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First Information Report And It’s Importance In Legal System

First information Report – FIR is not defined in the code. It may be defined as follow:

  1. It is an information which is given to the police officer.
  2. Information must relate to a cognizable offence.
  3. It is an information first in point of time.
  4. It is on the basis of this information that the investigation into the offence commences.
The information given to the police officer and reduced into the writing as required by section 154 of CrPC is called as First Information Report. It is on the basis of this report that investigation of cognizable offences commences under this section.

Sec. 154 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 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

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, while delivering its judgment in the matter of T.T.Antony vs. State of Kerala & Ors sc AIR 2001 S.C.689., laid down certain important points regarding Sec. 154 of the Cr.P.C.:
Information given under sub-section (1) of Section 154 of Cr.P.C., is commonly known as the First Information Report (FIR), though this term is not used in the Code….And as it’s nick name suggests, it is the earliest and the first information of a cognizable offence recorded by an officer in charge of a police station.

Where F.I.R is lodged

The general rule is that ordinarily the information about offence committed is to be given to the police station where the offence has been committed, but the supreme court in State of A.P. v. Punati Ramube 1993 Cr.L.J. 3684(S.C.) held that information about cognizable offence can be recorded in any area and forwarding the same to the police station having jurisdiction over that area.

Object of F.I.R

The object upon insisting upon prompt lodging of the report to the police in respect of the commission of the cognizable offence is to obtain early information regarding the circumstances in which the crime was committed. Delay results in the embellishment and the report gets bereft of the advantage of spontaneity.

Who Can Lodge An FIR?

FIRs can be registered by a victim, a witness or someone else with knowledge of the crime. In regard to who can file an FIR, the Apex Court of India has observed in Hallu vs. State of M.P, 1974 AIR 1936
Section 154 does not require that the Report must be given by a person who has personal knowledge of the incident reported. The section speaks of information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence given to an officer in charge of a police station

Importance of F.I.R.

FIR is important from many point of views. It is the statement made soon after the occurrence, hence the memory of the informant is fresh and it is also unlikely that he had opportunities of fabrication. Delay in providing FIR is therefore viewed from grave suspicion.

Providing A Copy of FIR To The Accused

Under Indian criminal law, the informant, as seen earlier, is entitled to get a copy of the first information report lodged by him at the police station free of cost. It is a necessary document in a criminal case and can majorly support the case of the informant or the victim.

However, the accused person is also entitled to get a copy of the first information report. Sec. 207 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 entitles the accused to get the copy of the first information report the investigation has been completed by the police in the said case, and the charge sheet has been filed in the Court. The provision states that the Magistrate, in such circumstances, must furnish to the accused a copy of the FIR free of cost.

Delay In Lodging of FIR

Delay in giving first information can be condoned if there is a satisfactorily explanation. Whether the delay is so long as to throw a cloud of suspicion on the deeds of the prosecution case depends upon a variety of factors. Where delay is caused due to its being lodged in wrong police station, it was held to be a reasonably explained. (Attamuddin v. State of U.P. A.I.R 1974 SC 606).Where the accused himself gives the first information the fact of himself giving the information is admissible against him as evidence of his conduct under section 8 of Evidence Act. If the information is non confessional, it is admissible against the accused as an admission under section 21 of the Evidence Act and is relevant but a confessional first information report by the accused to the police can not be used against the accused in view of section 25 of the Evidence Act.

The supreme court in Harpal Singh v. State of Himachal Pradesh, 1981 CR.LJ SC held that if in the rape case lodging of FIR was delayed for ten days, the delay will be deemed to have been reasonably explained where he honour of the family was involved and its member of the family had to decide whether to take the matter to the court or not.

It was held in Harbans kaur v. State of Harayana 2005 Cr.LJ 2199(sc) that even a long delay in lodging FIR can be codoned if witnesses have no motive of implicating accused and have given a plausible reason for delay. In Badi Guravaivh v. State of A.P. 1993 Cr.LJ (AP). The FIR was originally registered under section 324 IPC and subsequently on receipt of death information was altered into section 302 IPC and altered FIR was sent which reached the court on the same day. The injured was sent to the hospital immediately and the statement was recorded on the same night itself. It was held that all this showed the prompt action was taken by police in the matter. Therefore such a delay in receipt of FIR by magistrate is not fatal to the prosecution.

In Gajanan Dashrath Khartate v. State of Maharashtra 2016 Cr.LJ.1326(sc) a case of delay in lodging of FIR it was observed that delay in setting law into motion by lodging of the complaint and registration of first information report is normally viewed by courts with suspicion because there is possibility of concoction and embellishment of occurrence so it becomes necessary for the prosecution to satisfactorily explain the delay.

The object of insisting upon a prompt lodging of the report is to obtain early information not only regarding the assailants but also about the part played by the accused, the nature of the incident and the names of the witnesses. In the present case the prosecution has satisfactorily explain the delay.

The object of insisting upon a lodging of the report early information not only regarding the assailants but also the part played by the accused, the nature of the incident and name of the witnesses.In the present case prosecution has satisfactorily the delay in lodging the complaint. When the prosecution has explain the delay in lodging the complaint, prosecution case cannot be doubted on the small delay between the time of the occurrence and registration of first information report.

It was held in Gurmit Singh v. State of Punjab that in sexual offences delay in lodging of the FIR can be due to variety of reasons particularly in reluctance of the prosecutrix or her family members to go to the police and complain about incident which concerns the reputation of the prosecutrix and the honour of the family. It is only after giving a cool thought that a complaint of the sexual offence is generally lodged. Even if there is some delay in lodging FIR in respect of offence of the rape, if it is properly explained and the explanation is natural in the facts and the circumstances of the case, such delay would not matter.

