure a proper investigation.

Even Usually, we found that the police after completion of the enquiry, submits the closing report on the fact the nothing cognizable offence has been happened, Even in this case the aggrieved person can file a Second FIR on the Ground of Discovery of New Facts and larger conspiracy, In this behalf the Supreme Court hold this in Nirmal Singh Kahlon Vs State of Punjab 2009 (1) SCC 441, “That a second FIR is maintainable if there is something left by the investigation agency on their report.”

As a Lawyer I tried to give you the primary legal information on FIR. For more knowledge you can contact me.

Based on Sumit Nagpal’s information on FIR, with thanks!

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Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

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