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. This is the first report of information that reaches the police 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.
What is a Cognizable Offence?
A cognizable offence is one in which the police may arrest a person without warrant. They are authorised to start investigation into a cognizable case on their own and do not require any orders from the court to do so.
Non-cognizable Offence: A non-cognizable offence is an offence in which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant. The police cannot investigate such an offence without the court’s permission.
Why is FIR important?
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.
Who can lodge an FIR?
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.
- A person against whom the offence has been committed.
- A person who knows about an offence which has been committed.
- A person who has seen the offence being committed.
What all are there in the FIR?
- Complainant’s Name and Address
- Date, Time & Location of the incident being reported
- The true facts of the incident as they occurred
- Names & descriptions of the persons involved in the incident
- Sections in various acts relevant to the offence
- Police Station reference No
Important points to note
The procedure of filing an FIR is prescribed in Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.
- When information about the commission of a cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down.
- Always ask for a copy of the FIR, if the police do not give it to you. It is your right to get it free of cost.
What can you do if your FIR is not registered?
- You can meet the Superintendent of Police (SP) or other higher officers like DIG or IG of Police and bring your complaint to their notice.
- You can send your complaint in writing and by post to the SP concerned. If the SP is satisfied with your complaint, he shall either investigate the case himself or order an investigation to be made.
- You can also make a complaint to the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) or the National Human Rights Commission( NHRC) if the police does nothing to enforce the law or does it in a biased and corrupt manner.
Things you should NOT do
- Never file a false complaint or give wrong information to the police. You can be prosecuted under law for giving wrong information or for misleading the police —[Section 203, Indian Penal Code 1860]
- Never exaggerate or distort facts
- Never make vague or unclear statements