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What is FIR and Chargesheet?

What is First Information Report?

F.I.R. means any information recorded by an on-duty officer given by an aggrieved person or any other person either in writing or made orally about the commission of a Cognizable Offence. Based on information so provided the investigation started. F.I.R can also be registered by the Judicial Magistrate by giving the direction to the concerned jurisdictional area of the Police Station.

Section 154: Information in cognizable cases

  1. Every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be read Over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf.
     
  2. A copy of the information as recorded under sub- section
    a. Shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.
     
  3. Any person aggrieved by a refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to record the information referred to in subsection
    a. may send the substance of such information, in writing and by post, to the Superintendent of Police concerned who, if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him, in the manner provided by this Code, and such officer shall have all the powers of an officer in charge of the police station in relation to that offence.

Who can File F.I.R:

  1. Victim of the offence, or
  2. family member or the Friend of the victim, or
  3. Any person who witnessed the offence, or
  4. The person who has committed the offence, or
  5. A police officer, or
  6. Any other person who has come to know about such an offence.

In order to constitute an F.I.R. in terms of Section 154 of Cr.P.C two conditions are supposed to fulfilled:

  • What information is conveyed by the Victim of the offence must be an information only;
  • That the information so provided must relate to the commission of a Cognizable Offence only.

In other words F.I.R is the initial stage where all the information regarding the offence is gathered. In one of the Judgement, the Madhya Pradesh High Court has observed that the report of the crime which is persuading the police machinery towards starting the investigation is an F.I.R. subsequent reports are/were written; they are not hit under the S.161 and do not constitute the same.

Evidentiary value of F.I.R:

  • F.I.R is not substantive evidence in nature.
  • It can be used as corroborative or contradictory evidence.
  • F.I.R. can be used even as a dying declaration.
  • F.I.R is not an encyclopedia (when, where, what, who, why) but it contains necessary information.


In Gulshan Kumar v. State, it was held that though an FIR is not a substantive piece of evidence, it can be used to corroborate or contradict the statement of maker thereof and also to judge the trustworthiness of the prosecution story. For the purpose of summoning a person whose name is mentioned in the FIR but has not been charge-sheeted, the FIR can be taken into consideration because it is evidence at that stage. Where the FIR was registered on the basis of a written complaint submitted to the police and there was no mention of the presence of some persons as eye-witnesses in it, it was held that the presence of those eye-witnesses was rightly disbelieved.

What Is Zero F.I.R.?

Zero F.I.R.[1] another amendment which came after Nirbhaya Rape Case. With the help of zero F.I.R. a complaint can be lodged at any police station irrespective of the jurisdiction of the Police Station. When in trouble men and women will be benefited equally. In Zero FIR, any police station can register FIR irrespective of the jurisdictional area but the investigation will be taken up by the police in the place of occurrence reported in the FIR. The police station registers the zero FIR marking it the serial number 0 and transfers it to the respective jurisdictional area which can carry out the investigation.

The sanctity of the legal process remains the same in zero FIR. It is very helpful for people as it facilitates them and takes away the inconvenience of searching for the right police station for lodging the FIR. Even the most influencing oracles our BOLLYWOOD tried to make consciousness regarding the alike by exposing the use of ZERO FIR in the film PINK. But it was weak to make much of the homelands population aware of.

Can FIR Be Considered As Dying Declaration?

In k. Ramachand Reddy v. Public Prosecutor,[2] it was held that when an injured person registers FIR & then died, it was held to be relevant as a dying declaration.

Is There Any Time Bar For Filing FIR?

As per functional knowledge, every FIR must be registered filed promptly, expeditiously and without wasting any time. There may be a circumstance where some authorization of time may be given in filing the FIR. But there must be some convincing reasons for the delay in filing the FIR under the compelling circumstances. Judges with a lot of sanity and experience can use their discretion judiciously and in the interest of justice in each and every case. However, no possible duration test of time can be fixed for applying the test of reasonableness to the lodging of an FIR; it depends upon facts and circumstances of each case. The delay in lodging the FIR as such is not lethal in law if the prosecution substantiated lodging the report.

Reports Or Statements Which Does Not Amount To FIR

  1. A report or a statement after the commencement of the investigation (Sec. 162 and 163 of Cr.P.C.)
  2. Record not recorded after several days of commencement of an offence.
  3. Records not recorded immediately but recorded after the questioning of witness is done
  4. The information recorded is not about the occurrence of cognizable offence but only cryptic form message is recorded in the form of an appeal for immediate help.
  5. Complaint made directly to Magistrate.
  6. Information is given to Magistrate or police Officer on phone.
  7. Information received at Police Station prior to the lodging of an FIR.

In Damodar v. State of Rajasthan, it was held that the information conveyed to the Police on telephone and the entry was though made will not constitute an FIR under section 154 of Cr.P.C. even if the information disclosed commission of a cognizable offence.


