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“Zero FIR is aimed at preventing/saving the people in need of urgent help from the difficulty of making the rounds of police stations to lodge a complaint.”

“Zero FIR is aimed at preventing/saving the people in need of urgent help from the difficulty of making the rounds of police stations to lodge a complaint.”

ZERO FIR

INTRODUCTION:

The notion of Zero FIR is comparatively new. Zero FIR takes away the concept of jurisdiction to allow for smooth initiation of proceedings. It ensures that justice is neither delayed nor denied. With the introduction of Zero FIR, police officers would have no other choice but to lodge the FIR, irrespective of the fact that weather the particular offence is committed within their jurisdiction or not. Such an FIR is then later transferred to the police station that has the actual jurisdiction so that the investigation can begin with. Zero FIR is set in motion with a view to protect the informant and the victim against technicalities.

WHAT IS ZERO FIR?

• It refers to an FIR that can be lodged in any police station irrespective of the location of incidence or jurisdiction. The FIR is later transferred to the jurisdictional police station. The police can no longer claim that they have no jurisdiction.

• Hon’ble Justice P Sathasivam, speaking on behalf of 5JB in Lalita Kumari v Government of Uttar Pradesh [20 14] held that recording of FIR by the police is mandatory u/s 154 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

• In general, FIR is registered alongside a serial number. But a zero FIR does not bear a serial number. Instead, it assigned the numeral “0”. This is how this FIR received its name.

• Such an FIR is later transferred to the police station that has the actual jurisdiction.

HOW THE CONEPT OF ZERO FIR – CAME INTO LIMELIGHT?

The concept of Zero FIR came up as recommendation in Justice Verma Committee Report that led to the Criminal Amendment Act, 2013. This amendment brought several noteworthy changes in the system. One such concept was that of zero FIR.

The concept was devised after the brutal gang rape of a 23-year old girl in the territory in December 2012 (widely known as Nirbhaya Case, 2012)

OBJECTIVE BEHIND FILLING OF ZERO FIR ?

Certain incidents require immediate action on the part of police. Such as collecting of samples, getting information from eye witnesses, collection of evidences especially in the cases of sexual offences or road incidents etc. It is extremely important to maintain the sanctity of the evidence collected. It has to be protected against manipulation and corruption. Zero FIR becomes beneficial in cases where immediate action is necessary. It allows the police to begin a timely investigation.

The notion of ZERO FIR gains momentum in common man’s life generally in the case of ‘Rape or Other Sexual Offences Related to Women & Children or Road Incidents etc.’ In case of commission of aforementioned offences, immediate action is required on the part of police. Such as collecting of sample, getting information from eye witnesses, collection of evidences.

Moreover, it is extremely important to maintain the sanctity of the evidence collected. As such evidence has to be protected against manipulation and corruption.

“Thus, Zero FIR becomes beneficial in cases where immediate action is necessary. It allows the police to begin a timely investigation.”

Re: Kirti Vashisht vs State & Ors. [2019]

Obiter Dictum observed by Delhi High Court: It is not in dispute that the provision of “Zero FIR” came up as a recommendation in the Justice Verma Committee Report, in the new Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 after the heinous, Nirbhaya Case’ of December, 2012.

The provision says: “A Zero FIR can be filed in any police station by the victim, irrespective of their residence or the place of occurrence of crime.”

HOW TO FILE ZERO FIR?

The procedure to lodge a FIR is given in Section 154 of the CrPC, 1973. In the case of cognizable offence, the officer in charge of the police station does not require the permission of the Magistrate to start investigation. Certain cardinal points:

If the information is given orally, the police must reduce it to writing.

The informant could be the victim, relative of the victim, some eyewitness, bystander or anyone having information regarding the crime.

The informant also has the right to read it, in order to ensure that the details entered is correct

Upon recording the information, it is mandatory that the informant signs the FIR. 

  • A copy of the same should be provided to the informant, free of cost.
  • Details such as name and address of the informant is taken.
  • The date, time and location of incident is also recorded.
  • Details such as name and description of those involved in the incident can also be given
  • In case of female informants, a female officer must be the one recording the details

ACTION AGAINST REFUSAL TO REGISTER!

A police officer who fails to comply with the registration of zero fir may in
addition to departmental action invite prosecution under Section 166-A of IPC, 1860

Section 154(3): If the officer-in-charge of the police station refuses to record the information, then informant can take his case to the Superintendent of Police (SP). SP can either direct the lodging of the FIR or register it himself and initiate the investigation accordingly.

Section 156(3): entails that any Magistrate empowered under Section 190 may order an investigation by a police officer performing its duties under Chapter XII of CrPC

The above-mentioned sections highlight the chronology/series of remedies available to a person. Firstly, filing a complaint before the police official and secondly, in the event of failure of the registration of the complaint by the official, one shall approach the SSP/SP for the said purpose. However, if the complaint is not registered even after that, then the next remedy is to seek help from the Judicial Magistrate.

For this grievance, the remedy lies under Sections 36 and 154(3) before the concerned police officers, and if that is of no avail, under Section 156(3) CrPC. before the Magistrate or by filing a criminal complaint under Section 200 CrPC.

NOTE:

  • In case of Zero FIR the jurisdiction is not disturbed. The police station within whose borders the offense was committed will have sole jurisdiction whereas the police station where zero FIR is filed is responsible only for its filing and its transfer.
  • However in a case where, parts of crime are committed in different areas and all the police stations involved have jurisdiction. They can file the FIR anywhere amongst themselves without worrying about its transfer.

DO NOT FORGET !!
Lodging of false FIR is a punishable offence under Indian Penal Code. Such an informant can be prosecuted under Section 182 IPC and/or under Section 211 IPC by the police. Private person against whom false FIR has been lodged can also file complaint in the court for the offence of defamation.  

Sigma Legal Group

Advocate Drishti Grover

Legal Department

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For any clarifications please write us to at info@sigmalegal.in

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Disclaimer: The contents of the above article are based on the personal interpretation of the prevalent law, which may differ from person to person. The laws stated therein have been derived from various legal documents and sources e.g., Bare Acts, Rules, Regulations etc. The laws stated in Article are subject to amendments and notification made by the legislative authorities or departments. We have tried to compile the best updated information available and every effort has been taken to avoid errors, still we will not be responsible for any consequences of any action taken based solely on this article. Hence, the readers are expected to take expert opinion before placing reliance on this article. All Copyrights, IPR and Proprietary rights owned and reserved by Sigma Legal Group.

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