What is F.I.R.?
A First Information Report is the first information in point of time regarding the commission of a cognizable offence that is given to the police and is recorded in manner provided under section 154 of the Cr.P.C. It is generally a complaint lodged with the police by the victim of a cognizable offence or by someone on his/her behalf, anyone can give such information either orally or in writing to the police. Any person who has knowledge about the commission of cognizable offence may register an F.I.R. with the police. Such person may be:
- The victim of the offence,
- A family member of the victim,
- A witness of the offence,
- The person who has committed the offence,
- Any other person who has come to know about such offence.
An F.I.R. may also be registered under the order of a Magistrate. According to section 156(3) of Cr.P.C., this is a pre-cognizance order in which Magistrate is empowered to order the investigation of a cognizable offence. If a complaint is filed before a Magistrate, the Magistrate forwards the complaint to the officer-in-charge of the concerned police station without taking cognizance, then the officer should register an F.I.R. and investigate the case.
Object of FIR
The objectives of filing the FIR are as follows:
- To set the criminal law into motion.
- Initiate the investigation on the receipt of information of commission of cognizable offence and to collect the evidence.
- To inform the Magistrate regarding the nature of the information received.
- To maintain a record of the information of the cognizable offence committed.
A Constitution Bench of the Supreme court in Lalita Kumari Vs. Govt. of U.P and others has issued the following guidelines:-
(a) The registration of FIR is mandatory under section 154 of CrPC, if the case pertains to commission of cognizable offence.
(b) The police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering offence if cognizable offence is disclosed. action must be taken against erring officers who do not register the FIR if information received by him discloses a cognizable offence.
Procedure of filing FIR
Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973 lays down the procedure for lodging an FIR:
- If the information about the commission of cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down.
- A person giving the information or making a complaint can demand that the information recorded by the police to be read over to him/her.
- Informant should sign the report only after verifying that the information recorded by the police is as per the details given by you.
- Once the information has been recorded by the police, it must be signed by the person giving the information.
- A person giving the information has the right of getting a copy of FIR free of cost.
Evidentiary value of FIR
- The FIR can be used for the purpose of corroborating the oral evidence adduced at the trial.
- FIR is not a substantive evidence so its cross examination under section 157 or 145 of Evidence Act is compulsory.
- The FIR is a public document and the accused is entitled to have its certified copy. The denial of a copy will be against the principle of natural justice and violative of Article 21 of the constitution.
- It can be used to impeach the credit of an informer lodging it under section 145, 157 and 158 of the Evidence Act, 1872.
- It can be used to refresh informer’s memory.
Zero numbered FIR
It was initially highlighted after the Nirbhaya case, 2012. At that point, the Justice Verma Committee set up to look at amendments to Criminal Law in India, first suggested the concept of ‘Zero FIR’. An FIR that can be filed at any police station regardless of the place of crime and area of jurisdiction.
What is Zero FIR?
FIR lodged in a police station not having jurisdiction to investigate the case will be called as Zero numbered FIR. Such Zero numbered FIR is then forwarded to the concerned police station where it gets numbered and then proceeded for investigation. Zero FIR is similar to that of an ordinary FIR. The variation is in the serial number. The sanctity of legal process remains same in Zero FIR. It is very helpful for people as it facilitate them by not allowing making rounds of different police station for lodging the FIR.
Section 166A of IPC
If the officials were found delaying the filing of the FIR and not offering a zero FIR option to the complainant, action can be taken under section 166A of Indian Penal Code for a public servant disobeying directions under law. According to Section 166A of I.P.C. added by Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 a police officer refusing to register FIRs related to certain offences against women can be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to two years, and shall also be liable to fine.
1. Zero Fir are essential to bring the process of justice in a very efficient manner. With the rapid increase in crime against women. this practice enables them to file cases in any jurisdiction.
2. Crimes like murder, rape and accidents require immediate action from the concerned police authorities so that they take appropriate samples, eyewitnesses and other circumstantial details. FIR allows the authorities to pen down the initial action taken rather than trying to figure out what had happened at the crime scene initially.
3. Zero FIR is a great asset when you are travelling and unfortunately become a victim of any cognizable crime. You can reach any police station and file a Zero FIR.