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Criminal Complaint

Criminal Complaint is of 2 types. One is FIR (First Information Report) and the second is Private Complaint a Complaint which is to be given to a magistrate either orally or in writing, whereas the first information report is lodged at the police station nearby the place of commission of crime. According to s. 2(d) Criminal Procedure Code, a complaint is the allegation of fact which constitutes a complaint.

What Is An FIR?

An Inspector General of Police once said: I have worked 24 years in police department and honestly speaking, I do not know how to draft a F.I.R. properly. I do not know how to inspect a scene of crime scientifically and to be more specific, I do not know how to interrogate a suspect psychologically.

First Information Report is the most crucial/important document in Criminal Prosecution. It is called the First Information Report as the same opens the gates of investigation as the Information reaches the Police First in time.

First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is generally a complaint lodged with the police by the victim of a cognizable offence or by someone on his/her behalf.
Or
A First Information Report (FIR) is the very first step in the criminal matter in which the facts of the commission of crime is reported to the police by the person who is a witness to the case, victim or a person who has a knowledge of the same act done by the accused.

The definition of the FIR is provided in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 which states that 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.

As described in law:
  • When information about the commission of a cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down.
  • The complainant or supplier of the information has a right to demand that the information recorded by the police be read to him or her.
  • Once the information has been recorded by the police, it must be signed by the person giving the information.
  • The complainant has a right to get free copy of an FIR as per section 154(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

First Information Report is written by a Police Officer. The State has duty to take cognizance of the commission of a cognizable case. Generally a Police officer does not possess the adequate knowledge to deal with these cases promptly, as these cases demand urgent attention because the delay erases the available evidences.

The Supreme Court in D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal has observed that in view of the expectation of the society that police must deal with the criminals in an efficient and effective manner and bring to book those who are involved in the crime. The cure can't however, the worse than the decease itself.

The expression, First Information or First Information Report is not defined in the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) 1973, but these words are always understood to mean, Information recorded under Section 154(1) of Cr.P.C. It is the Information given to a Police Officer in the form of a complaint or accusation, regarding the commission or suspected commission of a cognizable offence. It is given with the object of setting the criminal law in motion and police start the investigation.

This report forms the foundation of the case. The question whether or not a particular document would constitute F.I.R. is a question of fact, which depends upon the circumstances of each case.

The statement made by a witness who initiated the proceedings when reduced to writing is the F.I.R. Genuineness or credibility of the information is not a condition precedent for registration of the case. Information lodged with Police disclosing cognizable offence, the officer-in-charge of a Police station is statutorily obliged to register a case.

F.I.R. is the information which is given first in point of time. Obviously, there cannot be more than one F.I.R. in one case; however, there may be many the victims in one case. This First Information Report shall be based on the complaint as made or on the information as available at that point of time.

A good FIR must address the six issues of- What is the nature of the incident, Where and When did it happen, who is reporting and against whom and why did the incident happen. These six W's begin the process of data collection, collation and analysis that hopefully results in the arrest and prosecution of the involved person or persons.

The following two conditions are to be satisfied before information could be treated as F.I.R:

  1. It must be an information
  2. Secondly, it must relate to a cognizable offence on the face of it and not merely in the light of the subsequent events.

Section 154 uses the word ˜report' the words F.I.R. have a legal importance. It may be possible that there should be more than one report about the one and the same incident. In such cases, the F.I.R. would be a report under this section. The F.I.R. is the earliest report made to the police officer with a view to his taking action in the matter.

The F.I.R. must be in the nature of a complaint or accusation with the object of getting the law in motion. The F.I.R. is information given by an informant given by an informant on which the investigation is commenced.

Now, it is well settled that any information given on phone too in respect of a cognizable offence to a police officer-in-charge of a police station will be treated as F.I.R.: provided the said information received through the phone is reduced into writing by the officer of the police station and signed by him.

FIR is the first step of Criminal Procedure that leads to the trial and punishment of a criminal. It is also most important supportive evidence on which the entire structure of the prosecution case is built-up. The main objective of the FIR is to enable the Police officer-in-charge of the Police Station to initiate the investigation on the crime and to collect evidence as soon as possible. It is first report of the crime and so it is a valuable document that throws much light on the crime.

It is also important because it is a statement which is made soon after the occurrence of the crime without fabrication and any prosecution case that may be subsequently made-up can be checked in the light of the first report. FIR is an important document. FIR is not substantive piece of evidence but at times it affects the prosecution case. Therefore, correct recording of FIR is required. FIR should contain as much information as is available at the time of recording it.

Object And Importance Of F.I.R.


FIR sets the Criminal Law in Motion. Object of FIR are many and these are given below:

  • Commission of the Crime is reported.
  • The Accused who has committed the crime is taken to task.
  • There should no repetition of the crime.
In Emp. v. Kh. Nazir Ahmed, the honorable court held that the object of the FIR is to obtain early information of alleged criminal activity, to record the circumstances before there is time for them to be forgotten and embellished, and the report can be put in evidence when the informant is examined if it is desired to do so. This view was confirmed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Wilayat Khan v. State of U.P.

F.I.R. is the Bible of the case initiated on police report. The Object of F.I.R. from the point of view of the informant is to set the criminal law in motion. From the point of view of investigating authorities it is to obtain information about the alleged criminal activity so as to be able to take suitable steps for tracing and bringing to book the guilty party.

The report does not constitute substantive evidence though it is important as conveying the earliest information about the occurrence. It can be used only as a previous statement for the purpose contemplated under section 157 or section 145 of the Evidence Act that is for corroborating or contradicting its maker and not of other witnesses.

The object of Section 154, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is to obtain early information of alleged criminal activity, to record the circumstances before there is time for them to be embellished or forgotten.

No doubt the F.I.R. being an early record and the first version of the alleged criminal activity conveyed to the police officers with the object of putting the police in motion in order to investigate is an important and valuable document. F.I.R. is used to check subsequent improvements and embellishments during trial.

