Thursday, 20 October 2011

Law on FIR in India

Facts you must know about FIR before you enter a police station.

By Sumit Nagpal

For a journo covering Judiciary, its a very very common thing that people approach you saying the police is not lodging their FIR. I have come across numerous cases, where people are ill treated by the police stations and FIRs are refused. And since last three days, there is a campaign on Twitter about the mysterious death of one Naina Singh of Ghaziabad. Her mother is crying foul over her death and the police is not ready to lodge FIR. This prompts me to write a blog on things you must know before entering a police station in such a case.

What is FIR?
FIR stands for first information report. It is a document providing the basic information that a cognizable offense has been committed. We must know that FIR is not a conclusive proof that a person has committed an offense. FIR is the starting point of the investigation in a particular offense.

What is the law on FIR?
FIR is governed by Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
According to Section 154, (1) Every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offense, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be read over to the informants and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf. (2) A copy of the information as recorded under sub-section (1) shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant. (3) Any person, aggrieved by a refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to record the information referred to in sub-section (1) may send the substance of such information, in writing and by post, to the Superintendent of Police concerned who, if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offense, shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer Subordinate to him, in the manner provided by this Code, and such officer shall have all the powers of an officer in charge of the police station in relation to that offence.

Is a police officer duty bound to lodge FIR in every case?
The police officer is duty bound to lodge FIR in every cognizable case. And if a police officer gets a complaint from an aggrieved person about the cognizable offense, he must lodge a FIR. And if a police officer refuses to do so, one must approach the SP of the concerned area that a police officer has refused to lodge FIR.

What does it mean if the police officer takes your complaint and gives you an acknowledgement? Does it mean FIR has been lodged?

No, it doesn't mean that the FIR has been lodged. It just means that the police officer has received a complaint and the police will see if a cognizable offense has been committed or not?

How will you get to know that your FIR has been lodged or not?
If a FIR has been lodged, the police officer concerned shall write in their prescribed performa in a form or in computer as the case may be. They will also write the relevant sections and the name of the accused persons if any of them are known to the complainant. The FIR shall also contain a reference number containing the year also.

Can your complaint be FIR?
Yes! Your complaint can also be FIR provided they have written down the contents of your complaint in their prescribed performa. Please remember that mere acknowledgment of receiving your complaint doesn't automatically converts it into FIR.

Is it your right to get a copy of FIR?
Yes! Its your right to get a copy of your FIR free of cost from the police

Should FIR be lodged ASAP? What will happen if there is a delay in filing FIR?
Yes, FIR must be lodged as soon as possible. If there is a delay in filing the FIR, it will help the accused because the accused shall get time to destroy the evidence, there shall be a problem in locating the witnesses and during the trial, the defense lawyer will make an allegation that FIR is an after thought.

Why they refuse to file FIR?
There are few reasons the police refuses to lodge FIR like the offense is not a cognizable offense. Sometimes they want to keep the crime graph low so if they don't lodge FIR, it will not show in the crime statistics in the area. Many a times, a party bribes police officers and that's why they refuse to lodge FIR. In most of mobile theft cases, it is a common practice that police does not register a FIR but registers a NCR so the graph of theft remains low.

What should you do if the police officer refuses to lodge a FIR?
If the police refuses to lodge FIR, don't think that this is the end of the road. The Criminal Procedure Code has a provision under section 156(3) where an aggrieved person may file a petition before the magistrate asking for a direction to the police to lodge a FIR.

(Note : This is part I of Law on FIR. In next blog I will tell you the difference between FIR, NCR and complaint. I will also write what is a cognizable offense and what is non cognizable one.)


  1. very informative sir. Looking fwd to next blogs.

  2. Impressed.I doubt if many people were aware of this.I wasnt

  3. we have lodge the complaint regarding our bike which has been stolen, FIR is also done. still we have not heard anything from the police. after so many followups also polices are not responding properly.

    what i can do now. plzzzzz suggest me..