First information report (FIR)

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    • The term First information report (FIR) was in the news recently. 

    About FIR 

    • The term first information report (FIR) is not defined in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, or in any other law, but in police regulations or rules, information recorded under Section 154 of CrPC is known as First Information Report (FIR).
    • Section 154 (“Information in cognizable cases”) says 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.
    • Important elements of an FIR
      • The information must relate to the commission of a cognizable offence
      • It should be given in writing or orally to the head of the police station and
      • It must be written down and signed by the informant, and its key points should be recorded in a daily diary.
    • What is a cognizable offence?
      • A cognizable offence is one in which a police officer may, in accordance with the First Schedule of the CrPC, or under any other law for the time being in force, make an arrest without a warrant.
      • In the First Schedule, “the word ‘cognizable’ stands for ‘a police officer may arrest without warrant’; and the word ‘non-cognizable’ stands for ‘a police officer shall not arrest without warrant’.
    • What is a Zero FIR?
      • When a police station receives a complaint regarding an alleged offence that has been committed in the jurisdiction of another police station, it registers an FIR, and then transfers it to the concerned police station for further investigation. This is called a Zero FIR.
      • No regular FIR number is given. After receiving the Zero FIR, the concerned police station registers a fresh FIR and starts the investigation.

    Difference between a complaint and an FIR

    • 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.
    • However, an FIR is the document that has been prepared by the police after verifying the facts of the complaint. The FIR may contain details of the crime and the alleged criminal.
    • What if the police refuse to register an FIR?
      • Under Section 154(3) CrPC, if any person is aggrieved by the refusal on the part of the officer in charge of a police station to register an FIR, she can send the complaint to the Superintendent of Police/DCP concerned who, if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, will either investigate the case, or direct an investigation by a subordinate police officer.
      • If no FIR is registered, the aggrieved persons can file a complaint under Section 156(3) CrPC before a concerned court which, if satisfied that a cognizable offence is made out from the complaint, will direct the police to register an FIR and conduct an investigation.

    Source:IE