While explaining the legal position as to the right of informant to take the matter to the police by lodging F.I.R. or to the court direct, by filing complaint, the Andhra Pradesh, High Court has held that both the courses under Section 154 and under Section 200 Code of Criminal Procedure are open and available to a private citizen and, therefore, simply because there is a right under Section 154 of the said Code, consequent upon which the police would investigate, it cannot be said that the right under Section 200 is not available for purposes of taking recourse.

Who Can Lodge An FIR And What Information Can Be An FIR?

Anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence can file an FIR. It is not necessary that only the victim of the crime should file an FIR. A police officer who comes to know about a cognizable offence can file an FIR himself/herself. FIRs can be registered by a victim, a witness or any other person who has knowledge of the crime. The Complainant can state the facts about the offence either in writing or Oral but it is always advisable to give the Compliant in writing as the same can be of great value in case if the Police Officer refuses to take the Complaint.

In Hallu vs. State of M.P, 1974 AIR 1936, it was held that the Section 154 does not require that the Report must be given by a person who has personal knowledge of the incident reported. The section speaks of information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence given to an officer in charge of a police station.

Once the facts about the commission of crime is stated by a person, the police thereafter read the contents of the FIR to the Complainant in case it is reported in the oral manner.

You can file an FIR if:

  1. You are the person against whom the offence has been committed;
  2. You know yourself about an offence which has been committed;
  3. You have seen the offence being committed, Witnesses, if any.
The Most Important thing to remember is that to hide the knowledge of a crime is a bigger Offence

Conditions Required For Recording FIR Under Section 154 Cr.P.C.

The following requirements are to be satisfied to constitute information as First Information Report within the meaning of this section:
  • It must be information regarding to the commission of a cognizable offence;
  • It must be given to an officer-in-charge of a police station;
  • It must be reduced into writing either by the informant (complainant) and it should be signed by the Informant;
  • If it is oral, it must be taken down in writing and read over to the Informant, who should sign it and it should be recorded according to the direction of the Informant.
  • The substance of information should be entered in the prescribed register, daily diary, General Diary, otherwise known Station Diary or Station House Register in the form as the State Government has prescribed for the above said purpose.
In the absence of these ingredients it would not constitute to First Information Report as the same are vital ingredients.

First In Point of Time

The information regarding a cognizable offence by whomsoever given which is first in point of time and on which investigation actually commences is the F.I.R and not the one recorded thereafter or on reaching the spot. The information need not necessarily be against a person by name, it may be against an unknown person. In such a case it is the duty of the Police Officer to find out the real offender during the course of investigation. The First Information Report is earliest report made to the Police Officer is held in Soma Bhai v. State of Gujarat.

The following points have to be kept in mind:
  1. Earliest version of the case is F.I.R.
  2. It is not open to the officer-in-charge of Police Station to consider information as FIR according to his discretion.
  3. If information comes at a police station simultaneously from a number of persons, the officer-in-charge can use his common sense and record one statement as the FIR.
  4. In case of more than one FIR-There could not be more than one FIR in one case, even if there are many victims of the alleged offence, writing three FIR's in one case is illegal. What is recorded in the first point of time and which reached the officer-in-charge of police station first is FIR.

Different Types Of Information Which Can Be Considered As FIR Under Section 154 Of Cr.P.C.

Some information may be different in the nature but may be treated as FIR. First Information Report (FIR) under Section 154 Cr.P.C, the information must be relating to the commission of a cognizable offence.

Whether information is one under Section 154 Cr.P.C., is a question of fact and, it is not open to the Officer-in-charge of a Police Station to treat as such or not. In other words, if information is really a piece of information disclosing commission of a cognizable offence it would constitute the FIR of the case whether the Police Officer reduced it into writing or not.

Cr.P.C., is a question of fact and, it is not open to the Officer-in-charge of a Police Station to treat as such or not. In other words, if information is really a piece of information disclosing commission of a cognizable offence it would constitute the FIR of the case whether the Police Officer reduced it into writing or not.

Information Which Is Not Considered As FIR

The following facts may not be termed as F.I.R. as the facts of the information, though may be first in point in time, are bereft of basic requirements necessary to bring an information within the umbrella of the term F.I.R.

Information Received After The Commencement Of The Investigation:

F.I.R. must be distinguished from information received after the commencement of the investigation which is covered by Sections 161 and 162, Code of criminal Procedure. Such information is inadmissible. When a telephonic message merely conveys fact of killing, then such message cannot be treated as FIR nor would such message be admissible as substantive evidence. It only amounts to giving of information as to commission of offence.

In State through C.B.I. V. Vistaria Prakash the honorable Supreme Court decided that It is true that he did not make any statement that pink colored shirt was worn by the appellant in the first information report as also in his statement recorded under Section 161 of the code of Criminal Procedure (for short ˜the Code'), but the same in our opinion is not of much significance.

The first information report was lodged immediately after the occurrence took place, namely at 1400 hours. PW-1 was grievously injured. At that point of time it was not expected of him that he would be in a position to make a statement containing minutest details. His statement under Section 161 of the Code must have also been recorded immediately thereafter.

As cryptic and anonymous oral message received by a police officer or a person in police station, which does not clearly specify a cognizable offence, cannot be treated as F.I.R., hence subsequent written complaint by eyewitness to the S.I. Police in police station would not be hit by Section 162, Cr. P.C. This subsequent written complaint would amount to FIR.

The dead body of the deceased was brought down from the bus and taken to the house. The conductor of the bus sent information to the Depot Manager of the State Road Transport Corporation. The investigating officer was also informed.

A report to that effect might have been noted in the general diary but the same could not have been treated to be an FIR. When information is received by an officer in charge of a police station, he in terms of the provisions of the Code was expected to reach the place of occurrence as early as possible.

