FIR (First Information Report)
FIR stands for First Information Report and FIR is a written document made by the police when someone reports a crime. It contains all the details of the crime provided by the complainant to the police. Only after FIR is registered that the police can start investigating the crime.
Who can lodge an FIR?
- The victim of a crime
- Anyone who has seen a crime being committed
- Anyone who knows about a crime being committed
- A police officer who has seen a crime being committed or knows about it
How to file an FIR
- The informant goes to the police station within whose jurisdiction the crime has been committed.
- The informant meets the police officer in charge and describes the crime committed. The police officer writes down the information.
- The information written down by the police officer is read out to the informant.
- Once the informant verifies that the information read out is correct, they sign the document. An illiterate informant can put their thumb impression on the document after verifying it.
- The informant gets a free copy of the FIR.
What is mentioned in the FIR?
- Name and address of the informant
- Time, date, and location of the crime reported
- A detailed narration of the crime
- Name and description, if possible, of the suspects involved in the crime
The Supreme Court has made it mandatory for the police to register an FIR before investigating a case. It has stated that disciplinary action will be taken against a police officer for their refusal to register an FIR within 24 hours. Accordingly, the Court has also issued guidelines as follows:
- The informant can approach the Superintendent of Police or other higher authorities with a written complaint. They can also send a written complaint to the higher authorities by post.
- The informant can lodge a complaint with the magistrate at the High Court. Thereupon, the magistrate directs the police officer concerned to register the FIR.
- Failure of the police officer concerned to register the FIR within 24 hours can result in one year of imprisonment.
For what crimes can an FIR be filed?
An FIR can be filed only for cognisable crimes. A cognisable crime is when the police may arrest a person without a warrant and may start the investigation of a crime without orders from the court to do so. Examples of cognisable crimes are murder, theft, robbery, and physical assault.