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. FIR is an important document because it sets the process of criminal justice in motion.
What is F.I.R?
First Information Report (F.I.R) 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. FIR is an important document because 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.
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 to do so.
Object of F.I.R:-
- To make a complaint to the police to set the criminal law in motion.
- To inform the magistrate of the district and the District Superintendent of the Police who are responsible for peace and safety of the district about the offence reported at the station.
- To safeguard the accused against subsequent variations or additions.
- To obtain information about the alleged criminal activity in order to take suitable action for tracing and bringing the guilty party.
Who can File-?
Anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence, including police officers, can file an FIR. He need not be the aggrieved person. It may be merely hearsay and need not be by the person who has had firsthand knowledge of the facts.
Where to file-
An F.I.R. can be filed in the police station of the concerned area in whose jurisdiction the offence has occurred. It must be made to the officer-in-charge of the police station and if he is not available the Assistant Sub Inspector is competent to enter upon the investigation.
What is the procedure of filling FIR?
The procedure of filing an FIR is given under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898. It is as follows:
- 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 police have recorded the information in the FIR Register, the person giving the information must sign it.
- 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 a copy of FIR free of cost.
Is a police officer duty bound to lodge F.I.R in every case?
The police officer is duty bound to lodge FIR in every cognizable case. And if a police officer gets a complaint from an aggrieved person about the cognizable offense, he must lodge a F.I.R.
If the officer in charge refuses to record the information, the information may be sent 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.
After Registration of F.I.R
Once an FIR has been filed the police are legally bound to start investigating the case.
The process of investigation includes, but is not limited to, collecting evidence, questioning witnesses, inspecting the crime scene, forensic testing, recording statements and so on. If the criminals are found, the police will make arrests.
Once the investigation has been concluded the police will record all their findings in a ‘Challan’ or charge sheet. If it is deemed that there is enough proof on the charge sheet the case goes to court.
On the flipside, after their investigations if the police conclude that there is not enough evidence or proof that a crime has been committed they can close the case after justifying their reasons in court. If the police decide to close the case, they are bound to inform the person who filed the F.I.R of their decision.