It was not necessary for him to take that step only on the basis of a First Information Report. Information received in regard to commission of a cognizable offence is not required to be preceded by a First Information Report. Duty of the State to protect the life of an injured as also an Endeavour on the part of the police officer to reach the place of occurrence is his implicit duty.

When a murder was committed during communal riots and when information about riot was already with the police and when F.I.R. about murder was lodged by the informant afterwards, then it was held by the Apex Court of India that even if F.I.R. is held to be hit by Sec. 162, Cr. P.C. statement made therein can be used to contradict the informant. Further, statement under Sec. 162, Cr. P.C. can also be used to corroborate evidence of other eyewitnesses.

A statement of a witness or accused made to a police officer after he started the investigation in no FIR. By no stretch of imagination the statement made by an accused in the course of investigation shall be taken and treated as FIR as contemplated under Section 154. Cr. P.C. Lodging of FIR at place of occurrence after the start of investigation is hit by Section 162, Code of Criminal Procedure.

Unless the information lodged in the Police Station before the Station House Officer as required under Section 154 Cr. P.C., the mere knowledge that a Police Officer may derive on going to the spot does not make that information the First Information Report.

Telephonic Information


In Ravishwar Manjhi & Ors. V. State of Jharkhand Supreme Court held that:
mere information received on phone by police officer without any details as regards identity of accused or nature of injuries caused by victims as well as name of culprits may not be treated as FIR.

In Vikram & Ors. V. State of Maharashtra the honorable Supreme Court decided that In this case the victim was admitted as an indoor patient in the hospital on 23.1.1997 and was discharged only on 26.1.1997. In a situation of this nature, explanation of PW2 and others that they gave priority of the treatment of the deceased and the accused which occasioned the delay in lodging the First Information Report and the same having been accepted by two courts below, we do not find any reason to disagree.

We find no reason to discard the testimony of P.W.2 who is an independent witness. It may be true that PW2 had informed the officer in charge of the Police Station on telephone, but the circumstances in which the said call had to be made has been noticed by us here to before.

The Head Constable states that he had written down the same but then it must have been a cryptic report and only for the purpose of visiting the scene of occurrence. He as well as the Investigation Officer did not say that it was a detailed report.

If, in the aforementioned premise, another First Information Report which was a detailed one came to be recorded, no exception can be taken to same being treated as a First Information Report.

Prima facie the cryptic and anonymous oral message conveyed through Telephone which did not in terms clearly specify a cognizable offence cannot be treated as a first information report. The mere fact that the information was first in point of time does not by itself clothe it with the character of F.I.R

Information given to Police telephone or by a person who did not disclose his identity and gave a cryptic message. FIR could not recorded on such an information.

Similarly when there was a telephonic message that some person was lying injured-then it could not be treated as F.I.R.. But, telephone message if given by a known person who discloses his identity and if: it contains all necessary facts which constitute an offence and is reduced to writing by Station House. Officer., can be treated as an F.I.R.

But such information even given by a person who does not disclose his identity but discloses the name of the offender and the place where the offence is committed and where the evidence of the crime is being destroyed can be treated as F.I.R. in view of the circumstances of the case.

A mere anonymous telephonic message at police station that firing had taken place at a Taxi Stand does not constitute an F.I.R. It must show that a cognizable offence has been committed.

From time to time, controversy has been raised, as to at what stage the investigation commences. That has to be considered and examined on the facts of each case. Especially when the information of a cognizable offence has been given on telephone.

If the telephonic message is cryptic in nature and the officer in charge, proceeds to the place of occurrence on basis of that information to find out the details of the nature of the offence itself, then it cannot be said that the information, which has been received by him on telephonic, shall be deemed to be First Information Report. The object and purpose of giving such telephone message is not to lodge the First Information Report, but to request the officer in charge of the police station to reach the place of occurrence.

On the other hand, if the information given on telephone is not cryptic and on basis of that information, the officer in charge, is prima facie satisfied about the commission of a cognizable offence and he proceeds from the police station after recording such information, to investigate such offence then any statement made by any person in respect of the said offence including about the participants, shall be deemed to be a statement made by a person to the police officer in the course of investigation, covered by Section 162 of the Code.

That statement cannot be treated as First Information Report. But any telephonic information about commission of a cognizable offence irrespective of the nature and details of such information cannot be treated as First information Report.

Telegram

A telegram cannot be treated as F.I.R Where messages are transmitted between Police Offices inter se, the object and purpose in transmitting the message must be ascertained before any message is labeled as F.I.R. It is only if the object was to narrate the circumstances of a crime, with a view that the receiving Police Officer might proceed to investigate thereon, that the message would be F.I.R.

But if the message sent was cryptic because the object was merely to seek instructions from higher Police Officers or because the object was to send direction for the police force to reach the place of occurrence immediately or to merely give information to superior Police Officers about the situation of law and order, the message would not be F.I.R.

A telephonic message received by police officer or a person in the police station is only cryptic and anonymous oral message, which, in view of the Court, may not in terms
clearly specify the cognizable offence and, therefore, cannot be treated as F.I.R. as defined under Sec. 154, Cr. P.C.

Telephonic Or Telegraphic Message

Information about a crime intimated to the Officer-in-charge of a Police Station on Telephone can be considered as FIR in some cases where there is possibility to obtain the signature of the informant and information is authentic one.

Sometimes an information regarding the cognizable offence may be intimated to the Officer-in-charge of a Police Station by means of a Telephonic or Telegraphic message, thus such piece of information constitute a valid first information report. Since it is not possible to obtain the signature of the informant, on a telephonic or telegraphic message, it has been held in some cases that such a message cannot be regarded as an FIR under the law.

According to law, telephonic call cannot be the basis of FIR, since it lacks authenticity and it is not a signed document. There is no guarantee as to its genuineness. Hence, generally, reliance cannot be placed and investigation commenced, unless and until it is verified by a preliminary inquiry.

