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What is an FIR?

What is an FIR?

Fir which is also called first information report is an information of commission of cognizable offence given to police by victim or any other person having knowledge that a cognizable offence has been committed.

Object of lodging an FIR?

The object of lodging an FIR from the point of view of police is to obtain information of alleged offence for the purpose of tracing the offender committed the offence.
And from the point of view of the informant is to set the criminal law in motion.

Whether FIR can be lodged in all cases?

An FIR can only be lodged in case of cognizable offences , no FIR can be lodged in case of non cognizable offences. In case of non cognizable offences only non cognizable report which is also known as NCR can be lodged .

What if information discloses both cognizable and non cognizable offence?

Sub section (4) of Section 155 CRPC provides that when an information disclose offences one of which is cognizable and others are non cognizable offences than the case shall be deemed as cognizable offences irrespective of the fact that other offences are non cognizable offences.

What if police refused to lodged an FIR?

Sec 154 CRPC provides that on refusal of police to lodge an FIR an aggrieved party can make an application to concerned superintendent of police disclosing the information of the offence and such superintendent of police on being satisfied that such information discloses commission of cognizable offence may either investigate the case himself or order his subordinate officer to make investigation in such case.

In case If such superintendent of police also refuse to register an FIR than such aggrieved party can make an application to judicial magistrate under sec 156(3) of CRPC disclosing information of offences in such application and requesting such magistrate to pass an order for registration of FIR and such magistrate on being satisfied that such information discloses commission of cognizable offence can order an investigation under sec 156(3) CRPC and on passing of such order concerned police officer shall register an FIR.

Concept and origin of zero FIR?

In reality most of the time it is seen that police officers refuses to register an FIR giving harassing the aggrieved party who is willing to register an FIR. Thus, to deal with such situation the concept of zero FIR was introduced.

Zero FIR means an FIR that can be lodged in any police station irrespective of any territorial jurisdiction of the police station lodging such FIR, later on such FIR is transferred from such police station to the police station having territorial jurisdiction to investigate in such FIR.so hereby it means that no police officer can refuse to register an FIR on the ground that the concerned offence does not fall in there territorial jurisdiction.

The concept of zero FIR can be traced back from various decision of apex court few of such decision are discussed herein. The supreme court in case of State of AP v Punati ramulu held that refusal to record an FIR on the ground that the place of crimes does not fall within territorial jurisdiction of police station, amounts to declaration of duty. Information about cognizable offence would have to be recorded and forwarded to the police station having jurisdiction.

The APEX court in case of Ramesh kumara v state (NCT of DELHI). held that the concerned police officer is duty bound to register the case on the basis of information disclosing a cognizable offence.

Whether a police officer can conduct an preliminary inquiry before registration of FIR?

This very important question whether a police officer is duty bound to register an FIR on receiving information disclosing commission of cognizable offence or he hold some preliminary power to conduct inquiry for the purpose of satisfying himself with respect to the credibility of the information received arose before supreme court in case of LALITA Kumari v Government of UP, wherein the apex court held that on receiving information disclosing commission of cognizable offence a police officer is duty bound to register an FIR and he holds no discretionary power to conduct any kind of preliminary inquiry for the purpose of satisfying himself with respect to credibility of information.

The apex court inter alias giving emphasis on the term ‘shall’ used in sec 154(1) held that the term ‘shall’ used in sec 154 leaves no discretionary power with the police and makes registration of FIR obligatory on them on receiving information disclosing cognizable offence. It is important to note that SC also laid some case mentioned below wherein police officer can conduct preliminary inquiry.

These exceptions are:
  1. matrimonial /family disputes
  2. medical cases
  3. Corruption cases
  4. commercial cases

Whether cryptic message/ information on phone can termed as FIR?

A cryptic message on phone requiring police to appear at place of offence cannot be generally termed as FIR.

In order for message to be qualified to be an FIR there must be something in the nature of complaint or an accusation or at least some information of the crime given with the object of setting the police or criminal law in motion.

The apex court also in famous Jessica Lal case held that cryptic telephone message could not be treated as an FIR as there object is to only get the police at place of occurrence.
  •  it is important to note that phone calls made immediately after an incident to police constitute FIR only when they are not vague and cryptic.
  • calls only for the purpose requiring police to present at place of offence do not constitute FIR.

Whether FIR can be used as confession against subsequent accused?

The supreme court on this question in case of Brajendrasingh v State of Bihar held that FIR recorded on the statement of the accused is not admissible as confession.

Youth bar association of India v Union of India

In this famous case the supreme court on hearing a PIL passes certain guidelines as follow:

  1. Every FIR shall be uploaded online within 24 hours from the lodging of FIR, except in cases of offence sensitive in nature e.g. sexual offences. The term sensitive information also includes concept of privacy.
     
  2. The decision not to upload an FIR regard being had to its sensitive nature shall be taken by an officer not below the rank of superintendent of police or person holding equivalent post.
     
  3. an accused entitled to get a copy of the FIR at an earlier stage than prescribed under sec 207 crpc.
     
  4. Any person who has believe that he has been roped in a case may apply for certified copy of FIR before concerned superintendent of police or in case of metropolitan city before commissioner of police.
     
  5. The copies of the FIR should be uploaded on police website or if there is no such website on the official website of state government within 24 hours after registration so that any any person can download the FIR from the website.

Effect of non mentioning all details in FIR?

Merely because all accused name was non mentioned n FIR is no reason doubt prosecution case. Mentioning the name of witnesses and accused later which were not named in FIR is not a reason to believe that prosecution case is false or fabricated. It is settled law that an FIR need not to be encylopedia of all details. It need not contain every minute details.

Evidentiary value of an FIR

FIR is not a substantive piece of evidence , it is an important evidence for the purpose of contradicting or corroborating the statement of person lodging an FIR.

Statement given by a person in FIR cannot be turned into admission when he subsequently becomes an accused in the that same case. The statement given by a person lodging an FIR cannot be used for contradicting or corroborating statement of other witness, it has very limited value it can be used only with respect to contradicting and corroborating evidence of person lodging the FIR. However, it cannot be used even corroborating or contradicting statement of person who later becomes accused in that cases.

End-Notes:
  1. AIR 1993 SC 2644:1993 Cr LJ 3684.
  2. AIR 2006 SC 1322: (2006) 2 SCC 677.
  3. AIR 2012 SC 1515 :2012 (3) Scale 152 : (2012) 4 SCC 1
  4. Sidhartha vashisht @ manu sharma v State (NCT of Delhi),(2010) 6 SCC
  5. AIR 2012 SCC 1552: (2012) 4 SCC 1552
  6. (2016) 9 SCC 473:AIR 2016 SC 4136.
  7. State of up v Krishna master, AIR 2010 SC 3071
Written By: Deepak Sharma
Email: [email protected], Ph no:+8383947263

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