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What Should we do If Police Officer Refuse To Lodge Your FIR?

What is an FIR?
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.

An FIR 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 takes up investigation of the case.

Anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence can file an FIR. It is not necessary that only the victim of the crime should file an FIR. A police officer who comes to know about a cognizable offence can file an FIR himself/herself.

You can file an FIR if:
  • You are the person against whom the offence has been committed;
  • You know yourself about an offence which has been committed;
  • You have seen the offence being committed.

In Which Cases Can An FIR Be Registered?

Section 154(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 clearly points out that an FIR could be registered only in case of cognizable offences. Cognizable offences refer to those offences in which the police are permitted to arrest the accused without a warrant. In such offences, the police can Suo moto take the cognizance of the offence and it does not require any sanction from the court in order to begin the investigation.

On the other hand, non-cognizable offences are those in which police cannot make a conviction without taking a prior assent from the court. Schedule I of the Criminal Procedure Code clearly distinguishes as to which offences are cognizable and which are not.

What Is The Procedure For Registration Of An FIR?

We at Calculus Legal possess team of best lawyers in Delhi to guide you regarding the procedure for registration of FIR. According to the sub-section (1) of Section 154 Cr.P.C., when an informant informs the officer-in-charge of a police station about the commission of a cognizable offence, it is the duty of the said officer to record the same in the book that has been prescribed to them by the State Government for this purpose.

If the informant has provided the information in oral form, then the officer must reduce it in written form or get it reduced in written form under his supervision. As soon as the writing down is done, the content must be read to the informant and then get it signed by the informant once he is satisfied by the same.

After all these steps are over, then the substance would be entered under the daily diary register. However, if the information has already been given in the form of a written complaint which is signed by the informant, then the entry could be made in the daily diary register straight away.

This section further provides that if an offence under section 326A, 326B, 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376E or 509 of the Indian Penal Code, has been alleged to have committed against a woman, and the said woman herself is the informant in the case, such information is to be recorded by a female police officer.

Moreover, if the victim against whom any of the offences mentioned above has alleged to have been committed, and due to which the victim has acquired either physical or mental disability which could either be temporary or permanent, then the recording of the information must be done at victim's place or any other place as per victim's convenience.

Furthermore, as per Section 154(2) Cr.P.C., the police officer is supposed to provide a copy of FIR to the informant chargeless

Refusal To Register FIR: Legal Or Illegal?

The foremost question that arises here is, whether the officer-in-charge of the police station can deny registering the FIR in any circumstance? The answer to this is affirmative. The denial by the police officer to file an FIR is considered legal typically in two scenarios, firstly, if the complaint is about an awfully trivial issue, or secondly, if that particular police station does not have the territorial jurisdiction of that offence.

If you are facing the same problem where the concerned police officer is not registering your FIR, then you can approach Calculus Legal where the team of best criminal lawyers will help you in resolving your issue in most efficient manner.

With regards to the first situation, it is unusual for a cognizable offence to be a nugatory matter so this condition would hardly apply here. However, the refusal to register FIR based on the second ground is pretty common and the solution to which is the "Zero FIR". The concept of a Zero FIR is that if a person is unable to file an FIR in the police station with correct territorial jurisdiction for a particular offence due to any reason, then he may file the same in any other police station within his/her reach, and such police station would later transfer the report to the police station which actually has the jurisdiction for that offence.

However, if the police officer refuses to lodge the report on some unexplainable grounds or even without giving any reason, it'd definitely be considered illegal. Then the aggrieved would have to seek remedy for the same as provided under the law, which has been discussed next.

Statutory Remedies

If Officer in charge (SHO)/ Police officer declines to register an FIR then the complainant/ aggrieved person can report it to the concerned higher authority/ Superintendent by submitting a complaint in writing and by post.

If further the Superintendent declines to take note of the complaint the next option available before the aggrieved is to file a criminal complaint before the Judicial Magistrate or the Metropolitan Magistrate under Section 156 (3).

Alternate Remedies
  1. Can approach to High Court by way of Writ Petition and ask for appropriate compensation.
  2. Can lodge a formal complaint in the State Human Rights Commission, or the National Human Rights Commission.
  3. File a complaint under Section 166A of IPC wherein if the public servant concerned failed to record any information given to him under subsection (1) 0f Section 154 of the Cr.P.C, 1973, in relation to cognizable Offences punishable under Section 326A, Section 326B, Section 354, Section 354B, Section 370, Section 370A, Section 376, Section 376A, Section 376B, Section 376C, Section 376D, Section 376E, or Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code, the maximum punishment ranges from rigorous imprisonment for a period of 6 to 24 months in addition to cash penalty.

Consequences Of Non-Registration Of FIR

The police officers who are at default regarding the refusal of registration of FIR in case of cognizable cases may face several consequences owing to their inaction. If no action is taken by the concerned authorities even after the aggrieved had gone for all the above-mentioned statutory as well as judicial remedies then he may opt for the following actions.

The aggrieved person may file a writ petition in the respective High Court for the issuing of Writ of Mandamus against the delinquent police officers, and then the Court would direct them to come up with the reasoning as to why they did not lodge the report.

Another alternative that the aggrieved person could go for is to file a Writ Petition in the respective High Court to seek compensation if such non-lodging of the report has caused the person deprivation of his right to life and personal liberty as guaranteed by Article 21 of our Constitution.

Landmark Cases
  1. Lallan Chaudhary v. State of Bihar

    Supreme Court held that the mandate of Section 154 is manifestly clear that if any information disclosing a cognizable offense is laid before an officer in charge of a police station, such police officer has no other option but to register the case on the basis of such information. The Supreme Court bench also observed that genuineness or credibility of the information is not considered to be a condition precedent for registration of a case.
  2. Lalita Kumari v. Govt. Of U.P.

    In this case, the Supreme Court held that the registration of F.I.R. is mandatory under Section 154 of Cr.P.C. if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offense and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation.
  3. Bhajanlal v. State of Haryana

    Supreme Court observed in this case that the legal mandate enshrined in Section 154(1) is that every information relating to the commission of a "cognizable offense" if given orally or in writing to "an officer in charge of a police station" (within the meaning of Section 2(o) of the Code) and signed by the informant should be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe which kind is commonly called as "First Information Report" and which act of entering the information in the said form is known as registration of a crime or a case.

The practice of refusal on the part of police officers to register FIR, no matter how barbaric it seems, is pretty common. The reasons could be many, such as protecting the accused persons who are powerful and have high contacts or harassing the poor victims, or irresponsible behavior of public servants, etc. Whatever may be the reason, it is the victim who suffers. The victim who already has been through trauma due to the commission of an offence is put through the whole agony once again when s/he is denied for lodging the report.

Whenever a cognizable offence is committed, the filing of an FIR is technically the first stage for initiation of criminal proceedings, and hence the first step for seeking justice. It means when the aggrieved person is denied to record his complaint, he is denied justice altogether. There is no doubt that various remedies have been provided to aggrieved persons for the said circumstances by the law, but all this running around to seek these remedies merely to get the complaint filed sometimes delays the justice to such an extent that it feels denied.

It is indisputable that this action of police officers is among the most atrocious practices of our legal system because to report an offence that is committed to someone is one of the most basic rights of that individual and ironically it is taken away by our protectors themselves. This practice clearly leads to lawlessness and hence it must be put an end to.

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