If the telephonic message is given by known person who discloses his identity and it contains all the required facts which can constitute a cognizable offence and is reduced into writing by officer-in-charge of Police Station it can be treated as FIR. The question whether the telephonic message can be treated as the FIR is to be decided with reference to the facts of each case.

If, in the opinion of officer-in-charge of Police Station receiving telephonic message or telegram about the commission of cognizable offence, the circumstances justify action being taken, he should himself lodge first information on the basis of the telephonic information or telegram. On receipt of telephonic message of commission of cognizable offence, officer-in-charge of police station may reduced it into writing and sign it himself in which case it will become FIR.

According to Section 157 Cr.P.C. an officer-in-charge of Police Station may proceed with investigation from information received or otherwise i.e. suo motu. If he does not take any such action, he should make an entry in General Diary.

If the information given on telephone is not cryptic and on the basis of that information the officer incharge is prima facie satisfied about the commission of a Cognizable offence and he proceed from the police station after recording such information to investigate such offence then a Statement made by any person in respect of such offence including about the participant shall be deemed to be a statement made by a person to the police officer in the course of investigation covered by Section 162 of the Code.

In Damodar v. State of Rajasthan, the Apex court held that Coming to the question whether the message received on telephone would be treated as the FIR, the D.D., entry shows that unknown person had given an information about a vehicle hitting the deceased. In order to constitute the FIR, the information must reveal commission of an act which is a cognizable offence.

As observed by this court in Ramsingh Bavaji Jadeja v. State of Gujarat, the question as to at what stage the investigation commences has to be considered and examined on the facts of each case, especially, when the information of an alleged cognizable offence has been given on telephone.

Any telephonic information about commission of a cognizable offence, if any, irrespective of the nature and details of such information cannot be treated as First Information Report. If the telephonic message is cryptic in nature and the officer-in-charge, proceeds to the place of occurrence on the basis of that information to find out the details of the nature of the offence if any, then it cannot be said that the information which had been received by him on telephone shall be deemed to be a FIR.

The object and purpose of giving such telephonic message is not to lodge the First Information Report but to make the officer-in-charge of the Police Station to reach the place of occurrence. On the other hand, if the information given on telephones is not cryptic and on the basis of that information, the officer incharge is prima facie, satisfied about the commission of a cognizable offence and he proceeds from the police station after recording such information to investigate such offence then any statement made by any person in respect of the said offence including about the participants shall be deemed to be a statement made by a person to police officer in the course of investigation covered by Section 162 of the Code.

Telephonic Message Entered In General Diary Treated As FIR

In State of Assam v. Muhim Barkataki, held that The information of the incident was received over telephone message at 7-15 P.M. by the officer-in-charge of Jorhat Police Station who recorded an entry in the General Diary being G.D. Entry No. 47, dated November 2, 1978 at 7-15 P.M. The Town Sub-Inspector Sri P.K. Khatoniar was immediately deputed to make local investigation on the spot. Sri P.K. Khatoniar made enquiry and investigation locally at the spot, arrested accused Muhim Barkataki at the spot and returned to police station.

He then informed the facts of occurrence to the officer-in-charge of the Police Station who recorded the same under G.D. Entry No. 50 at 8-10 P.M. On November 3, 1978 at about 7 A.M. one Montu Chandra Dey, nephew of deceased Nagen dey, lodged ejahar (first information) with Jorhat Police Station. Thereafter murder and arson cases have been registered against Muhim Barkataki and Dulu Dutta.

The message received over telephone was an information relating to commission of cognizable offence and same was entered into General Diary of the police station as Entry No. 47. On the basis of this information the investigation of the case was entrusted to the town Sub-Inspector Sri Prafulla Kumar Khatoniar with the recording of G.D.

Entry No. 47 and the Investigation Officer fairly progressed with the investigating on that very night. Subsequent information of Montu Chandra Dey on November 3, 1978 are nothing but statements during the course of investigation and as such those are hit by S. 162 of the Criminal Procedure Code. It has, therefore, been held that Ex.5 cannot be recognized as the first information report of the occurrence. The G.D. Entry No. 47 which is proved is the first information report of the occurrence.

Telegraphic Message Communicated To The Officer-In-Charge Of A Police Station Can Be Treated As FIR.

There are conflicting views of the High Court on this point. Since Telegraphic Message is not signed by the sender it cannot be treated as authentic document and so it cannot be always treated as FIR. After receiving telegraphic message, the Police Officer must verify the person alleged to have sent it, really sent it and that he meant to make that report on such verification steps will be taken to write a proper report under Section 154(1) Cr.P.C.

Anonymous Telephone Message In Tapinder Singh v. State of Punjab, Apex court held that anonymous telephone message at police station that a fire had taken place at a taxi stand, does not by itself clothe it with a character of first information report, merely because the said information was first in point of time and the said information had been recorded in the daily diary of the Police Station, by the Police Officer responding to the telephonic call.

Cryptic Telephonic Message In State of U.P. v. P.A. Madhu, it was held that The telephonic message was given to the police that firing was going on. The telephonic message was an extremely cryptic one and could not be regarded as a FIR in any sense of the term. Secondly, assuming that the guy had given the telephonic message in utter chaos and confusion when shots after shots were being fired at the deceased, there was no occasion for Guy to have narrated the entire story of the occurrence. Moreover, such cryptic information on telephone is of no value at all.

Similarly in the case of Soma Bhai v. State of Gujarat, it was held the message given to the Surat Police Station was too cryptic to constitute a first information report within the meaning of Section 154 of Code and meant to be only for the purpose of getting further instructions.

Furthermore, the facts narrated to the P.S.I Patel which was reduced into writing a few minutes later undoubtedly constitute first information report in point of time made to the police in which necessary facts were given. In these circumstances, therefore, we are clearly of the opinion that the telephonic message to the Police Station at Surat cannot constitute the FIR and the High Court was in error in treating the FIR lodged in the person as in admissible in evidence.

