In layman’s word, First Information Report (FIR) is the knowledge or
information of any occurrence especially related to crime or the subjects which
are either restricted or prohibited by law. The term FIR is not defined anywhere
in our law but Section 154 & 155 of CrPC talks about the cognizance of any
information related to cognizable offenses and non-cognizable offenses
respectively. The purpose of FIR is to bring the law into the action of
cognizance of any offence, and with the cognizance, it is the duty of the state
to offer redressal to the victim and protect the society from such offences.
In, State of Haryana v/s Bhajan Lal
[AIR 1992 SC 604] it was held that in
a condition where there is an information and that information must disclose a
cognizable offence. And if any such information before an officer satisfies the
requirements of Section 154(1), the said police officer has no other option
except to enter the substance thereof in the prescribed form.
Evidentiary Value of FIR
The evidentiary value of FIR is very important than any other statements during
the process of cognizance of any offense or at the time of initiating the
investigation about information recorded as per Section 154 or 155 of CrPC. But
at the same time the established principle of law that FIR cannot be assumed as
a substantive piece of evidence and can only be considered as an important piece
The reason for which the FIR is regarded as an important piece of evidence is-
because of its nature that it is the first information of the cognizance of any
offence, and it can be of very important nature as it will help in the
initiation of investigation about the offences.
In, Pandurang Chandrakant Mhatre v. State of Maharashtra
, it was seen
that ‘it is fairly well settled that FIR is not a substantive piece of evidence
and it can be used only to impeach the creditworthiness of the testimony
recorded by the maker and it cannot be used for the purpose of contradicting or
discrediting the testimony of other witnesses’.
Question: Does FIR has Substantive Values or Its Just an Important Piece of
Answer: The main reasons why FIR does not have any substantive evidentiary
- Because the statements in the FIR are not made on oath
- Because the statements in the FIR are not made during the trial or at
the time of proceedings.
- Because the statements recorded in FIR has no cross-examination in the
- Because the statements recorded by the police officers are not
admissible in court.
The reasons why FIR are treated as an important piece of evidence:
- For corroborating the statements made by the person who recorded the FIR
- For cross-examination of the statements made by the person in the FIR.
- For refreshing informer’s memory.
- For impeaching the creditworthiness of the informer.
- For the purpose of ascertaining the general facts like the identity of
accused, witnesses, time of offenses etc.
- Certain exceptions, when an FIR can be used as a substantive piece of
For the purpose of corroboration and contradiction the information of the
informant- Section 145 of Indian Evidence Act, talk about ‘A witness may be
cross-examined as to previous statements made by him for the purpose of
contradicting him’. The scope of Section 145 is to deal with the methods of
contradicting the information of the informer.
Under Section 153(2) of the Evidence Act, a witness may be asked any question
for the purpose of impeaching his impartiality and permits oral statement to be
used for contradiction. But the present Section which is Section 145 of the
Indian Evidence Act, only deals with the method of contradicting previous
statements of witness in writing by cross-examination. The rule will apply where
a witness is not a party to the suit and would not apply when a party to the
suit is examining himself as a witness.
Section 145 of Indian Evidence Act has 2 basic principles which are- According
to the first part- a witness may be cross-examined as to the previous statement
made by him in writing or is reduced into writing without showing the writing to
him or proving the same. And the second part is intended to contradict him
through cross-examination where the previous statement is in writing. The main
objective of this provision is either to test the memory of witness or to
contradict him by previous statements in writing.
In, Ram Chandra V. State of Haryana
, the Supreme Court observed that the
contents and information of the FIR can only be used for the purpose of
contradiction & corroboration the facts stated by the informer or of any other
Section 157 of the Evidence Act which talks about:
“Procedure for investigation preliminary inquiry
”. The FIR is a kind of
evidence whose contradictory and creditworthiness values is only subjected to
the person who lodged a FIR or the informer of the offence and the principles
laid down under Section 145, 154(2) and 157 of Indian Evidence Act can’t be used
for the purpose of contradicting and checking the creditworthiness of any other
witness other than the person who is the informer of the offence. And these
principles are usually benefiting the accused in way of contradicting and
checking the creditworthiness of the informer.
And it has been held by the Apex Court of India that with regard to FIR there
can only be two possibilities which are- corroborating and contradicting the
informer; and hence it is observed that FIR cannot be considered as a
substantive piece of evidence in any manner.
In, Hasib v/s State of Bihar
(1972) 4 SCC 773, it was held by the Supreme
Court that considering the principles of Section 157 and 145 of the Indian
Evidence Act, it is quite obvious that the FIR can only be used for the purpose
of corroborating or contradicting the informant the one who lodging the FIR.
In, The State of Orissa v. Makund Harijan and another
(1983) Crl. LJ.
1870 , the Orissa High Court held that FIR can only be used to corroborate or
contradict the maker of FIR. But omissions of certain important facts, affecting
the probabilities of the case, are relevant under Section 11 of the Evidence Act
in judging the veracity of the prosecution case.