Effect of Delay In Lodging of The FIR

In Chunni Lal v. State of UP (2010)4 Cr.LJ 3836(sc) the appellant Chunni Lal committed murder of his uncle Hira Lal at about 5 pm in his field. Police station was about 8 km away from the place of the occurrence and the entire area was dacoit infested. Informants who were eye witnesses and sons of deceased did not dare to go out in the night due to fear and thought fit to lodge FIR in the morning. It was held by the supreme court that in view of the above situation delay in lodging of the FIR was thus explained and hence the conviction of the appellant was held to be proper and appeal was dismissed.

In Ram Naresh v. State of Chattishgarh (2012) 2 Cr.LJ 1898(SC) the offence of the gang rape under section 376 IPC and murder under section 302 IPC was committed in night in the village. Accused remained in the house of deceased for some time. Death of deceased took place after considerable time of offence. Husband of the deceased who came after being informed lodged FIR in the next morning. It was thus held that thus delay in lodging FIR was explained and delay is not fatal to the prosecution case.

Omission To Mention The Name of The Accused
In Mittar Sen v. State of up AIR 1976 SC 1156, the name of the person who caused the injuries to the accused was not mentioned in the FIR. It was also not mentioned that how the accused received the injuries.

Therefore the evidence of the prosecution witnesses cannot be accepted at its face value and be relied upon implicitly. where no satisfactory explanation is furnished for omission to mention the name of the accused in the FIR the court may doubt the veracity of the prosecution. The inference arising from the fact that the names of the accused are not mentioned in FIR will vary from case to case. The fact that the names of the some accused are not mentioned in the FIR is a circumstance, which the prosecution has to explain, though no rule of law stipulates that an accused whose name is not mentioned in the FIR is entitled to acquittal.

Omission To Mention Details of The Incidents

It was held in Dharmendra Singh v. State of UP 1998 Cr.LJ 2064(All) that the FIR and the statements recorded under section 161 CRPC are not encyclopedic to give each and every minute details which had come into the light during the deposition in the court. Sometimes witnesses do not think it proper to get it mentioned in the FIR or the statements recorded under section 161 CRPC but it does not mean that the facts do not exits.

It was held in Moti Lal v. State of UP (2010) 2 Cr.LJ 1937(SC) that the FIR need not contain every minute detail about the occurrence. It is not a substantive piece of evidence. It is not necessary that the name of every individual present at the scene of the occurrence should be stated in the first information report.

Guidelines For Supply of FIR Copy To The Accused

In Youth Bar Association of India v. Union Of India 2017Cr.LJ 1093 (SC) the supreme court issued the following directions in matters related to FIR.
  1. It is a mandate, the supreme court directed union of India and all the states to upload each and every FIR registered in all police station within the territory of India on the official website of the police of all states as early as possible preferably within 24 hours from the registration.

  2. However in case, there is connectivity problem due to geographical location, there is some unavoidable difficulty, the time can be extended up to 48 hours. The 48 hours period can be extended maximum up to 72 hours and it is only relatable problem due to geographical location.

  3. The copies of the FIR, unless the offence is sensitive in nature like sexual offences, offences pertaining to insurgency, terrorism of that category, offences under POCSO Act and such other offences must be uploaded to the police website and if there is no such website, on the official website of the state government within the 24 hours of the registration of the FIR so that the accused or any other person connected therewith can download it and file appropriate application before the court, as per law for the redressal of his grievances (the examples given here are illustrative and not exhaustive). The word sensitive apart from the other aspect which may be thought of being sensitive by the competent authority as mentioned herein will also include the concept of the privacy.

  4. The decision not to upload a copy of the FIR on the website shall not be taken by the officer below the rank of deputy superintendent of police or any person holding equivalent post. A decision taken by police officer or District Magistrate as the case may be duly communicated to the concerned judicial magistrate.

  5. In case a copy of FIR is not provided on the ground of sensitive nature of the case, a person aggrieved after disclosing his identity can submit a representation to the superintendent of police or any person holding the equivalent post in state, even to the commissioner of the police in metropolitan cities.

  6. The officers are requested to constitute a committee of 3 officers, the committee so constituted will have to deal with the grievances within 3 day of the date of the receipt of the representation and communicate it to the aggrieved person.

  7. In case wherein the decisions have been taken not to give copy of FIR because of the sensitive information of the case. It will be open to the accused or his authorized representatives to file an application for grant of the certified copy before the court to which the FIR has been sent and the same must be provided promptly by the concerned court, not beyond 3 days of submission of FIR.

Zero FIR

It means that an FIR can be filed in any police station, irrespective of the jurisdictional limitations and location of the incident. The respective police station takes in the FIR and marks it as a zero FIR by giving it serial number zero and immediately transfer the documents over to the concerned jurisdiction.
  1. It was initially highlighted after the Nirbhaya Case, 2012.
    Zero FIRs may be registered on the basis of a woman’s statement at any police station irrespective of jurisdiction. This means women can file an FIR at any police station and the complaint is required to be registered on the basis of the woman’s complaint verbatim.
  2. The police officers who fail to comply with the registration of Zero FIR may invite prosecution under Section 166A of IPC and also departmental action.
Written By: Suman Raj & Subhradeep Paul - BA.LL.B, 8th Semester
Law College Dehradun Faculty of Uttaranchal University

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