In Rane Bhavaji Jadeja v. State of Gujarat, the Apex Court held that from time to time, controversy has been raised, as to at what stage investigation commences. That has to be considered and examined and the facts of each case, especially, when the information of a cognizable offence has been given on telephone.

If the telephonic message is cryptic in nature and the officer-in-charge, proceeds to the place of occurrence on the basis of that information to find out the details of nature of the offence itself, then it cannot be said that the information, which had been received bv him on telephone, shall be deemed to be first information report.

The object and purpose of giving such telephonic message is not to lodge the first information report, but to request the officer- in-charge of the police station to reach the place of occurrence. On the other hand if the information given on telephone is not cryptic and on basis of that information, the officer-in-charge is prima facie satisfied about the commission of a cognizable offence and proceeds from the police station after recording such information to investigate such offence, then any statement made by any person in respect of the said offence including about the participants, shall be deemed to be statement made by a person to the police officer.

In the course of investigation covered by Section 162 of the Code, that statement cannot be treated as first information report. But any telephonic information about commission of a cognizable offence, irrespective of the nature and details of such information cannot be treated as first information report. This can be illustrated. In a busy market place a murder is committed.

Any person in the market including one of the shop owners telephones to nearest police station informing the officer-in-charge about the matter, without knowing the details of murder, the accused or the victim. On basis of that information, the officer-in-charge reaches the place where the offence is alleged to have been committed.

In Dhanjaya Chatterjee Alias Dhana v. State of West Bengal, it was said that the cryptic telephonic message received at the Police Station from the father of the deceased had only made police agency run to the place of occurrence and to record the statement of the mother of the deceased, the investigation commenced thereafter. In some cases, the information given may be that a person has been shot at or stabbed.

It cannot be said that in such a situation, the moment the officer-in-charge leaves the Police Station, the investigation has commenced. In normal course he has first to find out the person who can give the details of offence before such officer is expected to collect the evidence in respect of the said offence.

In the present case, the Investigating Officer having received the telephonic message immediately reached the hospital and he first recorded the statement of the brother of the deceased. This statement must be treated as FIR. There is no dispute in that statement the name of the appellant was mentioned by the brother of the deceased and details of the occurrence as disclosed by him in court were stated by him.

This is apparent because during the course of cross-examination of the brother of the deceased, his attention has not been drawn to his statement recorded by the I.O. saying that he did not name the appellant as the assailant of his brother during his statement to the I.O. It is held that the witness brother of the deceased immediately after the occurrence made a statement before the I.O. and named the appellant as the person who gave a knife blow in the chest of the deceased.

According to us, the Sessions Judge as well as the High Court was in error in treating, the cryptic message given on the telephone by the Head Constable to the officer-in-charge of Police Station as FIR.

An Authentic Information

In Moni Mohan v. Emp. the honorable court decided that Authentic information is an information that must be capable of being traced to a specific individual who would take responsibility for the same so that if the information subsequently turned-out to be false, the informant could be proceeded against.

FIR Can Be Of Hearsay Action

FIR can be a hearsay action of the occurrence of a crime. The rule contained under Section 60 of Evidence Act is that hearsay evidence is inadmissible, but the FIR under Section 154 of Cr.P.C. is not evidence.


Information Of Mere Assembly Of Some Persons:


Mere confidential report received by the police that some bad characters have assembled at a particular place is not F.I.R and is not adequate for registration of a cognizable offence.

Vague, Indefinite And Unauthorized Information:

No piece of information which is vague, indefinite and unauthorized can be recorded as F.I.R. merely because it was received first in point of time. It must relate to
the commission of a cognizable offence.

A cryptic message meant of being an appeal for immediate relief is not an F.I.R. Mere information recorded in general diary that one student has stabbed another student is not F.I.R.

Where messages are transmitted between Police Offices inter se, the object and purpose in transmitting the message must be ascertained before any message is labeled as F.I.R. It is only in the F.I.R. to narrate the circumstances of a crime, with a view that the receiving Police officer might proceed to investigate thereon, that the message would be F.I.R.

But if the message sent was cryptic because the object was merely to seek instructions from higher Police Officers or because the object was to send direction for the police force to reach the place of occurrence immediately or to merely give information to superior Police Officers about the situation of law and order, the message would not be F.I.R.
The mere entry in the records of Railway Protection force (R.P.F.) is not an F.I.R.

Few More Instances::
In these points it has been declared that the information received on different stages is not First Information Report:
  1. Where an anonymous caller rang-up the Police Station and merely stated that fire had taken place at Ludhiana Taxi Stand, it was held that the mere fact of this information, first in point of time did not clothe it with the character of first information report as the information did not in terms clearly specify a cognizable offence.
     
  2. If the information that was given at the Police Station, though first in point of time, but did not disclose commission of cognizable offence it was held that the said information could not be treated as FIR of the case.
     
  3. Whether the first cryptic and any anonymous telephonic call did not clearly specify the commission of a cognizable offence, it is not FIR.
     
  4. Similarly, where someone gave a cryptic telephonic message to the police station that a fire had taken place without disclosing the commission of a cognizable offence and the S.I. of Police then proceeded to the spot and took a detailed statement, disclosing commission of a cognizable offence, it was held by the Apex Court that the subsequent statement was rightly treated as FIR of the case.
     
  5. A statement casually given by an informant to a Sub-Inspector is not FIR.
     
  6. A confidential information received by the police that some bad characters were assembled at a particular place is not FIR.
     
  7. An information first given to a police officer-in-charge of a police station cannot be considered as FIR, if it is very vague and indefinite and the police officer is thereby necessitated to collect more information before starting investigation in such situation further information given to him would be more appropriately treated as FIR.
     
  8. If an officer-in-charge of police station receives information from a person who came to police station that there was a shooting incident in the house of ˜Z', it is not FIR. The police officer should enter that report in the Daily Diary and go to the house of ˜Z' and record a statement there. If that statement discloses a cognizable offence, that will become the FIR and not the first report because the first report is very vague and does not affirm the commission of a cognizable offence.
     
