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Differences Between GD And FIR: Legal Perspective

The differences between GD (General Diary) and FIR (First Information Report) are as follows:

  1. The General Diary, also referred to as the Station Diary or Daily Diary in some states, is maintained based on the stipulations contained in Section 44 of the Police Act, 1861, or under the relevant provisions of the Police Act(s) enacted by a state, or as per the norms prescribed by its Police Manual, whereas section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 refers to First Information Report (FIR).
  2. If GD is lodged against you, it may not be a serious case, however if FIR is lodged against you there is need for concern and you may be arrested.
  3. The matters of police station administration are also noted in GD, whereas these matters are not written in FIR.
  4. While there is no need for the complainant's signature in the General Diary, the complainant's signature is collected in the FIR book upon submitting the complaint to the police station.
  5. GD may be maintained at the police station, police investigation centre, police camp or police outpost, whereas FIR is maintained at the police station only.
  6. The purpose of GD, which is a written document, is to record various occurrences, grievances, or any data that may not directly result in a criminal offence but still requires registration and documentation for administrative reasons or potential future use. The main aim of a General Diary is to maintain an official record of events and intelligence in order to promote transparency and responsibility within law enforcement agencies.
  7. In common practice, the First Information Report (FIR) is a written document that is filed by the police whenever they have received any information about a cognizable offence committed. The First Information is the information that reaches the police before any other, and this is why it is referred to as the First Information Report.
  8. GD is generally lodged in non-cognizable cases, whereas FIR is filed in cognizable cases (In non-cognizable case police cannot arrest without warrant, but in cognizable case, police can arrest without warrant).
  9. GD copy is not sent to the Judicial Magistrate having jurisdiction, although its copy is sent to a superior police officer. One copy of each FIR is always sent to the superior officers and the concerned Judicial Magistrate.
  10. There may be no need of securing bail in case of GD entry against a person, whereas the accused person will have to apply for bail if FIR is lodged against him.
  11. GD normally does not end in charge sheet; FIR may terminate in charge sheet.
  12. GD information may not require criminal investigation, recording of FIR needs criminal investigation.
  13. Both civil and criminal information may be entered in GD; only criminal information is entered in FIR.
  14. There is no concept of Zero GD but Zero FIR is a legal phenomenon.
  15. GD complaint may or may not be given high priority by the concerned police officer, depending on the nature of the incident and available resources. In contrast, FIRs are given top priority as they involve criminal offences and potential harm to individuals and society.
  16. GD may not require a formal investigation and may serve as a record of incidents for future reference. FIR Initiates a police investigation to gather evidence, identify suspects, and take legal action against offenders.
  17. Police generally treat GD complaint less seriously than FIR.
  18. GD can be filed without the signature of the S.H.O. or O.C. of the police station, FIR cannot be initiated without the signature of the S.H.O./O.C. of the police station.
  19. GD is generally lodged at the police station; FIR may be lodged both at the police station and also through the court under section 156 (3) CrPC.
  20. GD covers a wide range of incidents, including accidents, complaints, lost or missing property, and administrative tasks. In contrast, FIRs are limited to criminal offences and related information necessary for law enforcement purposes.
  21. The police are not always legally obligated to take specific action based on the GD records, although follow-up may be necessary depending on the circumstances. The police are legally obligated to investigate the reported offense as per FIR and take appropriate legal action in accordance with the law.
  22. In the case of CBI v. Tapan Kumar Singh (2003) 6 SCC 175, the Supreme Court held that in some circumstances, a General Diary Entry could be regarded as an FIR if it discloses the commission of a cognizable offence. FIR is never converted into General Diary.
  23. Some GD entry may sometimes be made by some other police officer without the knowledge of the officer-in-charge of the police station; however, an FIR is seldom lodged without the knowledge of the officer-in-charge of a police station.
  24. The gist of GD is not required to be noted in FIR, whereas the gist of FIR is generally mentioned in GD.
  25. GD can be made anytime after the incident, whereas an FIR is lodged immediately after commission of the crime and any unnecessary delay in this regard should be explained.
  26. GD may be treated as an administrative document, whereas FIR is a legal document.
  27. GD can be cancelled by an officer-in-charge of the police station, whereas FIR cannot be cancelled by him.
  28. The maintenance of GD may not be obligatory, but the maintenance of FIR is obligatory.
  29. The duty to maintain a General Diary is an essential part of the conduct expected of the relevant officer. However, this unlike FIR may not necessarily have any impact on the outcome of a criminal trial unless it can be proven that there is a significant bias that affects the core of the matter, as stated on 18.05.2018 by the Supreme Court Justices N. V. Ramana and S. Abdul Nazeer in their ruling on the case of State by Lokayukta Police v. H. Srinivas.
Written By: Md.Imran Wahab, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

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