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.
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.
A cognizable offence is one in which the police may arrest a person without warrant. They are authorized to start 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.
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.
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 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 case is not serious in nature;
* 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 the complainant. —[Section 157, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973]
The procedure of filing an FIR is prescribed in Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
* 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 police 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 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.
* 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.
* Never file a false complaint or give wrong information to the police. You can be prosecuted under 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.
* You can meet the superintendent of Police or other higher officers like
Deputy Inspector General of 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 does nothing to enforce the law or does it in a biased and corrupt manner.