  9. A vague confidential information given by a doctor to a police officer-in-charge of a police station without disclosing the name of the informer cannot become the basis of the FIR.
     
  10. A doctor in a hospital informing the police about the arrival of an injured person in the hospital cannot be considered as FIR, since the doctor's information is vague and does not disclose any cognizable offence and other particulars it cannot be considered as the FIR. No case can be registered on it. The information should be registered in the Daily Diary and the officer-in-charge of the police station should go to the hospital, record the statement of the injured then and there get a case registered on such statement. The second statement made by the injured person becomes the basis of the FIR and not of the doctor.
     
  11. Any statement made to the police officer after starting the investigation will not be considered as the FIR. In other words, FIR cannot be recorded on the basis of information obtained during an investigation. It is forbidden by Section 162 of Cr.P.C. Section 162 clause (1) explains that no statement made by any person to a police officer in the course of an investigation under this chapter of Cr.P.C. i.e. information to the police, etc. and statements to the police not to be signed, use of statements in evidence.

Evidentiary Value Of FIR

The Statement to the police officer or written Complaint which has b ty type="i"een converted to FIR is not substantive piece of evidence. This is because it is not made during trial, it is not given on oath nor it is tested by cross examination.

If the person giving the statement appears before the court at the time of Trial then the Statement can be used to corroborate or to contradict as per the provisions of the Indian Evidence Act. FIR can be used only for corroborating or contradicting only the Complainant and nobody else. The F.I.R can have better corroborative value if it is recorded before there is time and opportunity to embellish of before the informants memory fails.

Undue or unreasonable delay in lodging the FIR gives rise to the suspicion which puts the Court on guard to look at the possible motive and the explanation in the trustworthiness of the prosecution story.

In the circumstances where the FIR is given by the Accused themselves then it cannot be possibly used for corroboration or contradiction because the Accused cannot be a prosecution witness and would rarely offer himself to be a defense witness under section 315 of the Cr.P.C Also if the F.I.R is a confessional statement then it cannot be proved against the accused as a statement made to the Police officer is not admissible, but if the FIR is non-confessional then it can be admissible in evidence against the accused under section 21 of The Evidence Act or can be used to show conduct of the Accused under section 8 of The Evidence Act.

The above stated is a rare circumstance and in most cases FIR can be used only to contradict or corroborate the person giving it. There may be cases where the context can be put to use if omission of important facts is affecting the probabilities of the case.

FIR can be substantial evidence in the following cases:
Dying Declaration when a person deposing about the cause dies i.e a dying declaration. In such cased FIR will become admissible under section 33(1) of The Evidence Act.
When the injuries are being caused in the presence of the police officer in Police Station and the injured makes a statement to the officer stating that the accused was injuring him.

Contents Of FIR

The FIR must contain as far as possible the following points:

  1. Whether the Informant is an eye-witness or hearsay witness.
  2. The nature of the cognizable offence.
  3. The name and detailed description of the accused person (his colour, height, approximate age, features, clothing, distinctive marks on his face etc.).
  4. The name and identity of the victim of the crime.
  5. The date and time of the occurrence.
  6. The place where the crime was committed.
  7. The motive for committing the crime.
  8. How the crime was committed (description of the actual occurrence of the crime, the part played by the each accused and the weapon used by him).
  9. The name and address of the witnesses of the crime.
  10. The date and time of the occurrence.
  11. The place where the crime was committed.
  12. The motive for committing the crime.
  13. How the crime was committed (description of the actual occurrence of the crime, the part played by the each accused and the weapon used by him)
  14. The name and address of the witnesses of the crime.
  15. The articles taken away by the accused.
  16. What traces left behind by the accused, any articles belonging to the accused such as footwear, footprints, finger prints etc.).
  17. The description of the culprits should be given as far as possible in detail if the FIR is registered on the statement of eye witnesses. A mistake or doubtful identity may spoil the case.
  18. Whether the Informant is an eye-witness or hearsay witness.

Second FIR Lodged On Closure Of Investigation On FIRst FIR

Two FIRs In Respect Of Same Incident

In Jasjit Singh Bhasin v. State of Punjab the honorable court decided that two FIRs cannot be registered in same set of facts. There cannot be two FIRs against the same accused in respect of the same case. But when there are rival versions in respect of the same episode, they would normally take shape of two different FIRs and investigation can be carried by the same investigating agency. The subsequent registration of the FIR on the basis is of an application under Section 156(3) Cr. P.C. is uncalled for.

Where the applicant wants to add something by way of giving additional facts of the incident and feels that something is lacking in the previous FIR, it is always open for him to say so in his statement before the police during the course of investigation. This alone will not entitle him to register a second FIR regarding the same incident implicating the same accused.105 Registration of second FIR by Police on basis of complaint does not amount to abuse of process of Law.

Krishna was a Class I Officer in the Karnataka Administrative Service. An FIR was lodged against him under Sections 13(1) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PCA) in respect of check period from August 1, 1978 to August 24, 1989. This was alleged that he had assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. On August 24, 1989 the Investigating Officer submitted a B report (closure of the investigation) which was accepted by the Special Judge who directed that the officer's properties were to be released.

On July 25, 1995 another FIR was filed against the officer in respect of the period August 1, 1978 to July 25, 1995 under the same provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and making similar allegations. The officer filed a petition U/S. 482 of Cr.P.C. in the Karnataka High Court. He contended that the inclusion of the same check the period i.e. from August 1, 1978 to; August 24,1989 in the second FIR was not proper and ; once, the FIR should be quashed.; The High Court dismissed the contention and held that le second FIR was valid. Aggrieved by this, the officer filed an appeal in the Supreme hurt. The Supreme Court held that:

There is no provision in the criminal Procedure Code or the PCA which debars le filing of an FIR and investigating into the alleged offences merely because there was an FIR in respect of an earlier period. Thus, the second FIR was valid.
  • However the results of the earlier investigation cannot be totally ignored by the Investigating Agency.
  • The assets, which, in the earlier investigation, were valued cannot be valued at a higher value in the second investigation unless any positive ground is made out for such revaluation.

