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First Information Report and impact of delay in filing First Information Report

First information report also known as the F.I.R. has not been defined specifically by the code of criminal procedure. It refers to the information which was given to the police and is the first time it relates to the cognizable offence. It the first step to put the wheel of criminal law into motion. The term FIR can be considered as technical description of the report made under the section 154 of Code of criminal procedure, which further provides the first information of the cognizable crime to the police.

Section 154 (1) of the code of criminal procedure states that:
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.

Section 154 (2) of the code of criminal procedure states that a copy of the information as recorded under sub-section (1) shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.

Objectives of F.I.R
  • With the help of FIR the complainant sets the wheel of criminal law into motion
  • The investigation authority obtains information about the alleged crime and takes it further.
  • It also is an object to record the facts and circumstances before there is time for the informant to be forgotten.
  • For accused FIR is a safeguard against the situation if there are any variations or additions
  • And from courts perspective the FIR makes it known where the case is going to be tried.

Important aspects for FIR
  • The information of the FIR must be given to the officer in charge of the police station
  • The information must relate to the commission of a cognizable offence.
  • The information in the FIR must be the earliest report relation to a commission of a crime.
  • In order to increase productivity, the information by the complainant must be in writing or reduced writing it is given as oral
  • All the information must be read over the informant.
  • It shall hold the signature of the person giving it.
  • The substance of the information must be shall be entered by the Police in a book called Station Diary.
  • The copy of such information recorded should be given to the informant forthwith and free of cost.

Who all can fill an FIR:
  • Complainant can be the aggrieved person or somebody on his/her behalf.
  • It can be filled by any person who is aware of the offence as eye or hearsay witness.
  • If the hearsay witness is required to subscribe his signature and mention the source of information in order to make sure it does not amount to irresponsible rumour.
  • The officer in charge of the police station signs the report filled.

Zero FIR
It is type of FIR that can be filled anytime anywhere in any police station regardless of the place of incidence or jurisdiction. It later gets transferred to the Police station under jurisdiction.

The ordinary FIR has a serial number in the police station of the jurisdiction, whereas zero FIR is unnumbered and is later transferred to the competent police station under jurisdiction where it further gets acted upon and gets formally logged with a number.

Case Laws:
Satvinder Kaur vs State (1999 (8) SCC 728)
In this case the SHO of the police station had a statutory authority under Section 156 of the Criminal Procedure Code to investigate any cognizable case for which an F.I.R. is lodged. The Investigating Officer arrives at the conclusion that the crime was not committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the police station.

It further resulted that F.I.R. can be forwarded to the police station having jurisdiction over the area in which crime is committed. However this would not result that in a case which requires investigation, the police officer can refuse to record the FIR or investigate it.

Delay in FIR
It can be said that the case is false wholly or in material particular, so that delay is self satisfactorily be explained. There should be absolute care taken at all times involving the names of witness, prosecution witness, relevant materials, etc in the FIR in in order to make proper and smooth functioning and to remove presumptions of the presence. The names of all the accused persons should occur in F.I.R. if possible.

There are many ways and ways this delay can be caused:
  • The physical condition of the informer matters hence any harm can cause the delay
  • The informer may be experiencing shock or any other psychological condition hence it can delay the procedure.
  • Natural calamities are one of the biggest interference. Eg: Rain tampers with the evidence or causing traffic congestion leading to delay.
  • Distance of place of occurrence can also be responsible
  • Ignorance is a key factor and police needs to make sure the to keep the law of informer intact.
  • If there has been no information it can lead to late detection of commission of crime.
  • Threat, promise and undue influence can influence the information majorly.
  • Sometimes the dispute over the jurisdiction of Police Station can also cause the delay in formal FIR and further leads to delay in whole.

Case Laws:
State of Rajasthan vs. Narayan (AIR 1992 SC 2004)

In this case there was a delay of two days of filling the FIR under section 176 of the Code of criminal procedure. It was because victims of rape ordinarily consult relatives and are hesitant to approach police since it involves the question of morality and chastity of women especially if the accused happens to relative.

Vidyadharan vs State of Kerala (AIR 2004 SC 636)
In this case court held that the delay in filling of sexual offences can be on because of variety of reasons because it concerns the reputation and the honour of families.

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