A First Information Report (FIR) is heard of by all, but what does it entail? FIR is a crucial document since it initiates the criminal justice system. The police begin their investigation of the crime only when the FIR has been filed at the police station. Read here to know all about FIR here.
In the wake of numerous heinous crimes in the country, reports of Zero FIR are often mentioned in the news.
What is an FIR? What are the types of FIR? What are the procedure and legalities associated with filing an FIR?
All these questions are crucial for an aspirant as well as an aware citizen of India.
First Information Report (FIR)
In India, an FIR (First Information Report) is a written document that is prepared by the police to record information about the commission of a cognizable offense.
- A cognizable offense is an offense for which the police can take immediate action without a warrant and can arrest the accused without a court order.
- The FIR is a crucial legal document that sets the criminal law in motion and initiates the process of investigation into an alleged offense.
- The term FIR is not defined in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, or in any other law.
- However, in police regulations or rules, information recorded under Section 154 of CrPC is known as First Information Report (FIR).
Features of FIR
Some major aspects of a First Information Report (FIR) are:
- Purpose: The main purpose of an FIR is to bring the attention of the police to the occurrence of a crime and provide them with the necessary information to start an investigation.
- Complainant: The FIR is generally filed by the person who has firsthand knowledge of the offense, either as a victim or a witness. This person is known as the complainant.
- Contents: The FIR contains details of the offense, such as the date, time, and place of the incident, a description of the events, the names and descriptions of the persons involved, and any other relevant information that can help in the investigation.
- Recording the FIR: The FIR is recorded by a police officer in the police station having jurisdiction over the area where the offense occurred. It can be filed orally or in writing, and the complainant has the right to request a copy of the written FIR.
- Right to File FIR: Any person, irrespective of gender, age, or social status, can file an FIR. The police are obligated to record the information provided by the complainant.
- Non-cognizable Offenses: For non-cognizable offenses (offenses for which the police cannot take immediate action without a warrant), the police do not register an FIR. Instead, they record the complaint in a “Non-Cognizable Report” (NCR) and advise the complainant to approach the court.
- Recording Delays: The police are expected to register the FIR promptly and without any unnecessary delay. They cannot refuse to register an FIR just because it is beyond their normal working hours.
- Investigation: Once the FIR is registered, the police begin the investigation process. They collect evidence, interview witnesses, and take necessary actions to apprehend the accused.
- Admissible in Court: The FIR is an important legal document and is admissible as evidence in court during the trial.
The complainant needs to provide accurate and truthful information in the FIR, as making false statements can have legal consequences. The FIR plays a crucial role in ensuring justice and maintaining law and order in society.
Also read: Code of Criminal Procedure
Types of First Information Report (FIR)
There are different types of FIRs, based on the nature of the offense being reported. Some of the common types of FIRs in India are:
- General FIR: This is the most common type of FIR and is filed to report various offenses such as theft, robbery, assault, vandalism, etc. It provides a detailed account of the incident and the relevant information needed for the investigation.
- Zero FIR: Zero F.I.R logged anywhere around India irrespective of their residence, or place of occurrence of crime. It is transferred to the relevant police station later for further investigation.
- Cross FIR: If both parties lodged FIR against each other regarding the same incident.
- Multiple FIR: When aggrieved persons/parties make multiple FIR for the same incident or cause.
An FIR can be filled for any cause or incident and can be called so according to the crime, like-
- Dowry FIR is filed under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and related laws. It deals with offenses related to dowry harassment and cruelty against married women by their husbands or in-laws.
- Domestic violence FIRs are filed under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. It is used to report incidents of physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse within a domestic relationship.
- Cybercrime FIR is filed for offenses related to cybercrimes, such as hacking, cyberbullying, online fraud, and identity theft.
- Narcotics FIR is filed to report offenses related to the possession, sale, or distribution of illegal drugs or narcotics.
Zero First Information Report (FIR) can be logged anywhere around India irrespective of their residence, place of occurrence of crime. It is transferred to the relevant police station later for further investigation.
For Zero FIR a standard FIR number is not provided. The relevant Police Station records a new FIR and begins the investigation after receiving the Zero FIR.
The provision of Zero FIR came up after the recommendation in the report of the Justice Verma Committee.
- It was constituted to suggest amendments to the Criminal Law in a bid to provide for faster trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women, according to a 2020 circular released by the Puducherry government.
- The committee was set up after the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case.
- A cognizable offence allows authorities to detain a suspect without a search warrant.
- They may initiate an inquiry into a cognizable matter on their own and are not required to wait for a court order to do so.
- An offence for which a police officer lacks the right to arrest without a warrant is known as a non-cognizable offence.
- Without the court’s approval, the police cannot look into such a crime.
- An FIR under Section 155 of the Criminal Procedure Code is filed in cases of non-cognizable offences.
- The complaint will be instructed to get an order from the court. The police might then be ordered by the court to look into the complaint.
- The CrPC defines a “complaint” as “any allegation made orally or in writing to a Magistrate, with a view to his taking action under this Code, that some person, whether known or unknown, has committed an offence, but does not include a police report.”
- After confirming the facts of the allegation, the police created a document known as a FIR. Details on the suspected offender and the offence may be found in the FIR.
- If it seems from a complaint that a cognizable offence has been committed, an FIR under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code will be filed, and police will launch an investigation. If no crime is discovered, the police will end their investigation.
-Article by Swathi Satish