Registration of information as second FIR in regard to same incident is not permissible. Earlier FIR filed by petitioner in morning against respondent. Second FIR about same incident filed in afternoon on same day by respondent against petitioner.

Respondent's statement that petitioner pelted stones on him but he took treatment at home instead of going to doctor. Facts and circumstances indicate that second FIR as fabricated and filed to counter blast earlier FIR. Proceedings, if continued on basis of fabricated second FIR would result in abuse of Court's process. Therefore second FIR is liable to be quashed.

Value Of More Than One F.I.R.

Where there are three different versions, the earliest statement should be produced to enable the court to arrive at the real truth in the case.

Where two persons gave information about the same occurrence to two different police officers at different places, the one which was a little later in point of time, need not be excluded on the ground that it made during investigation, but must be regarded as an independent F.I.R.

Filing of second complaint based on same facts as the first one not to be treated as FIR and fresh investigation cannot be permitted.

In case of two F.I.R., the earliest in time is to be treated as F.I.R., as the subsequent one is hit by Section 161, Code of Criminal Procedure. But where an informant give two statement at the police station at different times, the subsequent statement cannot be accepted as F.I.R. as contemplated by Section 154, Code of Criminal Procedure.

An undecorated First Information Report is of a great value because it is the version of the incident gives at the first available opportunity by the informant and shows on what material the investigation commenced and what was the story then told. An F.I.R. recorded without any loss of time is likely to be free form embroideries, exaggerations and without anybody intermeddling with it and polluting and adulterating the same with lies.

The purpose of F.I.R. is to obtain the earliest account of a cognizable offence, before there is an opportunity for the circumstance to be forgotten and embellished. It is well settled that F.I.R. is not a substantive piece of evidence and can be used to corroborate or contradict the statement of the maker thereof. It is also equally established that trustworthiness of the prosecution story can also be judged form the F.I.R. Besides First Information Report is relevant as it may be a part of the res-gestae

In State of Uttar Pradesh v. Nahar Singh(dead), it was held that purpose of recording FIR is to set the investigating agency in motion. Therefore the main purpose of F.I.R. is to give information of a cognizable offence to the police and set them in motion. The value of F.I.R. must always depend on the facts and circumstances of a given case. The importance of the F.I.R. lies in the fact that it is a statement made soon after the occurrence. Hence the memory of the informant is fresh and it is unlikely that he had opportunities of fabrication.

The principal object of F.I.R. is only to make a complaint to the police to set the criminal law into motion. It's secondary though equally important; object is to obtain early information of an alleged criminal activity to record the circumstances before there is time for them to be forgotten or embellished.

The value attached to an FIR differs from case to case and no generalizations can be applied. Thus, where a telephonic message only conveying the fact of killing was given, it only amounted to giving of information as to commission of offence and could not be used as substantive evidence.

The issuance of a notice by the Magistrate to the informant at the time of consideration of the final report is a must.

What Would Not Amount To F.I.R?

  • A report or statement recorded after commencement of investigation
  • Reports not recorded immediately but after questioning of witnesses
  • Reports recorded after several days of development
  • Cryptic messages
  • Complaint to Magistrate
  • Telephonic information received without any details
  • Telegram cannot be treated as a F.I.R but an email can be treated as F.I.R
  • Messages transmitted between officers
  • Hearsay information of occurrence of an act

The Rule is that under section 60 of The Evidence Act is that hearsay evidence is inadmissible but since F.I.R is under section 154 of the Cr. P.C its hearsay information can be taken as it is meant to help the Police in investigation. Investigation need not have personal knowledge of the incident but a casual statement cannot be a F.I.R as it has been held in Vishwanath V/S State of Maharashtra.

What Is A Cognizable Offence

A cognizable offence is one in which the police may arrest a person without warrant. They are authorized to start investigation into a cognizable case on their own and do not require any orders from the court to do so. The term Cognizable Offences are defined in Section 2 (c) of the Cr. P.C. 1973 in which the police has the power to make an arrest without a warrant in such offences which are serious in nature, and thus the aim is to prevent the culprit or accused of harming others. The offences which fall under the cognizable offences have already been mentioned in the first schedule of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

What Is A Non- Cognizable Offence

A non-cognizable offence is an offence in which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant. The police cannot investigate such an offence without the court's permission.

Why Should The Statement Always Be Signed

The Complainant should always sign the F.I.R and put the date and state that he/she is aware of the statement and the same is as per narration. If at all the statement is not as per their narration the same should also be written that the facts informed are not as per narration. It should be noted that refusal to sign the F.I.R is an offence under section 180 of the Indian Penal Code.

Where Should The F.I.R Be Filed?

The Complaint has to be addressed to the Senior Police Station of the Police Station in which the Complainant resides or in the area in which the offense has to be committed. It is the duty of the Senior Police Inspector to assign the Complaint to a police officer and the assigned Police Officer is under a duty to reduce the content in writing and register the F.I.R and as per section 154(2) it is mandatory to give the Complainant a free copy. It is the statutory obligation of the officer to register the Complaint and he does not have prerogative or option to verify the credibility of the Information as a Condition Precedent. Disclosure of a Cognizable offense is enough.

The officer after registration of the F.I.R has to make a note in the Station Diary maintained in the Police Station. Women are at the Liberty to lodge the Complaint in the nearest Police Station. In a civil matter, a contempt petition can be filed before the High Court against the officer who refused to lodge an FIR is stated by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, in Lalita Kumari vs. Govt. of Uttar Pradesh case and has held that the Police must register FIR where the complaint discloses a cognizable offence.

