FIR refers to First Important Report which means the information, by whomsoever given, to the officer in charge of a police station in relation to the commission of a cognizable offence and which is first in point of time and on the strength of which the investigation into that offence is commenced. Section 154 of Code of criminal procedure, 1973 deals with the provisions relating FIR.
The objective of registering an FIR is that there cannot be any embellishment later on. It has been made compulsory to make an FIR register is not only to ensure transparency in the criminal justice delivery system but also to ensure judicial oversight. It is basically the first step to “access to justice” for a victim and upholds the rule of law. It facilitates swift investigation and avoids manipulation in criminal cases in many ways. It is always advised that FIR should be lodged with the police at earliest possible opportunity because delay in FIR results in embellishment which is a creature of afterthought and on such account, the report not only gets bereft of the advantage of spontaneity, but danger creeps in of the introduction of colored version or concocted story. In case any delay has been made, then it should be explained satisfactorily. In Harpal Singh v. State of H.P., FIR was registered after 10 days of committing of Rape. The explanation for such delay was that the family members had taken that time to decide whether to take the matter to court or not. Hence, the explanation was accepted and was held to be reasonable according to the circumstances.
FORMS OF FIR
Talking about the various forms of FIR, when FIR submitted by any victim is transferred from one police station to another because the former police station lack jurisdiction, it is termed as zero FIR. When an offence has been committed few days after the registration of FIR and it has been done just to save the accused or to make a deliberate error, it is known as Ante-time FIR. When both the parties register FIR against each other in police station, it is called Cross FIR. When many people report to the police about the same offence, it is known as Multiple FIR. In case of a multiple FIR, the police officer will use common sense and record one of the statements as FIR. Where any anonymous telephone message did not disclose the names of the accused nor did it disclose the commission of a cognizable offence, it was held in Tapinder Singh v. state by the Supreme Court that such a telephonic message could not be held as FIR.
A writ petition by the Youth Bar Association of India that was filed seeking a direction to the states and the Union Territories in respect of online filing of FIRs, The Supreme Court on 7th of September 2016, ordered states and union territories to upload, on police or government websites, FIR (First Information Reports) within 24hours of their registration in police stations. The implementation of this remarkable step was directed by a two judge’s bench comprising of Justice Deepak Mishra and C.Nagappan.
It was held that where liberty of a person is at stake and the criminal law is set in motion, the accused should have all the information.
Publication of FIRs is however exempted in certain cases, which include cases of:
2. Child abuse;
3. Sexual offences &
The registration of FIRs in these categories would continue to be away from the public eye owing to issues of privacy and national interest. The decision not to post the FIRs in such cases would be taken by a police officer not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police or the District Magistrate, either of whom would have to communicate the decision to the jurisdictional magistrate.
PROVISIONS AS PER SECTION 154 OF CRPC
Thus, Sec 154 of Crpc requires the FIR to be recorded verbatim in the very language of the informant, to be read over and explained to the informant and to be signed by him. The section also makes it obligatory that a copy of the FIR is given to the informant. Sec 154(3)talks about the condition when the police officer refuses to record the information. In such a situation, the informant can send the substance of such information, in writing or by post to the superintendent of Police so concerned. After being satisfied, he shall investigate the case himself or direct any police officer subordinate to him to start an investigation.
REGISTRATION OF FIR – MANDATORY OR DISCRETIONARY
The question whether it is obligatory for the police to register FIR on information given by the informant has been answered in the affirmative by the five member bench in LALITA KUMARI V. GOVT. OF U.P. AIR 2014. It has been held that provisions of sec 154(1) are mandatory and the officer concerned is duty bound to register the case. However, if no cognizable offence is made out from the information given, then the FIR need not be registered immediately and the police may conduct a preliminary verification for the same first to ascertain that whether the cognizable offence has been committed or not.