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2

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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Yesterday, I wrote about Naina Singh's death and how the police conspired to deny her mother avenues of justice by denying her an FIR. The FIR is a first information report. It is the basic record that your problem has been received. It is a basic right. Read this document to understand FIRs better.

In addition to this, The Supreme Court has specifically stated that FIRs must be filed and for the police to refuse to do so would result in the refusing police officer to be arrested.

In spite of this, Naina's mother, Malti was repeatedly refused. The police dismissed her with increasing rudeness. A mother was left struggling for her daughter's unlawful death to be acknowledged rather than grieve her personal loss.

Naina's mother has a rough deal. With her husband ill, she has had to face difficult times making ends meet. In addition to that, there were demands for dowry which she could not afford.

In the meanwhile, among relatives shocked with this callousness was a young man in London working for an MNC... Jeet had seen his aunt struggle for years and admired her bravery in fighting all odds to support her family and he was frustrated with this utter callousness in the attitude of the police.

Knowing the power of social media, he took to Twitter and started tweeting all the information on the incident that he knew, and approaching various personalities in the hope of drawing media attention to this miscarriage of power.

It worked. One of my followers came across his tweets and forwarded them to me. Similarly other tweeple came across the tweets and we all, in our own ways magnified his voice, contacted people who could verify the story and help his aunt out.

However, it was late at night and some miscommunication delayed the identification of Jeet's aunt. Finally, yesterday afternoon, we got the information and Tehelka immediately sent a journalist to accompany his aunt to the police station.

Ghaziabad SSP of Raghuvir Lal, whom Malti met, told TEHELKA, "An FIR cannot be lodged because this might be a case of natural death. It should have been filed before the cremation so that a post-mortem report could have been filed."

This was beyond bizarre. What do they do for missing women? How can't an FIR be filed? The police initially refused to file an FIR again, but the reporter and Naina's mother refused to move out of the police station without the FIR in hand.

Soon after that, we received an update from @karunajohn that the FIR had been successfully filed and that a copy of it was with the mother.

Soon after this, Tehelka published its article covering this story.  To quote from the article

According to IPC Section 304B, "Where the death of a woman is caused by burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called "dowry death". Such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death."

@karunajohn confirmed that investigations would proceed along the lines of a dowry murder. We heaved a sigh of relief.

However, as the day went on today, I had started to feel increasingly uneasy over the lack of any news about the in-laws being arrested. If an FIR for dowry related murder was filed, how was it that no one was arrested?

The first sign of a problem happened when Sumit Nagpal shared on Twitter that he had spoken with Naina's mother and that it sounded like she had made a complaint and not filed an FIR. It confused matters for a while, because we thought there was a misunderstanding.

I shared the link to the Tehelka article for reference.

This was the doubt nagging me all day. Why hadn't the in-laws been arrested and child given to Naina's family? Surely and FIR for murder would mean a non-bailabile warrant? But there was no mention of Naina's in-laws being arrested.

In the meanwhile, the rest of the background of dowry pressures by Naina's in-laws was known from the Teheelks article. Equally scandalous and scary was Jeet tweeting that Naina's mother had been told on earlier attempts to file FIR that she would get custody of the one year old baby if she didn't file an FIR.

In the meanwhile, her husband's family told Tehelka their version. The mother-in-law says they did not ask for dowry. She lists a whole list of things Naina didn't give. Were they an unfulfilled expectation or simply common examples of dowry? We don't know.

Her husband said that she had been suffering from TB and had been cured a few months back, but had started getting fever again. Her mother says that she spoke with her daughter and she sounded ok. Would her health deteriorate that rapidly from TB? I don't know. It could also be some other health complication that came up. Without the body, that is impossible to know.

Here is Tehelka's video of their coverage of this case:

In my communications with Jeet, he mentioned several times that neighbours will vouch for seeing marks on Naina's neck as well as bribing police officials.

I am not saying that the in-laws ARE guilty or not. That is a matter of investigation, but the real concern here is that an FIR is not filed at all for such a serious allegation. Our laws are clear on this - the FIR should be filed any time it is requested. The time lapsed after death can't be a refusing factor. Yet, in the video, we hear the inspector clearly refusing to file an FIR because without the body they can't do a post mortem.

Hmm... so all a murderer needs to do to get off scot free is to cremate the victim and the inspector will not investigate? Is that what the inspector is saying? I see the inspector as an accessory to the murder in that case. Should he be handling it at all?

This was looking shadier and shadier. I suppose the real question was if the police had the audacity to fake off some paper to get rid of the aunt and journalist and STILL avoid filing an FIR!

The confirmation that the paper indeed was an FIR is in progress. I will update here as soon as I know. [updated below]

In the face of all this confusion, I called up Malti Singh herself to ask her about the status of the FIR and other information that seemed missing.

She says she had a complaint that was stamped and recommended by the SSP for further investigation, but no FIR. The paper that the police gave in the presence of the Tehelka team was apparently an acknowledgment of receipt and they snatched it back from her once the reporter left.

It is clear that an FIR has not been filed - pretty much like Sumit Nagpal raised the alarm.

Malti Singh is also very concerned about the well being of Naina's son. She fears that he may come to harm from the in-laws out of anger. The police are not interested in following up on this either.

I asked Malti Singh about the death certificate - if she knows anything about that - generally you need a death certificate when cremating a body. She said to her knowledge, there hasn't been any death certificate at all, but after cremating her, on the next day, the in-laws got some small time doctor to write that she had been ill. According to Malti Singh, her daughter did not have TB and had not been ill and was in good health.

Malti Singh repeatedly asked me to arrange for the safety of Naina's child and to get her justice. She thinks the child is not safe. Over and over, she asked me that if I really wanted to help her, to do something to protect the child.

I also asked her about the earlier tweets of Jeet - about neighbours seeing marks of strangulation on Naina's neck. She says there were purplish marks both on her neck and wrists. She did not see them, but several neighbours told her and she wants the police to hear this, but they are refusing.

She said that the police have been bribed to ignore the case. I asked her if she knew this for certain or if anyone had seen it or told her, she says no. She concludes this from the changes in the actions of the SO.

The first time she went there, he had listened to her attentively and reassured her that she had a right to file the complaint any time. She suspects that they wasted her time and then approached the in-laws for a bribe to get them off the hook. It is unclear why the FIR was not filed in the first visit itself when the SO was being agreeable.

Things changed from the second visit. The SO dismissed her, told her an FIR can't be filed and to do what she wanted to do, but nothing would be done about the case. He threatened to throw her in prison too. Regardless of all else... this seems to be a very strange tone to take with a mother who has just lost her daughter.

Malti had approached the SSP who recommended that her complaint be investigated. She was called to meet him again yesterday, but he is out of town now. She is supposed to meet him next on Friday.

I am not an investigator, and I am not a journalist. I am not claiming to say who is right and who is wrong, but it is abundantly clear that even with a journalist putting pressure on the spot, the police have clearly wriggled out of filing an FIR - in contradiction to our country's laws, in contradiction to explicit directions by the Supreme Court.

In my limited capacity as a blogger, I am only reporting things exactly as I heard them without making any claims or confirmations of my own. But this thing needs told.

There seems to be a massive effort to silence this whole thing. Which means that we must hold it up and support Malti Singh in getting justice for her daughters death through proper procedure.

Because this kind of impunity is dangerous to us all.