What Is Zero FIR Or Non FIR?

Whenever a police officer in charge lodges an FIR but believes that he does not have the jurisdiction in the case to investigation. Such an FIR which will be ultimately

transferred to the other police station would be called a zero number FIR.

As regards missing persons, as long as the information is that the person is missing, or went missing (bhag gai), no cognizable offence is made out and therefore no FIR is lodged. In this context, different procedures are being followed by different states. In certain states, Zero FIR is lodged. In certain others, Non FIR is registered. Only in very few states, like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Proper FIR is lodged, investigation caused with regular case Diaries. In majority of cases of missing persons, across the country, regular FIR is never registered and, therefore, no investigation is caused as per the code of Criminal Procedure.

What Are The Things A Complainant Should Not Do:

The Complainant should Never file a false complaint or give wrong information to the police or else he/she can be prosecuted under law for giving wrong information or for misleading the police under Section 203, Indian Penal Code 1860
Never exaggerate or distort facts.
Never make vague or unclear statements.

What Is The Language In Which The Complaint Should Be Given?

The Complaint can be given in the language which is best known to the Complainant. On receipt of the Complaint the officer if the Complaint is not in the local language the officer has to translate the Complaint, read it to the Complainant in the language which is understood by him and only then registers. It is mandatory that the Complaint is as per the Complainants narration and a translator should be called if necessary.

What Is The Time Limit To Give A Complaint?

The FIR must be filed invariably promptly, expeditiously and without wasting any time. There are circumstances where some concession of the time must be given in filing the FIR but there must be cogent reasons for reasonable delay in filing. The Judges with lot of wisdom and experience use their discretion judiciously and in the interest of Justice in each and every case. However no possible duration of time can be fixed for applying the test of reasonableness in each case.

The delay in lodging the FIR as such is not fatal in law to the prosecution if it is substantiated with the factual difficulties encountered by the persons lodging report. There is no limit for lodging the FIR but it is expected that FIR should be filed without any undue delay. If any FIR is filed after some delay the Complainant has to explain the delay in a plausible or acceptable manner. Section 486 of the Cr.P.C states about  Bar to taking cognizance after lapse of the period of Limitation

What Is The Next Step After Filing An FIR?

The case is not serious in nature;
The police feel that there is not enough ground to investigate. However, the police must record the reasons for not conducting an investigation and in the latter case must also inform the Complainant under Section 157, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

What Is The Next Step After Filing An FIR?

The police conduct investigation, which may include arrests. Once the investigation has been concluded the police will record all their findings in charge sheet. If it is deemed that there is enough proof on the charge sheet the case goes to court.

Can Police Register FIR In A Civil Dispute?

Under normal circumstances, FIR cannot be registered about any civil dispute because section 154 of Criminal Procedure Code under which the FIR is registered clearly says that police are duty bound to register a complaint about a cognizable Offence. A civil wrong (tort) cannot be normally be called an offence but sometimes these civil disputes lead to the commission of an offence. For example the demarking line between Breach of contract and Criminal breach of trust is very dim. Under such circumstances, if the civil dispute oversteps the boundaries of criminal offence, a FIR can certainly be registered.

What Happens If Police Officer Refuses To Register The Offense?

The Complainant has to approach the Senior officials and give a written representation. Senior Officer means Superintendent in Rural areas and the Commissioner in the Commissionarate i.e the City area as per the provisions of section 154(3) of the Cr.P.C. It is mandatory to take acknowledgement of the representation. Even after the representation if the offense is not registered within 8 days then the Complainant has to approach the magistrate by filing the Complaint and seek orders under section 156(3) of the Criminal praying direction to the Concern Police to register fir.

While filing the Complaint it is essential that the Complaint has all the annexures of the evidences and the representations. The representations must be the one which have the acknowledgement. Along with the Complaint it is essential that an Affidavit is annexed by the Complainant stating that the Police has neglected that duty and the Complainant has no alternate remedy. The Affidavit should also state that no FIR has been registered in any place regards to the same subject matter.

The Magistrate on hearing the Complainant can direct registration of M.E.C.R which cannot be denied by the police and the Police has to report to the magistrate within stipulated time. It is Sakiri Vasu V/S State of U.P there are clear directions with respect to guidelines to be followed while dealing with the grievance. The said position has also been confirmed by the Supreme Court in N. Subramaniam V/s Janaki on 20/3/2020. Apart from these there are a Catena of Judgments. In case the Police Officer does not follow the directions then show cause notice shall be issued to the officer and on hearing him if the Magistrate feels that the Officer has neglected his duty then Contempt Proceedings can be issued.

In the case where the Magistrate feels that the case is not appropriate for issuing directions under section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C then the Complainants statement i.e verification can be taken and the Magistrate can issue process or postpone the issuance and direct the Police to conduct inquiry under section 202 of the Cr.P.C. After the inquiry report is submitted then the Magistrate after application of mind can proceed to issue process or dismiss the Complaint as per his adjudication but he cannot switch the investigation under section 156(3)of the Cr.P.C

In case the Complainant is not satisfied then he has separate remedies

Difference Between An FIR and A Police Complaint

The difference between a first information report and a police complaint is that an FIR relates to the cognizable offence whereas a police complaint can be filed for both non-cognizable and cognizable class of offences.

A complaint is to be given to a magistrate either orally or in writing, whereas the first information report is lodged at the police station nearby the place of commission of crime.
According to s. 2(d) Cr.P.C, a complaint is the allegation of fact which constitutes a complaint. Further, a complainant and a first informant need not be the same person.

When an FIR is registered the police can arrest the accused. In a Complaint only upon directions under section 156(3) the accused can be arrested but if there is an inquiry under section 202 then there can be no arrest.

The general rule is that any person having knowledge of the commission of an offence can file a complaint, even though the concerned person is not personally interested or affected by the offence, except in cases of offences relating to marriage, defamation etc.

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