A lot of confusion revolves around what exactly is the First Information Report (FIR)? How and where is it filed? Is there any time duration to file an FIR? And so on. This article attempts to solve all your questions related to FIRs and more to give a clear picture on the steps and processes involved in filing a FIR.
FIR is an indispensable document to a criminal matter as the investigation and collection of evidence by the police officer is initiated on the basis of the FIR. It basically sets the process of law and order in motion and initiates the due legal process against a crime.
To begin with, FIR can be explained by the following-
- The information is given to the police officer on duty.
- This is the first piece of information reported regarding the crime.
- The information must be of a cognizable offence.
- The information can be given either by the aggrieved person or any other person like a witness, family member etc.
The term FIR is defined under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 as below-
- The nature of the crime which is reported in the FIR should be cognizable. Only when the offence is cognizable, a FIR would be lodged. The information must be in writing, or if it is given orally, it shall be reduced to writing by the officer-in-charge of the police station and must be read over to the informant. The FIR shall be signed by the informant and the record shall be entered into the book of the officer at the police station.
The reduction of oral statement to writing and signature by the informant on the same is taken to discourage false, vague and irresponsible statements made by informants and placing responsibility upon them for the statement they make.If the informant refuses to sign the FIR, he would be punishable of offence under Section 180 of IPC.
- The copy of the information is given to the informant for free of cost.
- If the officer-in-charge of the police station refuses to lodge FIR, the aggrieved informant may send the information to the SP. And, if the SP is satisfied that all essentials of the information are fulfilled to be FIR then either he can investigate the case himself or direct the police officer subordinate to him to investigate the case.
The FIR can be filed by any person who is aware of that offence. He does not necessarily have to be victim, injured or eye-witness of the offence. The informant can lodge FIR on hearsay information and is not required to have first-hand knowledge of the facts.
The FIR has to be filed in the police station within whose jurisdiction the cognizable offence has been committed. If the FIR has been filed in a police station that does not have jurisdiction over the offence, it can initially be filed there and then be transferred to the police station of appropriate jurisdiction. This is known as Zero FIR. It is filed irrespective of the jurisdictional limitations and location of the offence to avoid delay in filing the crime and to avoid wastage of time which in turn may affect the whole process of investigation and collection of evidence.
The golden principle with respect to FIR is that it should always be filed at the very first instance without wasting any time. The instant filing of the FIR has some advantages and helps in the trial of the offence in the following ways-
- It gains credibility as report filed with delay may be incorrect or missing out on some important information
- The chances for tampering of evidences reduce.
- Delay in filing FIR causes suspicion.
- The Witnesses would be able to freshly recall the incident without any variances.
To help those victims who are not able to personally visit the police station due to travel constraints, bodily injury, saving oneself from shame or any other case, the government has introduced the concept of e-FIR.
An e-FIR can be filed for any cognizable offence on the online portal which differs from state to state. Some states have adopted the system of e-FIR and have created platforms for the same, while in some states, the concept of e-FIR is still not present or is under development.
To give an idea of how an e-FIR portal looks, some links have been provided for the reader’s reference-