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First Information Report - The First Step To The Trial

First Information Report (FIR) can be defined as a written document prepared by the police once they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is a report of information about the commission of offence that reaches the police first in point of time and which is why it is called the First Information Report.

Anyone can report the commission of a cognizable offence (Cognizable offence is an offence for which the police can arrest a person without warrant) either orally or in writing to the police, its is not necessary that the person should be present at Crime scene. Even a telephonic message is considered as an FIR.

FIR plays a important role in Criminal procedure as it is.

Who can file an FIR?

  • The victim
  • Anyone person who knows about a criminal activity or commission of crime
  • Person who has witnessed the Crime
  • The police officer who comes to know about the Crime can file an FIR himself/ herself.

What is the procedure for filing an FIR?

The procedure for filing an FIR is explained under Sec.154 of Criminal Procedure Code,1973.
  • When the information about the commission of crime is stated orally to the police, the police should put the statements in writing.
  • It is the right of the person filing complaint or giving information to demand that the information written by the police is read to him.
  • The person giving the information or filling the complaint should sign on FIR, only after verifying that the information is properly recorded.
  • If the person providing information cannot read or write then the person may put his left thumb impression, after varying the report.
  • After the signature, the police have to enter the information in the police dairy.
  • Finally, the informant is given with a copy of FIR free of cost (Sec.56 of Crpc).

Guidelines for filing an FIR

Drafting of FIR is a vital aspect as it can bring a difference in the overall charges that are framed, the investigation and the overall outcome of the case.
For example: A woman is facing cruelty from her husband B and his relatives for dowry. She can file a case under Sec.498A of IPC. In the FIR the woman should mention that B and his relatives are demanding dowry for which she is treated with cruelty. If dowry isn't mentioned the case will take a different direction. The kind of hurt should also be mentioned cautiously, as punishment may vary.

One should remember to give detailed information in an FIR. Following are certain guiding principles for an FIR:

  • Details of the informant- Name and number
  • Details of the accused- Name and number
  • Detailed information about the offence
  • The time and place of incident
  • Details of the weapons used, if any
  • Description of the kind of injury caused
  • Name of the witness, if any
  • Reason for the delay of filing an FIR, if any

Remedies for refusal of FIR:

There are certain cases when the police officials refuse to file the FIR. In such case the person can take following actions:
  • File the Writ of Mandamus against the law enforcing agencies in High court.
  • The informant can give a written complaint and post to Superintendent of police concerned.
  • File a private complaint within the Court of competent jurisdiction.
  • File a complaint under State Human Rights Commission or National Human Rights Commission if the police, does not enforce the law properly.

FIR in case of non-cognizable offences

In case of non-cognizable offence, the person will have to approach the officer in charge, who shall further enter such information in his book (as prescribed by the state government). The police officer can start the investigation only after the magistrate gives the order under sec 155(3) of Crpc.

The complaint can be in the form of affidavit, petition or a letter. After receiving the complaint, the magistrate will look upon on the issue and if he is satisfied the offence committed is of non cognizable in nature, then he orders for further investigation.

FIR Online

Today FIR can also be filed online in case of Cognizable offence like rape, kidnapping, murder, dowry death, etc, and the police can take necessary steps without the order of the court. But in case of non-cognizable offence Cognizable offence is an offence for which the police can arrest a person without warrant like assault, cheating, etc merely a complaint can be filed, which can later be escalated into an FIR, after the police seek permission from the Magistrate.

FIR acts as a foundation to any Criminal case. It also acts as an evidence and helps in identifying contradictory witness. Thus, a person filing an FIR should be cautious. It as plays a vital role in preventing crime.

References:
  1. Lakra, P. L. (2019, July 02). How to draft the First Information Report? Retrieved July 24, 2020, from https://lawyerinc.net/learning/draft-a-first-information-report/
  2. M. (2019). How to draft a First Information report so that the police take action. Retrieved July 24, 2020, from https://www.google.com/amp/s/blog.ipleaders.in/draft-an-fir/amp/
  3. Subho S Chatterjee, First information report and you www.humanrightsinitiative.org, https://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/publications/police/fir.pdf (last visited 2020).

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