[3]Supreme Courts Guidelines/Directions For Registration Of An FIR:

  1. Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code, if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation.
     
  2. If the information received does not disclose a cognizable offence but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted only to ascertain whether cognizable offence is disclosed or not.
     
  3. If the inquiry discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, the FIR must be registered. In cases where preliminary inquiry ends in closing the complaint, a copy of the entry of such closure must be supplied to the first informant forthwith and not later than one week. It must disclose reasons in brief for closing the complaint and not proceeding further.
     
  4. 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.
     
  5. The scope of preliminary inquiry is not to verify the veracity or otherwise of the information received but only to ascertain whether the information reveals any cognizable offence.
     
  6. As to what type and in which cases preliminary inquiry is to be conducted will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. The category of cases in which preliminary inquiry may be made are as under:
    a. Matrimonial disputes/ family disputes
    b. Commercial offences
    c. Medical negligence cases
    d. Corruption cases
    e. Cases where there is abnormal delay in initiating criminal prosecution, for example, over3 months delay in reporting the matter without satisfactorily explaining the reasons for delay. The aforesaid are only illustrations and not exhaustive of all conditions which may warrant preliminary inquiry.
     
  7. While ensuring and protecting the rights of the accused and the complainant, a preliminary inquiry should be made time bound and in any case it should not exceed 7 days. The fact of such delay and the causes of it must be reflected in the General Diary entry.
     
  8. Since the General Diary/Station Diary/Daily Diary is the record of all information received in a police station, we direct that all information relating to cognizable offences, whether resulting in registration of FIR or leading to an inquiry, must be mandatorily and meticulously reflected in the said Diary and the decision to conduct a preliminary inquiry must also be reflected, as mentioned above.

Requisite Steps Taken When Fir Is Not Registered

  1. You can meet the Superintendent of Police or other higher officers like Deputy Inspector General of Police and Inspector General of Police and bring your complaint to their notice.
  2. You can send your complaint in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police concerned. If the Superintendent of police is satisfied with your complaint, he shall either investigate the case himself or order an investigation to be made.
  3. You can file a private complaint before the court having jurisdiction.
  4. You can also make a complaint to the State Human Rights Commission or the National Human Rights Commission if the police do nothing to enforce the law or investigate the offence but in a biased and corrupt manner.


Are There Any Alternate Steps Available For Filing An Fir (Especially For Women)?

Yes, there are alternate steps to filing an FIR, for women.

Step 1: Call the National Commission for Women (ideal if there is a refusal to file an FIR)

The National Commission of Women (NCW) is a national level organization mandated to protect the interests of women. They have counseling, legal and research arms to tackle issues of violence and discrimination against women.

The complaints they receive include but are not limited to domestic violence, harassment, dowry, torture, desertion, bigamy, rape and refusal to register FIR, cruelty by husband, derivation, gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the workplace.

If you call the NCW, they will tell you how to proceed with regards to counsel – the main functions of the NCW cell are to make spot enquiries, examine various witnesses, collect evidence and submit the report with recommendations, which can offer some direct and immediate assistance.

Action taken by the NCW on receipt of complaints

Counseling: Counseling services are provided to the aggrieved and she would be told about the status of law and various options available to her.
Resolution through alternative methods: the NCW through its panel of experts would arrange for the mediation between the parties
In certain cases, the victim may choose to settle the matter with the perpetrator of the crime.
If you can identify the person then the person will be tracked and put in judicial custody within 24 hours unless he/ she have crossed the city limits.
A charge sheet is filed; witnesses are called and interrogated as required. The documents are filed with the FIR and the sessions court takes over from there.

What Is Charge Sheet?

Charge sheet refers to a formal police record showing the names of each person brought into custody, the nature of the accusations, and the identity of the accusers. It is also known as four-part charging instrument containing:

  1. Information about the accused and the witnesses;
  2. the charges and specifications;
  3. the preferring of charges and their referral to a summary;
  4. For the trial record.

A charge sheet is distinct from the First Information Report (FIR), which is the core document that describes a crime that has been committed. It usually refers to one or more FIRs and charges an individual or organization for (some or all of) the crimes specified in those FIR(s). Once the charge sheet has been submitted to a court of law, prosecution proceedings against the accused begin in the judicial system.

Section 173 Report of police officer on completion of investigation

  1. Every investigation under this Chapter shall be completed without unnecessary delay.
  2. (i) As soon as it is completed, the officer in charge of the police station shall forward to a Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of the offence on a police report, a report in the form prescribed by the State Government, stating-
    a. the names of the parties;
    b. the nature of the information;
    c. the names of the persons who appear to be acquainted with the circumstances of the case;
    d. whether any offence appears to have been committed and, if so, by whom;
    e. whether the accused has been arrested;
    f. whether he has been released on his bond and, if so, weather with or without sureties;
    g. whether he has been forwarded in custody under section 170.
    (ii) The officer shall also communicate, in such manner as may be prescribed by the State Government, the action taken by him, to the person, if any, by whom the information relating to the commission of the offence was first given.