If the informant of any certain offence is accused himself, then it cannot be
possibly to use the facts or information of the FIR for the purpose of
corroboration or contraction because accused cannot be a prosecution witness,
and he would very rarely offer himself to be a defense witness under Section 315
of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It is noted that if the F.I.R. is of a
confessional nature, then again it cannot be proved against the accused as such
actions are prohibited by Section 25 of the Evidence Act.
Where confession made to a police officer cannot be used or proved against a
person who is accused of a certain offence. But at the same time if the accused
admits his act then the F.I.R. is admissible as evidence under Section 21 of the
Evidence Act. And if the F.I.R. contains not only the confession of the accused
but also relates to several other matters which are relevant to the trial or the
procedure, then the provisions make the latter admissible.
Though the contents of F.I.R. can be used only to contradict or corroborate the
informant, still there may be cases where the contents become relevant and the
F.I.R. can be used as a part of the informant’s conduct under Section 8 and 11
of the Evidence Act.
Statements or information by the informant as dying declaration in FIR
The word “Dying Declaration
” means any statement is written or verbal of
relevant facts made by a person, who is dead or it is the statement of a person
who had died explaining the circumstances of his death.
The concept of dying declaration was evolved from a legal maxim, ‘nemo
mariturus presumuntur mentri
’ i.e. a man will not meet his maker with a lie
in his mouth. Although it may sound impractical but our law has adopted this
concept and functions accordingly. Section 32(1) specifically deals with the
concept of dying declaration in respect of a cause of death and it is assumed
that such statements are relevant even whether the person who made them was not
at the time when they were made.
In Uka Ram v. State of Rajasthan
A.I.R. 2001 S.C. 1814 , the Apex Court
defined dying declaration in a way that, “when a statement is made by a person
in the threat of his death or as to any circumstances which cause threat or
results into his death, and when the cause of his death comes in question the
statements made by him are admissible as evidence, such statement in law are
compendiously called dying declaration.”
The Supreme Court in deciding P.V. Radhakrishna v. State of Karnataka, Appeal (crl.)
1018 of 2002 held that ‘the principle on which a dying declaration is admitted
in evidence is indicated in the Latin maxim, ‘nemo morturus procsumitur mentri’,
which means that a man will not meet his maker with a lie in his mouth.
Information lodged by a person who died subsequently relating to the cause of
his death is admissible in evidence under this clause.
In K.R. Reddy v. Public Prosecutor 1976
AIR 1994, 1976 SCR 542, the
evidentiary value of dying declaration was observed as:
“The dying declaration is admissible under Section 32 & because the statement
not made on oath so that its truth could be tested by cross-examination, the
court has to observe the closest inspection of the statement before acting upon
it. And it is also assumed that the words of a dying man are of very serious
nature because a person on the verge of death is not likely to tell lies or to
connect a case to a malice prosecution of an innocent person. Once the court is
satisfied that the dying declaration is true & voluntary and are not influenced,
then the statements can be sufficient to prove the conviction even without
The evidentiary value of FIR in the circumstances of dying declaration comes
from the concept that- A dying declaration can also be recorded by public
servants, or by a doctor as well, where the victim is hospitalized and is badly
burnt or injured and wants to make a statement, the doctor can also record the
same and make a note of that statement.
Although, it is advisable that the dying declaration should be made to the
magistrate itself or in the presence of magistrate but if there is a condition
where no such possibility is seen then the dying declaration can also be
recorded by the police officers, although the court discourages such declaration
to the police officer but if the condition and circumstances are of such a
nature that no other possibilities are seen, then the dying declarations written
by the police officers are also considered by the courts.
In, Kapoor Singh V. Emperor
(AIR 1930 Lah. 450), the court observed that
the FIR lodged by the deceased person can be admissible as a piece of evidence
in the court if the FIR is relating and explaining the circumstances of his
death. Also in the case of Sukhar V. State of UP
(1999) 9 SCC 507, it was
observed that if the dying declaration in the FIR is not sufficient to ascertain
the facts and reasons for the cause of his death, even though the FIR has enough
information related to the accused and details of the incident. Then the
information cannot be considered as dying declaration.
In the case of Maniram V. State of Madhya Pradesh
(AIR 1994 SC 840), the
dying declaration was recorded by the doctor but the doctor did not attest the
consciousness report of the deceased and also there was no thumb signature on
the dying declaration, in that case, the FIR has lost its credibility and it was
difficult to rely on the dying declaration.
After ascertaining the provision it can be assumed that the FIR is an important
report and if duly recorded provides valuable evidence. Now it can easily be
considered as an important and a valuable piece of evidence in any trial either
for the purpose of corroborating evidence or for contradicting witnesses.
Therefore, it becomes necessary that such report to be recorded in all
circumstances and it is the duty of the police officer to initiate the
investigation as soon as the information is received. In the discussion of the
evidentiary value of the FIR, it is also concluded that the statements recorded
by the police officers are not admissible in the court of justice and hence the
ascertainment of the facts by the police officer’s also comes under the umbrella
of important piece of evidence but not a substantive piece of evidence.
FIR can sometimes also be considered as Substantial Evidence but in most of the
cases it ends up having a just value of an important piece of evidence. Hence we
can assume that FIR is an important and a circumstantial piece of evidence.