When the Police Refuse to Register an FIR
Author: Mr. Abhijeet Kasyap, Law College Dehradun.
Editor: Mr. Raj Aryan
What is an 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. It is generally a complaint lodged with the police by the victim of a cognizable offence or by someone on his/her behalf. Anyone can report the commission of a cognizable offence either orally or in writing to the police. Even a telephonic message can be treated as an FIR.
In Tapan Kumar Singh, Supreme Court held that an informant may lodge a report about the commission of an offence though he may not know how the name of the victim. Informant need not be an eyewitness so as to disclose everything in great detail of the offence committed.
A cognizable offence is one in which the police may arrest a person without a warrant. They are authorized to start an investigation into a cognizable case on their own and do not require any orders from the court to do so.
A non-cognizable offence is an offence in which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant. The police cannot investigate such an offence without the court’s permission.
Why is FIR important?
An FIR is a very important document as 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.
Who can lodge an FIR?
Anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence can file an FIR. It is not necessary that only the victim of the crime should file an FIR. A police officer who comes to know about a cognizable offence can file an FIR himself/herself. You can file an FIR if:
- You are the person against whom the offence has been committed
- You know yourself about an offence which has been committed
- You have seen the offence being committed.
The police may not investigate a complaint even if you file an FIR, when:-
(i) The case is not serious in nature
(ii) The police feel that there is not enough ground to investigate. However, the police must record the reasons for not conducting an investigation and in the latter case must also inform you. [Section 157, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973]
What is the procedure of filing an FIR?
The procedure of filing an FIR is prescribed in Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. The Constitution Bench in Lalita Kumari Case held that the Registration of FIR is a mandatory action which needs to be taken under Section 154 of the Code.
- When information about the commission of a cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down.
- It is your right as a person giving information or making a complaint to demand that the information recorded by the police is read over to you.
- Once the information has been recorded by the police, it must be signed by the person giving the information.
- You should sign the report only after verifying that the information recorded by the police is as per the details are given by you.
- People who cannot read or write must put their left thumb impression on the document after being satisfied that it is a correct record.
- Always ask for a copy of the FIR, if the police do not give it to you. It is your right to get it free of cost.
What should you mention in the FIR?
- Your name and address
- Date, time and location of the incident you are reporting
- The true facts of the incident as they occurred
- Names and descriptions of the persons involved in the incident
- Witnesses, if any.
Things you should NOT do
Never file a false complaint or give wrong information to the police. You can be prosecuted under the law for giving wrong information or for misleading the police. —[Section 203, Indian Penal Code 1860]
- Never exaggerate or distort facts
- Never make vague or unclear statements.
What can you do if your FIR is not registered?
You can meet the Superintendent of Police or other higher officers like Deputy Inspector General of Police & Inspector General of Police and bring your complaint to their notice.
- You can send your complaint in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police concerned. If the Superintendent of Police is satisfied with your complaint, he shall either investigate the case himself or order an investigation to be made.
- You can file a private complaint before the court having jurisdiction.
- You can also make a complaint to the State Human Rights Commission or the National Human Rights Commission if the police do nothing to enforce the law or do it in a biased and corrupt manner.
- In Ramdev Food Products Private Limited v. State of Gujarat, a three-Judge Bench while exercising the power under Section 156(3) CrPC held that the direction given under Section 156(3) is to be issued, only after application of mind by the Magistrate. Cases where Magistrate has yet to determine “the existence of sufficient ground to proceed”.
- Supreme Court in Aleque Padamsee And Ors vs Union of India held that when no action is taken by the police even when all information has been given to police. The complaint can under Section 190 read with Section 200 of the Code lay the complaint before the Magistrate of the offence and further, the Magistrate is required to enquire into the complaint ahead.
- In Suresh Chandra Jain v. State of Madhya Pradesh and another Supreme Court held that it is the duty of the office-in-charge of the police station to register the FIR.
*Failure in the lodging of FIR by public servants in certain cases is punishable under section 166A (c) of IPC. For this failure minimum punishment is 6 months rigorous imprisonment and the maximum punishment is 2 yrs. Section 166A was inserted by Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013
Read some Recent Judgement of FIR.