First Information Report
What is First Information Report?
The First Information Report is a very important document. It is the earliest record made of an alleged offence before there is time for its particulars to be forgotten. The FIR is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is a report of information that reaches the police first in point of time and that is why it is called as the First Information Report. It is generally a complaint lodged with the police by the victim of cognizable offence or by someone on his/her behalf. Anyone can complain about the offence either orally or in writing to the police.
What is cognizable offence?
A cognizable offence is one in which the police may arrest a person without warrant. They are authorized to start investigation into a cognizable case on their own and do not require any orders from the court.
What is non cognizable offence?
A non cognizable offence is an offence in which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant. The police cannot investigate such offence without the court's permission.
Who can lodge an FIR?
Anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence can file an FIR. It is not necessary that only the victim of the crime should file an FIR. A police officer who comes to know about a cognizable offence can file an FIR himself/herself. You can file an FIR if
- you are the person against whom the offence has been committed
- you know yourself about an offence which has been committed
- you have seen the offence being committed
When can the police refuse to investigate?
The police may not investigate a complaint even if you file a FIR when
- the case is not serious in nature(trivial) or it is a non cognizable offence
- the police feel that there is not enough ground to investigate however, the police must record the reason for not conducting the investigation.
Why is FIR important?
An FIR is very important document as it sets the process of criminal justice in motion. It is only after the FIR is registered in the police station that the police can take up investigation of the case.
What is the procedure of filing an FIR?
The procedure of filing an FIR is prescribed in section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973.
When information about the commission of a cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down.
- It is your right as a person giving information or making a complaint to demand that the information recorded by the police is read over to you.
- Once the information has been recorded by the police, it must be signed by the person giving the information.
- You should sign the report only after verifying that the information recorded by the police is as per the details given by you.
- People who cannot read or write must put their left thumb impression on the document after being satisfied that it is a correct record.
- Always ask for a copy of the FIR, if the police do not give it to you, it is your right to get it free of cost.
What should you mention in the FIR?
- Your name and address.
- Date, time and location of the incident you are reporting.
- The true facts of the incident as they occurred.
- Names and descriptions of the persons involved in the incident.
- Witnesses, if any.
What can you do if your FIR is not registered?
You can meet the Commissioner/Superintendent of the police or other higher officers.
- You can send your complaint in writing and by post to the Commissioner/Superintendent of the police. If the officer is satisfied with your complaint, he will instruct the subordinate officers to conduct the investigation or he will himself investigate the case.
- You can file a private complaint before the court having jurisdiction.
- You can also make a complaint to the State Human Rights Commission or the National Human Rights commission if the police do nothing to enforce the law or do it in a biased and corrupt manner.
What happens if I give a false complaint?
Never file a false complaint or give wrong information to the police. You can be prosecuted under Sec 203 of Indian Penal Code or any other relevant law for giving wrong information or for misleading the police.