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Common Defects in FIR

Common Defects in FIR

In most countries, the police file FIR (First Information Report) which is a legal document whenever it receives any information concerning cognizable crime. The FIR being essential in starting off the crime investigations, there are times when such a document lacks important points.

Common Issues or Defects Associated with FIRs

  • Incomplete Information: The omission of important facts in a First Information Report (FIR) constitutes one of the commonest defects. Some other problems may arise due to the absence of important details from the FIR such as the names and address of the accused, date, time and place of occurrence, the specific facts of the case, including the names and telephone number of the witnesses.
  • Illegible Handwriting: Sometimes the FIR is written in poor handwriting and becomes illegible giving headache to the Police Officers and the Magistrate to ferret out the contents and meaning of the same. This may damage the fate of the case.
  • Vague or Ambiguous Statements: FIR may contain broad and imprecise descriptions of the crime that may confuse the investigator with regards to the nature of the crime.
  • Improper Identification of the Accused: Incorrect identification of the accused by FIR and insufficient proof showing guilty him guilty can be obstacles for further investigation.
  • Incorrect Information: False information provided in the FIR could cause problems also. The investigation may be faulty, depending on mistakes in identifying the suspect, place where it occurred, time at which it happened, or even order of events.
  • Delay in Filing: Non-filing of FIR at the Police Station within the prescribed period leads to another critical loophole. The FIR needs to be presented promptly in order to facilitate an account that is truer to the incident. However, delays may create doubts concerning the authenticity of the information.
  • Delay in Sending to Magistrate: If it is difficult to provide convincing reasons for the delay in sending a copy of the FIR to the Magistrate of Court, this fact alone may evoke some doubts concerning the genuineness of the FIR.
  • Delay in Sending to Superior Police Officers: If there is unexplained delay in sending the copy of FIR by the Officer-in-Charge of a Police Station to his Superior Police Officer like SDPO or SP, this may make the FIR doubtful.
  • Bias Language or Personal Opinion: The bias in the FIR would affect the objectivity of the investigation and therefore be detrimental the fair trial rights of a person. This can be the case when a complainant harbours an ill-will against the offender or the police officer who files such FIR is biased as well. Some FIRs tend to contain personal opinions, potentially influencing both investigations and future court cases, which may affect the investigation adversely.
  • Contradictions: Internal inconsistencies in the FIR itself, or the incongruence of the FIR with later statements may undermine the case. The courts may reject the validity of such information when it is not consistent.
  • Omission of Material Facts: The omission of material facts relevant to the particular case within the FIR may also amount to a defect. The FIR should be detailed in giving description of an occurrence as leaving some important facts unnoticed may impede the investigations.
  • Missing crucial details: The FIR may miss out on some very significant information that could assist in the prosecution, such as recovering evidence and obtaining witnesses. This may harm the investigation of the case.
  • Lack of Signature or Authentication: The person giving information must endorse the FIR. If there does not exist a signature or authentication, then the court may question the legitimacy of the document. Sometimes the person who lodges the FIR gets the same written by somebody else and himself signs it or puts his Left Thumb Impression and the signature and address of the writer of the FIR is found absent. This may affect the credibility of the FIR.
  • Influence or Pressure: There may be occasions when the FIR is written under pressure. Any indication that the FIR was submitted due to force, coercion, or manipulation may destroy its value. It has to be freely done and not forced onto somebody from outside.
  • Language Barriers: Language barriers in multilingual and diverse areas could result into miscommunication or misleading findings in an FIR. For effective response to the incident, there must be clear communication to provide sufficient comprehension of it.
  • Failure to Register: This can be a defect in some cases if the police refuse to register an FIR. Each cognizable offence must be recorded, and failure to do so except on reasonable grounds may involve legal implications.
  • False information: There are instances when false FIRs were lodged to harass the innocent persons. This may result in legal consequences for the complainant.
  • Missing Complaint: The complaint which turns into FIR is generally written on a white paper and given to the Officer-in-Charge of a Police Station who himself or on his behalf some other officer draws the FIR though the Officer-in-Charge himself signs it mandatorily, based on this complaint. If this complaint in white paper is found missing during trial, it may affect the authenticity of the FIR.
  • Verbal Complaint: FIR may be drawn on verbal complaint given to the Officer-in-Charge of a Police Station. If after drawing of FIR correctly, the same is not read over to the complainant and his approval is not taken and record of the same is not kept, this may create defect in FIR.
  • Substance of FIR in General Diary: If the substance of FIR is not entered into the General Diary or Station House Diary, the FIR may be challenged as doubtful.
  • Omission of previous complaints or history: Failure to disclose any previous complaints and issues associated with the alleged offence that might be useful in investigations may affect the genuineness of the FIR.

It is vital to note that these are generally defects which depend on the circumstances of a specific case. This means that such issues require immediate attention so as to give a fair and just criminal justice process. The legal systems usually offer means of correction of the flaws in the FIRs by thorough investigations, the trial, as well as the legal remedies.

It is however important to realize that the defects arising from an FIR may differ for the particular case and the complainant. Legal experts and institutions may help the complainant in addressing the deficiencies in FIR and rectifying the same.

Written By: Md.Imran Wahab, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

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