A Guide to FIR for Common Man by Harshit Kiran | Know your Law | Legal Advice

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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 (cognizable offences are the offences of serious nature with higher punishment).
·  In case of non-serious or less serious offences, (Non-Cognizable offences), NCR (Non-Cognizable Report) is filed rather than FIR.
·  It is a report of information that reaches the police first at that 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 and nowadays, it can even be online.

Why is FIR important?

An FIR is a very important document as it sets the process of criminal justice in motion. It is the first step to initiate the criminal law. It is only after the registration of FIR in the police station that the police take up investigation of the case. The police may not investigate a complaint unless you file an FIR and even after filing an FIR if the case is not serious in nature or the police feel that there is not much ground to investigate then they may not investigate.

What are the benefits of an early recording of FIR?

The early recording of FIR helps in the the arrest of the real offenders and also helps in the collection of evidence of the crime.
The details given in the FIR recorded without any delay is considered more reliable by the courts. Delay in reporting the matter to the police can raise suspicion that the details may be changed or wrong or an exaggerated account of the incident or innocent persons may have been roped in.
The reason for delay should also be explained in the F.I.R. However, the delay does not adversely affect your right, if the delay is reasonable.

Who can lodge an FIR?

·         Anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence can file a FIR. It is not necessary that only the victim of the crime should file a FIR. 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.
·    A police officer who comes to know about a cognizable offence can also file an FIR himself/herself.
·   Complainant who is an aggrieved person or somebody on his behalf.
·    By any person who is aware of the offence,
(a) As an eye witness and
(b) As a hearsay account (Provided the person in possession of the hearsay is required to subscribe his signature to it and mention the source of his information so that it does not amount to irresponsible rumor)

What should you mention in the FIR?

* Your name and address;
* Date, time and location of the incident you are reporting
* The true facts of the incident as they occurred (preferably in the form of timeline)
*Names and descriptions of the persons involved in the incident (if any)
* Even mention the name of any person on whom the complainant has doubt
* Witness if any.

What is the the procedure of filing a FIR?

The procedure of filing a FIR is mention in section 154 of CrPC, 1973:
Ø  When the information about the commission of a cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down.
Ø  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.
Ø  Once the information has been recorded by the police, it must be signed by the person giving the information.
Ø  You should only sign the report after verifying that the information recorded by the police is the same as that given by you.
Ø  People who cannot read/write must give their left thumb impression on the document after getting satisfied that it is a correct report.
Always ask for a copy of FIR because it is your right to get it free of cost.

Things you should not do while filing an F.I.R:

·         Never file a false complaint or give wrong information to the police. You can be prosecuted under the law for giving wrong information or for misleading police and wasting their time.
·    Never tell wrong facts
·    Never make unclear statement
·    Never incriminate anyone’s name out of personal grudge or with malafied motives.

What can you do if your FIR is not registered or police officer denies to file FIR?

ü   You can meet the superintendent of police or other higher officers like deputy inspector general of police and inspector general of police and bring your complaint to their notice.
ü   You can send your complaint in writing and by post to the superintendent of police concerned. If the superintendent of police is satisfied with your complaint, he will either investigate the case himself or order an investigation to be made.
ü  You can send a complaint to the magistrate of your jurisdiction. If the magistrate of your jurisdiction is satisfied with your complaint, he will either investigate the case.

Some Important Points to remember:

·         We can call 100 to file FIR anytime and anywhere
·         If the information is only by a medical certificate or doctor's report about the arrival of the injured, then he should enter it in daily diary and go to the hospital for recording detailed statement of injured.
·         Refusal to register an F.I.R. is against the Law and without filing F.I.R, we can’t even ask of any help from the police.
·         You can also seek the help of NGOs, advocates and free legal clinic of your area.

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