This article is written by K.Lasya Charitha pursuing BALLB in Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam. In this article, the researcher discusses the basic concepts of FIR like the meaning of FIR, who can file an FIR, the process of filing an FIR, etc.
FIR is very important in Indian criminal proceedings because it is the first step in any criminal prosecution. FIR stands for “First Information Report”. As the name suggests, the first intelligence report is the first step towards criminal prosecution, which leads to trial and subsequent punishment of criminals. The investigation by the police officers is based on the submitted FIR. When the case is tried, it is also one of the most important pieces of evidence that constitute the entire law enforcement structure. FIR is the first step in India’s criminal cases.
What is an FIR?
The First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offense. This is the information sent to the police first, so it is called the first information report. This is usually a complaint made to the police by a victim of admission of a crime or a person representing the victim. Anyone can notify the police of the crime verbally or in writing. You can even send telephonic messages to the police. It is considered FIR.
Who can file an FIR?
Anyone who knows the crime committed can file an FIR. It is not necessary for the crime victim alone to file the first information report. Police officers who know of the crime can submit the FIR themselves.
You can submit FIR under the following circumstances:
- You are the person against whom the crime is committed;
- you are a relative or friend or acquaintance of the victim of the crime;
- You are a person who has seen the crime or heard about it.
Importance of FIR
The FIR is important for the following reasons:
- To Notifying the county magistrate or commander of the district police station responsible for the peace and security of the crime area.
- To inform the Judicial Officer who ultimately owns the case. The court will consider what, what facts will be reported immediately after the crime, and what investigation materials will be initiated.
- To protect the accused against later variations or additions.
- To set the criminal law in place for that particular case.
- To help in the investigation of that particular crime.
What is Zero FIR?
A zero FIR is that which allows any police station to register for FIR, regardless of its scope of jurisdiction. It is widely used for crimes such as murder and rape, as well as other recognized criminal offenses, that is, the first criminal action that the police can take against it and investigate it before referring it to the appropriate judicial department if needed. This is very useful for crimes that require an immediate response, because it allows you to act more quickly without getting caught up in a bureaucratic process, and explains whether it is difficult to reach the police station in whose jurisdiction the crime was committed.
Information in Cognizable cases (§ 154 of CrPC)
Since the information received under section 154 is called FIR, it is important to understand the rules regarding the information recording procedure for identifying cases under section 154.
- If the information is given orally through a telephone then at the police station, it must be shortened in writing by the appropriate police officer, and then it must be read by him over to the informant and then signed by him. The information obtained in this way must be recorded in a book approved by the state government.
- A copy of the registration information will be sent to the informant free of charge.
- If the supervisor refuses to record the information, the person can send the information, and the victim can send the content of the information to the superintendent of police and the superintendent if satisfied with the identifiable crime, they will investigate the case on their own or order an investigation by a subordinate police officer. The designated police officer must exercise all the powers of an officer in charge of the police station in the relevant crime.
If the information is provided by a woman, and the crime has been committed against her specified in Section 326-A, Section 326-B, and Section 354, 354-A to 354-D, 376, 376-A to 376-E, or 509 IPC is suspected of committing or attempting a crime. This statement must be recorded by a woman police officer.
Non Cognizable Cases
- If a non-cognizable crime occurs, when the informer approaches for help from the police officer in charge, he enters the information specified by him into his account book (in accordance with the format prescribed by the state government).
- Secondly, according to Section 155(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, police officers can only investigate recognized criminal offenses after receiving an order from a judge.
For cognizable and non-cognizable criminal offenses, the investigative power of police officers is the same, except for the power of arrest without a court order. The Supreme Court in the State of West Bengal and Ors v. Swapan Kumar Guh and Ors ruled that: “there is no such thing like unfettered discretion in the realm of powers defined by statutes and indeed, unlimited discretion in that sphere can become a ruthless destroyer of personal freedom. The power to investigate into cognizable offenses must, therefore, be exercised strictly on the condition on which it is granted by the Code”.
Therefore, it can be concluded that those who wish to register before filing a complaint against a non-cognizable offense must first file a complaint with a qualified magistrate with the correct jurisdiction. There are no strict rules regarding the format of the report. Depending on the situation, the complaint can be as an affidavit or petition. After receiving the complaint, justice will determine the issue of consciousness. If the judge is convinced that the crime is non-cognizable then he will order an investigation.
How to file an FIR?
If a crime has been committed, and the victim or someone else wants to submit FIR then it can be done in the following way:
- Go to the police station and meet the office in charge of the station.
- Notify the officer of all information and the facts about the crime in a sequence and orderly manner.
- The officer will shorten the information provided in writing.
- The information provided must be signed by the person who provided the information.
- The information provided is recorded in a book kept by the official.
- A copy of the FIR must be given to the person who filed an FIR.
Usually, a phone call will be made to summon the police to the scene. In this case, the telephone conversation between the informer and the police officer is not counted as FIR registration. The Supreme Court of India in Siddhartha Vashisth alias Manu Sharma vs State (NCT of Delhi) held: “The phone calls to the police immediately after the incident are only FIR if they are not vague. Calls for getting a police officer to the crime scene do not constitute an FIR.” Therefore, if the information provided about the crime is clear, clear, and detailed, then it can be said that the telephone conversation constitutes an FIR.
What should FIR include?
The content of the FIR is as follows:
- If the reporter is an eyewitness or hearsay evidence.
- The recognized type of cognizable offense.
- The name and detailed description of the accused (full description of appearance)
- The name and identity of the victim of the crime. (if known)
- The date and time of the crime.
- The place where the crime occurred.
- The cause of the crime (if known)
- How the crime had occurred (a description of the actual crime)
- The name and address of the witness of the crime.
Immunity against FIR
- An officer cannot register FIR against the President and Governor of India during their term of office because they enjoy immunity under Article 361 of the Constitution of India.
- An FIR cannot be filed against the current members of the legislature or parliament who are responsible for anything that is said or done on the floor of the house, but if the speaker of the house or the person authorized by him wishes, the police officer will record the case. These members enjoy immunity under Articles 105 and 194 of the Indian Constitution. However, it should be pointed out that they are responsible for criminal prosecution of acts committed in their personal capacity outside the legislative assembly and parliament.
FIR is the first stage of criminal proceedings and leads to the trial and punishment of offenders. This is also the main evidence of the whole process structure. Therefore, it is very important for everyone to learn the basics of FIR in India. The complainant can understand and know his case only after understanding these basic rules. Even a brief understanding of these concepts will go a long way in determining the correct course of action.
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