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
- 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
- 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
- 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