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  • Writer's pictureRitik Agrawal

UNDERSTANDING FIR: ITS LEGAL PROCEDURES WITH CASE LAWS

Updated: Jan 16

Author: Risha Fatema,

Dr. K. N. Modi University



INTRODUCTION

According to Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the First Information Report (FIR) is the initial information about an offence given to a police officer in charge of a police station. However, it is not the only way of giving information about the offence if the police officer does not file a complaint the person can send the information to the Superintendent of police or can make a complaint to the magistrate either orally or in writing.

OBJECTS OF THE FIR

The objects of an FIR are-

  • To provide information of the commission of an offence.

  • To inform the Magistrate and Police officer about the offence.

UDERSTANDING FIR & ITS LEGAL PROVISIONS IN INDIA

FIR is the first information of the commission of a cognizable offence, made to an officer in charge of the police station in accordance with section 154(1) of CrPC. The information about the offence may be given either in writing or orally, when if the information has been given orally; it shall be brought in writing by the officer in charge to whom the information has been given or by any other person under his direction. Then the written information shall be read to the person who has given the information and signed by him.

In Ravi Kumar v. State of Punjab[i], Apex court said that FIR is a report of the commission of a cognizable offence with the intention to initiate a criminal proceeding.

All the information shall be entered into a book, in the manner as prescribed by the State Government.

A copy of the same shall be provided to the informant, free of cost.

In Kirti Vashisht v. State and ors.[ii], Delhi High Court said that a police station is required to file a zero FIR if the crime was committed outside of its jurisdiction.

However, the first information report is not mentioned anywhere in the whole Code of Criminal Procedure, but the information given under section 154(1) is called the FIR because it is information about an offence made to a police officer.[iii]

In Superintendent of Police, CBI v. Tapan Kumar[iv], held that it is a question of law whether information can be said FIR or not.

UDERSTANDING COMPLAINT & ITS PROVISIONS IN CrPC

According to section 2(d) of CrPC any allegation made against a person alleging him for the commission of an offence, to a Magistrate either orally or in writing, so that he takes action against such accused.

Commonly a police report is not deemed to be a complaint but in case of a non-cognizable offence, the report made after investigation is considered to be a complaint.[v]

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COMPLAINT AND FIR

  • Complaint

A complaint is made to a magistrate for any type of case. The complaint is made in the case when the police officer is not filing an FIR. It can be in any case whether cognizable or non-cognizable, by any person even anonymously. In case of a complaint, police are not required to investigate. Complaint can be made to any legal authority.

  • FIR

An FIR can be filed only in case of a cognizable offence to an officer in charge of a police station under section 154(1) of CrPC. It is the first information of an offence. FIR can only be filed in a police station by a person who has knowledge of the commission of a cognizable offence. Police are required to investigate for the FIR. It must be in writing.

WHO CAN FILE AN FIR: SCOPE & ELIGIBILITY

An FIR can be filed by any person who has knowledge of the commission of an offence, it does not matter that the offence has been committed with that person or any other known of that person. He can file an FIR if he witnesses a cognizable offence or knows that if has committed with someone.

FILING OF AN FIR

To file an FIR a person can reach a nearby police station and give all the information related to that offence either orally or in writing. If the information is provided orally, the officer in charge of the police station must write it down or have someone else do it under his instruction, then read it to the informant. The informant must then sign it after that.

EVIDENTIARY VALUE OF AN FIR

An FIR is not substantive evidence. The information included in the FIR may be used to disprove or affirm the informant, but it may not be used to contradict or corroborate testimony from witnesses.

When the FIR is given by the accused, it cannot be used for confirmation or contradiction, as they cannot be prosecution witnesses. If the FIR is non-confessional, it may be admissible as an admission or showing the informant's conduct. In some cases, the FIR can be used to determine the cause of the informant's death or conduct.[vi]

COGNIZABLE AND NON-COGNIZABLE OFFENCE

  • Cognizable offence sec 2(c)-

According to the first schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code or any other presently in effect law, a cognizable offence is a serious offence for which a police officer may make an arrest without a warrant.[vii]

  • Non cognizable offence sec 2(l)-

A non-cognizable offence is an offence that requires a warrant to make an arrest, these are mentioned under the first schedule of the code.[viii]

ROLE OF POLICE OFFICER IN FILING FIR FOR NON-COGNIZABLE OFFENCES: LEGAL PROCEDURES AND LIMITATIONS

A police officer is not debarred from filing an FIR for a non-cognizable offence; nevertheless, upon obtaining information, he must record certain details in a book according to State Government regulations before referring the case to the magistrate. However, in accordance with section 155 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a police officer cannot conduct an investigation without a Magistrate's order. [ix]

PRELIMINARY INQUIRY BEFORE FIR REGISTRATION: RULES AND LIMITATIONS IN CRIMINAL CASES

A preliminary inquiry cannot be conducted before the registration of an FIR. If during the inquiry the police officer finds that a cognizable offence has been committed, then he shall inform the Magistrate. The inquiry cannot exceed fifteen days, if exceeds the reason for the same shall be recorded.[x]

Ramesh Kumari v. NCT of Delhi[xi], the court said the preliminary inquiry shall done after the registration of the FIR.

PROCEDURE OF FILING AN FIR TO A SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE

If the officer in charge of a police station declines to file an FIR a person may convey written information to the Superintendent of Police via mail. If the Superintendent discovers information pointing to the commission of a crime, he must either conduct the investigation himself or assign a police officer subordinate to him to do so. [xii]

In State of AP v. Punati Ravulu[xiii], the Supreme Court held that police officers cannot refuse to register an FIR.

  • Section 156(3) CrPC

Section 156(3) of CrPC empowers the Magistrates of first class and second class to give orders to a police officer to investigate any cognizable case within the local limit of jurisdiction of such court.[xiv]

COMPLAINT CASE UNDER SECTION 200 CRPC

The complaint and the witness must be sworn in front of the magistrate. The complaint, the witness or witnesses, and the magistrate must all sign a written statement containing the information's substance.

The Magistrate does not need to examine the complainant and the witness when the complaint is made in writing.[xv]

CONCLUSION

Hence, we came to know that the information of an offence can be given in different ways to different authorities. There is no boundation of jurisdiction to file an FIR even if the offence has committed outside the jurisdiction of a police station is bound to register the FIR.

Police officer is bound to register an FIR but if he refuses the information can be sent to the Superintendent of the Police station.

The information can also be given to the Magistrate as a complaint.

REFERENCES [i] Ravi Kumar v. State of Punjab, (2005) SC 1929 [ii] Kirti Vashisht v. State and Ors, (2019) 5933 [iii] State v. Shiv Sigh, AIR 1962 [iv] Superintendent of Police, CBI v. Tapan Kumar (2003) AIR 2003 [v] ibid s 2(d) [vi] R V Kelker, Criminal Procedure (6th ed.) [vii] The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 s 2(c) [viii] ibid s 2(l) [ix] ibid s 155 [x] https://criminallawstudiesnluj.wordpress.com/2020/11/24/preliminary-inquiry-before-fir-a-panacea-for-malicious-prosecution/ [xi] Ramesh Kumari v. NCT of Delhi (2006) SC [xii] The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 s 154(3) [xiii] State of AP v. Punati Ravulu (1993) SC 2644 [xiv] The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 s 156 (3) [xv] ibid s 200

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1 Comment


Veer Ashish
Veer Ashish
Feb 07

Wow, your article on FIR is fantastic! The way you explain how someone can report an incident is so clear and easy to understand. I'm really impressed with how you make legal stuff sound so simple and interesting, keep it up

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