FIR is First Information Report which is filed before Police with respect to an offence committed and it then sets the criminal law into motion. It is only after the registration of an FIR that Police investigates into an offence.
An FIR is registered under section 156 CrPC which provides that FIR can only be registered for cognizable offences. Cognizable Offences are those for which Police can arrest anyone without any warrant i.e. in the cases of serious offences such as Murder, bride burning, dowry, cruelty to wife, rape, theft, extortion, dacoity, kidnapping etc. In case an offence falls in the category of non-cognizable offences, then on receiving such an information Police officer shall send the information to Local Magistrate for further action.
Section 156 CrPC further provides that on receiving an information about commission of cognizable offence, it shall be the duty of the Police Officer to write it down (also known as registration of FIR) and such writing shall be signed by the complainant i.e. person who is giving such information. Copy of FIR will be provided to complainant Free of Cost.
FIR can be registered by any mode i.e. by personally going to Police Station or by giving the information through telephone or by sending an email. Nowadays, you can also get the FIR registered through online portals i.e. on the website of the concerned Police Department.
In the state of Punjab, Special portal has been made on the website of Punjab Police for registration of FIR involving NRIs:
GUIDELINES OF SUPREME COURT REGARDING MANDATORY REGISTRATION OF FIR
In the year 2014, a landmark judgment was delivered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the case of Lalita Kumari v. State of U.P (2014) 2 SCC 1 in which it was held that registration of First Information Report is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation. If the information received does not disclose a cognizable offence but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted only to ascertain whether cognizable offence is disclosed or not. Also, following guidelines with respect to mandatory registration of FIR were issued:
- Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code, if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation.
- If the information received does not disclose a cognizable offence but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted only to ascertain whether cognizable offence is disclosed or not.
- If the inquiry discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, the FIR must be registered. In cases where preliminary inquiry ends in closing the complaint, a copy of the entry of such closure must be supplied to the first informant forthwith and not later than one week. It must disclose reasons in brief for closing the complaint and not proceeding further.
- The police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering offence if cognizable offence is disclosed. Action must be taken against erring officers who do not register the FIR if information received by him discloses a cognizable offence.
- The scope of preliminary inquiry is not to verify the veracity or otherwise of the information received but only to ascertain whether the information reveals any cognizable offence.
- As to what type and in which cases preliminary inquiry is to be conducted will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. The category of cases in which preliminary inquiry may be made are as under: (a) Matrimonial disputes/ family disputes (b) Commercial offences (c) Medical negligence cases (d) Corruption cases (e) Cases where there is abnormal delay/laches in initiating criminal prosecution, for example, over 3 months delay in reporting the matter without satisfactorily explaining the reasons for delay. The aforesaid are only illustrations and not exhaustive of all conditions which may warrant preliminary inquiry.
- While ensuring and protecting the rights of the accused and the complainant, a preliminary inquiry should be made time bound and in any case it should not exceed 7 days. The fact of such delay and the causes of it must be reflected in the General Diary entry.
- Since the General Diary/Station Diary/Daily Diary is the record of all information received in a police station, we direct that all information relating to cognizable offences, whether resulting in registration of FIR or leading to an inquiry, must be mandatorily and meticulously reflected in the said Diary and the decision to conduct a preliminary inquiry must also be reflected, as mentioned above.
WHAT TO DO POLICE OFFICIAL HAS REFUSED TO REGISTER AN FIR?
- Section 154(3) CrPC also provides that if the concerned police official refuses to register FIR within his territorial jurisdiction then the informant can approach any senior officer of police or the Superintendent of Police or the Commissioner of the police with a written complaint. If, after analysing the complaint, SSP or Commissioner is satisfied that the complaint discloses a cognizable offence, he may investigate the case himself or give directions to his subordinate to register the FIR.
- If Senior Police officials also do not take any action on the complaint then the informant can file a criminal complaint to the Judicial Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrate.
- Lastly, informant / complainant can also approach the High Court praying that a direction be issued to Police Officials to register an FIR and investigate the matter in free, fair and speedy investigation.
- Informant / complainant can also approach National / State Human Rights Commission or National / State Women’s Commission or NRI Commission to file a complaint.
TAKING AN ACTION AGAINST THE POLICE OFFICIAL WHO REFUSED TO REGISTER THE FIR
- Get an FIR registered against faulty Police Official- Under section 166A, if the Public servant concerned fails to record any information given to him then he is punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to two years, and shall also be liable to fine.
- File a contempt petition- Supreme Court of India has clearly directed in the case of Lalita Kumari v. State of U.P (mentioned above) that it is mandatory to register an FIR, if the offence is a cognizable offence, hence if any police official refuses to register an FIR then action can be taken against by sending him a legal notice first and then filing a contempt petition in the Court of Law.
- Suo Moto cognizance- A complaint may be filed before the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court / Chief Justice of India- Supreme Court asking them to take Suo Moto Cognizance of the alleged contempt of the Court while a copy is to be sent to concerned police official. Thereafter, the status of such petition can be inquired through an application under the Right to Information (RTI).
- Departmental Action- A complaint can be sent to the senior officials of such police officials asking them to initiate disciplinary proceedings for misconduct can be initiated against him for dereliction of duty and a suspension order can also be passed against him for interfering with the process of justice and sheltering an accused person.