Is There Any Time Bar For Filing Charge-Sheet?

The time limit to file charge sheet is related to arrest of the accused in the case. The charge sheet is to be filed within 60 days from the date of arrest of the accused in cases triable by lower courts and 90 days in cases triable by Court of Sessions.

For instances-
FIR is filed against a person A. But that person could not be traced and arrested for many months or even years for the offence of murder. The investigation is closed after best efforts fail to trace the accused within couple of months. His name is kept on Wanted accused Register. Say, he is traced and arrested after two years after filing the FIR against him. Then the time limit comes into play. Charge sheet has to be filed as stated above as the case may be.

What Are The Consequences If Charge Sheet Is Not Filed Within Specified Time Frame?
In Rakesh Kumar Paul[4] case, where accused was charged with offence under Section 13(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act being punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than four years but which may extend to ten years, the State argued since the petitioner could face imprisonment that could extend up to 10 years; the date for applying for default bail would commence on the expiry of 90 days.

However, Justice Madan Bhimarao Lokur of Supreme Court held that the petitioner had satisfied all the requirements of obtaining Default Bail he had put in more than 60 days in custody pending investigations into an alleged offence not punishable with imprisonment for a minimum period of 10 years, no charge sheet has been filed against him and he was prepared to furnish bail for his release, as such, he ought to have been released by the High Court on reasonable terms and conditions of bail. Justice Deepak Gupta of Supreme Court further held that Section 167(2((a)(i) of the CrPC is applicable only in cases where the accused is charged with:

  1. offences punishable with death and any lower sentence;
  2. offences punishable with life imprisonment and any lower sentence and
  3. offences punishable with minimum sentence of 10 years; in all cases where the minimum sentence is less than 10 years but the maximum sentence is not death or life imprisonment, then Section 167(2)(a)(ii) will apply and the accused will be entitled to grant of default bail after 60 days, in case charge-sheet is not filed.

It was also held, in matters of personal liberty, we cannot and should not be too technical and must lean in favor of personal liberty.

In Aslam Babalal Desai (1992) case,
Supreme Court has held, The provisions of the Code, in particular Sections 57 (person arrested not to be detained more than 24 hours) and 167 (detention, remand & default bail), manifest the legislative anxiety that once a persons liberty has been interfered with by the police arresting him without a courts order or a warrant, the investigation must be carried out with utmost urgency and completed within the maximum period allowed by the proviso (a) to Section 167(2) of the Code. It must be realised that the said proviso was introduced in the Code by way of enlargement of time for which the arrested accused could be kept in custody.

Therefore, the prosecuting agency must realise that if it fails to show a sense of urgency in the investigation of the case and omits or defaults to file a charge-sheet within the time prescribed, the accused would be entitled to be released on bail and the order passed to that effect under Section 167(2) would be an order under Section 437(1) or (2) {when bail may be taken in case of non-bailable offence} or Section 439(1) {Special powers of High Court or Court of Session regarding bail} of the Code.

Since Section 167 does not empower cancellation of the bail, the power to cancel the bail can only be traced to Section 437(5) or Section 439(2) of the Code. The bail can then be cancelled on considerations which are valid for cancellation of bail granted under Section 437(1) or (2) or Section 439(1) of the Code.

No case for grant of bail will be made out under section 167(2) of the Code if charge sheet is filed before the expiry of 90 days or 60 days, as the case may be, from the date of first remand. The right of default bail is lost, once charge sheet is filed. Default bail is a sort of a rap on the knuckles of the police for not completing the investigation and filing the final report within 90 or 60 days of first remand of the accused.

However, for the failure of a Judge to pass a formal judicial order of extension of remand on the application of the prosecution, default bail is not the remedy.

The maxim Actus Curiae Neminem Gravabit meaning – an act of the Court shall prejudice no one, cannot be ignored. Such a ground for bail cannot be founded either under section 167(2) or section 437 of the Code.

End-Notes

  1. The provision of Zero FIR came up as a recommendation in the Justice Verma Committee Report in the new Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 after the heinous Nirbhaya case of December 2012.
  2. k. Ramachand Reddy v. Public Prosecutor, (SC)-1976-5-25
  3. Lalita Kumari v. Govt. of U.P & Ors on 12 November 2013.
  4. Rakesh Kumar Paul (2017)

 Quashing FIR

  • To File Quashing FIR in Delhi
    Contact Adv.Tapan Choudhury at Ph no: 9650499965 (Available in Whatsapp)

  • To File Quashing FIR in Pune
    Contact NirDita Law Firm at Ph no: 8851978611 (Available in Whatsapp)

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