Thursday, September 28, 2017

Importance of First Information Report (FIR)

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    What is First Information Report(FIR)?

    First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the 
    police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable 
    offence. It is a report of information that reaches the police first in point 
    of time and that is why it is called the First Information Report.

What is the difference between a complaint and a fir?
A criminal complaint is technically a complaint before a judicial magistrate, in writing, regarding a non cognizable offence for which an FIR can not be written technically. For example, criminal defamation u/s 499 IPC. ... 
An informal information to police is neither FIR, nor a complaint in strict legal sense.
How FIR is filed? What is the procedure for filing an FIR?
FIR is an important document because it sets the process of criminal justice in motion. It is only after the FIR is registered in the police station that the police take up investigation of the case. Anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence, including police officers, can file an FIR.
The procedure of filing an FIR is prescribed in Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. commission of a cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down. information or making a complaint to demand that the information recorded by the police is read over to you.
You can only file a criminal complaint if you are the actual victim of a crime. You must file the complaint within three months of the incident. You can make the complaint against a specific person or persons or against persons unknown. You can withdraw the complaint.

What can be done in case when Police Officer refuses to File an FIR? 

If a crime needs to be reported by you, and the police officer, on an unreasonable ground, refuses to register your FIR then Senior Officer can be approached. If still the FIR is not lodged, then a written complaint can be made to the nearest Judicial Magistrate. Then the Magistrate will order the police to register the FIR. These days there is E-filing of the complaint.

After the complaint has been registered, do not forget to take the receipt of the complaint.
The denial on filing the FIR by the police officer can be due to various reasons, one being – the issue is a pity one or if necessary territorial jurisdiction is not there in that police station. Crimes are classified into two categories as per law – ‘Cognizable’ and ‘Non- Cognizable’ offences. Only the FIR is registered in the cognizable offences whereas in the Non-Cognizable offences the Police is directed by the Magistrate to take the action. 

Crimes coming under the category of Cognizable Offences are Rape, Rioting, Dacoity, Murder etc. wherein the police can arrest without a warrant  

Non- cognizable Offences includes Forgery, Public Nuisance, Cheating, Fraud, etc.  where the police is not allowed to arrest without a warrant.
Remedying the Law – If you are refused by the police officer to file a FIR relating to a cognizable offence within its territorial Jurisdiction Under Sec 154(3), then senior Police officer or Commissioner of Police or Superintendent of Police can be approached with a written complaint. After being satisfied, the subordinate police officer will be directed by the senior officer to register the FIR.
If still the filing of FIR is not done by the police office then, a written complaint can be given to the nearest magistrate or the Metropolitan Magistrate U/s 156(3) (read with section 190 of Code of Criminal Procedure).A Writ Petition can be filed in the respective High Court involving the Criminal matters so that Writ of Mandamus is issued against the police officer and is directed to show cause the intention behind not lodging the FIR. A contempt petition can be filed against the officer in case of Civil matters in the respective High Court. If police officer refuses to file the FIR on Judicial Ground, it results in 1 year of imprisonment of the officer. The petition for this can be submitted to Chief Justice of High Court or Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court of India so that they can take Suo moto action. A copy of the letter is sent to the Police Officer and it can be requested through an application under the RTI.
Providing a Copy of FIR to the Accused
Under Indian criminal law, the informant, as seen earlier, is entitled to get a copy of the first information report lodged by him at the police station free of cost. It is a necessary document in a criminal case and can majorly support the case of the informant or the victim. However, the accused person is also entitled to get a copy of the first information report. Sec. 207 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 entitles the accused to get the copy of the first information report the investigation has been completed by the police in the said case, and the charge sheet has been filed in the Court. The provision states that the Magistrate, in such circumstances, must furnish to the accused a copy of the FIR free of cost.
Difference between an FIR & a Police Complaint
The main point of difference between a first information report and a police complaint is that an FIR relates a cognizable offence whereas a police complaint can be filed for both non-cognizable and cognizable class of offences. Though the basic meaning of both is a complaint but they are different in terms of offences they deal with, punishments, legal consequences, evidentiary value, etc. further, a complaint is to be given to a magistrate either by the way of spoken words or in writing, whereas the first information report is lodged at the police station nearby the place of commission of crime.

What is recorded in the FIR?
The following details are recorded:
• The date and hour of occurrence of offence – (or approximate time and dates)
• Date and hour when reported
• Place of occurrence, its distance from police station
• Name and address of the complainant
• Name and address of the accused
• A brief description of the actual offence
• Details of property stolen in case of theft
• Section of law which applies to the offence
• Signature of the complainant on all pages
What happens after an FIR is recorded?
Immediately after recording the police officer investigates the incident forthwith. He goes to the place of inquiry without delay and collects evidence from the scene which could be material or photos and statement of the witnesses. The investigating officer has to give a report to the magistrate on the FIR within 60 days (if the prescribed punishment for the offence committed under law is less than 7 years) or within 90 days (if the punishment is more than 7 years). Once an FIR is lodged, four copies are made. While the original is dispatched immediately to the magistrate having jurisdiction, one copy is retained by the police station and one copy is sent to the Superintendent of Police and another to the immediate superior officer, usually the Circle Inspector.
Online Filing of FIR:
Some state Governments including Tamil Nadu have introduced a system of Online filing of FIR and to find the status of FIR filed online.