**(The article has been prepared for a common man prepared by Sigma Legal Group and vetted by Sr. Public Prosecutor, Criminal Court covering answers to your basic queries)
What is FIR
First Information Report (FIR) is a document prepared by the Police when they receive information about a cognizable offence. In layman language, cognizable offences are offence of serious nature and in which Police has the authority to investigate without order of Magistrate. FIR is a very important document because only after the registration of the FIR, the Police starts investigating the case.
Whether FIR is Mandatory
Registration of FIR is mandatory as provided under Section 154 of the CrPC if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence. In 2013, it was held in Lalita Kumari vs. State of UP (2014) 2 SCC 1 that the registration of FIR is mandatory if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation and laid down various other guidelines. In Suresh Chandra Jain v. State of Madhya Pradesh (Appeal (crl.) 43 of 2001) it was held that it is the duty of the Office-in-charge of the Police Station to lodge the FIR. Further, the complainant has a right to get a free copy of the FIR which is lodged.
Circumstances when Police can refuse to register FIR
In case of Non-Cognizable offence:Crimes are generally segregated into “cognizable” and “non-cognizable” offences. FIR is lodged only for cognizable crimes and for non-cognizable crimes, police will record just a NCR (Non Cognizable Report). A police officer can refuse to register FIR if the case is non-cognizable. A “non-cognizable” offence is an offence, where arrest cannot be made without Warrant and such crimes are generally not of serious nature. Whereas, in “cognizable” crimes, a police officer may arrest without warrant.
Concept of ZERO FIR
Most often, Police Officer refuse to lodge FIR on the ground that it is not under their area (outside the territorial jurisdiction). However, after the introduction of “Zero FIR”, FIR can be lodged in cognizable cases regardless of place of incidence or jurisdiction and will later be transferred to the jurisdictional police station upon conducting preliminary investigation.
What are the remedies available if Police does not register FIR
There are possibilities that the Police Officer may refuse to register FIR and the victim may be deprived of his legal right. The Indian Legal System provides for adequate options that one can exercise in such cases.
- Complaint to the Superintendent of the Police: If concerned In-charge of the Police Station (SHO) refuses to lodge FIR for any cognizable offence, then victim can write a complaint and may send it by post to the Senior Officer of the Police, or the Superintendent of police or the Commissioner of police.
- Complaint to Metropolitan/ Judicial Magistrate: If even after submitting a complaint to the Senior Police officials, no FIR is lodged, then the informant is legally entitled to file a complaint to the Metropolitan/Judicial Magistrate u/s 156(3) seeking direction of the Hon’ble Court to issue direction to the police to register FIR and commence investigation upon the matter.
- Writ Petition: Any person to whom any officer in charge of the police station refuses to file FIR for any cognizable offence within his territorial jurisdiction, can also file a Writ Petition before the Hon’ble High Court seeking for the-
- Issuance of Writ of Mandamus against the defaulting Police Officer.
- The reason why the Police has not registered the FIR
- And ask for damages/compensation, for the frustration and for the deprivation of life and liberty under Article 21 of the Indian constitution.
The Indian Legal system has given enough protection to the victim if they come forward to exercise their legal right.
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