First Information Report (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 the First Information Report. It is generally a complaint lodged with the police by the victim of a cognizable offence or by someone on his/her behalf.
Anyone can report the commission of a cognizable offence either orally or in writing to the police. Even a telephonic message can be treated as an FIR.
It is a 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 take up investigation of the case.
An FIR is a report of a crime filed with the police to initiate the investigation process. However, an FIR cannot be registered for all crimes, and so it is important for one to know the crimes and circumstances in relation to which an FIR may be registered.
WHO CAN FILE AN FIR?
It is not necessary that only a victim of a crime can file an FIR in relation to it. The following persons may file an FIR:
1. the victim or any person on behalf of victim;
2. any person who has witnessed the crime or has heard of the crime. In case the person has only heard of the crime and wants to file an FIR, then he must mention the source from where he/she has heard of the crime; and
3. an officer in-charge of a police station.
So, if you are any of 1, 2 or 3 above, then go to the police station closest to the area where the crime has occurred and ask for the person-in-charge of the police station. When you have finished narrating the events surrounding the crime, if the person in- charge of the police station (not lower than the rank of head constable) is satisfied that the crime which took place is a cognizable offence and he is duty bound to register an FIR.
You may either give a written statement or make an oral statement to the officer in charge who will then write it down in FIR register. The officer in- charge is under an obligation to read over the statement written in the FIR register to you and then you must put your thumb impression or sign the FIR register.
Three carbon copies of an FIR are made, one copy each is sent to the Magistrate and the Superintendent of police and the third will be handed over to you. The original is retained, for record, in the police station.
THINGS ONE MUST CONSIDER WHILE REGISTERING AN FIR
There are a few things you should keep in mind if you are filing an FIR:
1. An FIR is recorded in first person, e.g. I was present on the scene of crime, I saw him taking out his gun.
2.The FIR should be registered immediately after the happening of crime. If there is any delay in registering an FIR, the reasons for the delay must be explained. Try to give a detailed description of the accused and other witnesses so that they can be easily identified.
3. Try to give as much information as possible about the scene of crime, e.g. the kind of weapon used, any physical damage caused to property, the date, time and place of the incident the question.
4. Ensure that you use simple language and not ambiguous, i.e., the meaning should be clear and obvious. Also make sure that you have not left out any relevant facts as FIR once registered cannot be modified again. Do not lie regarding any fact as it is a punishable offence under section 177 and 182 of Indian Penal Code.
The police makes three copies of an FIR. The original is always kept as record in the police station and one carbon copy of original FIR is handed over to the informant. This carbon copy is also stamped and signed by the officer who has registered the FIR. The person filing the FIR must sign on the original and the 3 copies of the FIR.
WHAT IF THE POLICE REFUSE TO FILE AN FIR?
The person in- charge of a police station cannot refuse to register an FIR. It does not matter whether or not the information given is genuine. It is the statutory duty of a police officer to register an FIR whenever any information pertains to ant cognizable offence is reported to him/her.
In case the person in charge of a police station fails to register your FIR, you can approach superintendent of police who will either himself or through any other officer get the FIR registered.
You may inform the Superintendent of such non registration via a written complaint which may be sent to the Superintendent of Police through post. Note: This is an effective method of ensuring that your plea is heard – do mention in your letter the name of the police officer who refused to file an FIR.
PROCEDURE FOR FILING AN F.I.R
The Procedure for filing an F.I.R is prescribed in S.154 of the Cr.P.C. 1973.
Section 154: Information in cognizable cases. -
(1) 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 in this behalf.
(2) A copy of the information as recorded under sub-section (1) shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.
(3) Any person aggrieved by a refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to record the information referred to in sub- section (1) may send the substance of such information, in writing and by post, to the Superintendent of Police concerned who, if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him, in the manner provided by this Code, and such officer shall have all the powers of an officer in charge of the police station in relation to that offence.''
a) When the information of commission of an offence is given orally, the police must write it down.
b) The complaint has a right that the information recorded by the police is read over to him. He has also a right to demand a copy of the complaint as recorded by the police.
c) Once the information is recorded by the police, it must be signed by the person giving information.
d) The complainant should sign the report only after verifying that the information recorded by the police is as per the details given by him.
e) People who cannot read or write must put there left thumb impression after being satisfied that it is correctly recorded.
f) 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.