FIR (FIRST INFORMATION REPORT) SECTION-154, CRPC
- Meaning of FIR
- Provisions Dealing with FIR
- Nature of the information / ingredients of FIR
- Objects of FIR
- Duty to register FIR
- Effect of delay in filing of FIR
- Evidentiary value of FIR
In the pre-trial processes of the criminal cases, the FIR ( first information report ) relating to cognizable offence is an important stage. In a cognizable offence, the police is authorized to arrest the wrong-doer or suspicion without arrest warrant.
Example of the cognizable offences; Murder ( Section-302,IPC) , Rape ( Section-376,IPC) , Kidnapping ( Section-363,IPC ) etc.
In such a case the informant approaches the police station and gives the information to the police officer in whose jurisdiction such cognizable offence has taken place. The police officer records such first information with particulars as to time and date in a book called, “General Diary”. The substance of FIR ( first information report ) in required to be incorporated in the general diary immediately as soon as the information is received. The substance of FIR (first information report ) includes not only the name of the informant but also the names of the eye-witnesses, name of the accused, if already known and the particulars of the cognizable offence.
WHAT IS FIR ( FIRST INFORMATION REPORT ) ?
It is a former statement given to and recorded by the police regarding a cognizable offence. It is the earliest report made to the police and is intend to prompt the police into taking action whether particular information would constitute an FIR ( first information report ) depends upon the circumstance of each case.
[su_highlight background=”#f5d600″]To understand the meaning of FIR ( first information report ) , I’ve a case law.
RAJESWAR V. STATE,1992 Cri LJ 661 ( Mad ), if there is an information given first in point of time to a station house officer from an authentic source relating to the commission of a cognizable offence or suggestive of a reasonable suspicion that a cognizable offence has been committed, then the investigation can commence on the registration of a case on such information, and such information, for all practicable purposes be first information.[/su_highlight]
PROVISIONS DEALING WITH FIR (FIRST INFORMATION REPORT) ?
CHAPTER – XII, SECTION-154 OF CRPC lays down the legal provisions regarding FIR (first information report) in cognizable offences.
SECTION-155,CRPC relates to non-cognizable offences
[su_box title=”SECTION-154 INFORMATION IN COGNIZABLE CASES :” box_color=”#ff871e” radius=”1″]Every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, 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 informant; and every such informant, 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 kept by such officer in such form as the state government may prescribed in this behalf.
( Provided that if the information is given by the woman against whom an offence u/s 326A, 326B, 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 345D, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376E or section 509 of the IPC ) is alleged to have been committed or attempted, then such information shall be recorded, by the woman police officer or any woman officer.
A copy of the information as recorded under sub-section(1) shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.
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 offence, 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 power of an officer-in-charge of a police station in relation to that offence.[/su_box]
Related Topic – Plea Bargaining in CrPC – Explained with complete details
NATURE OF THE INFORMATION ?
The FIR (first information report) is that information which is given to the police first in point of time and on the basis of which the investigation (SECTION-2(h),CRPC) commences.
But the question is what information amounts to FIR (first information report) or what not assumes a great importance.
- The information must disclose the commission of a cognizable offence.
- The information may be given by any person who is aware of the commission of cognizable offence, it is not necessary that such information should be given only by the injured person.
- It should not be vague.
- The names of the witnesses and offender are not necessary.
- The statement which is given to the police after the investigation has commenced is not FIR (first information report)
OBJECTS OF FIR (FIRST INFORMATION REPORT) ?
- The registration of FIR (first information report) sets the criminal law into motion.
- It is an information given first in point of time to the police officer before the fading of the memory of the informant and witnesses regarding the happening and non-happening of the associated events.
- An FIR (first information report) initiates a police investigation and can lead to the arrest and prosecution of a criminal offender.
DUTY TO REGISTER FIR (FIRST INFORMATION REPORT)
- DUTY OF THE INFORMANT
According to section-39 of CRPC, “Every person aware of the commission of or the intention of any other person, to commit certain offence punishable under the IPC like offences against the state, offences against public tranquility etc. must given information regarding such offence to the nearest Magistrate or the police officer”
- DUTY OF POLICE
The police officer is also obliged to register the FIR (first information report) in the manner provided under section-154 of CRPC. Generally the police officer is not required to find out whether the information is reliable or not before filing of the FIR (first information report). But however in certain cases the police can conduct a preliminary inquiry to find out as to whether the allegation made have any substance or not. (RAJINDER SINGH KATOCH V. CHANDIGARH ADMINISTRATION 2007 (10) SCC 69)
ALTERNATIVE REMEDY IN CASE OF FIR ?
If the police refuses to register the FIR (first information report) then the informant may by post send the substance of such information in writing to the superintendent of police concerned. If the superintendent of police is satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence (SECTION-2(C), CRPC), he shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by subordinate police officer in the manner provided. (SECTION154(3), CRPC).
[su_box title=”SECTION-154 INFORMATION IN COGNIZABLE CASES :” box_color=”#ff871e” radius=”1″](SAKIRI VASU V. STATE OF U.P 2008 (1) rcr (criminal) 393 (sc) ) In this case the apex court held that if some person has a grievance regarding the non-registration of FIR (first information report) at the police station or where proper investigation is not conducted by the police, then such person can file a writ petition in the high court or a petition under section-482 of the code of criminal procedure,1973. But the court held that the high court should not encourage this practice and should ordinarily refuse to interfere in such matters and relegate the petitioner to his alternative remedy firstly u/s 154(3) and if that is of no avail then by approaching the concerned Magistrate u/s 156(3) of the code of criminal procedure,1973.[/su_box]
[su_box title=”EFFECTS OF DELAY IN LODGING OF FIR” box_color=”#ff871e” radius=”1″]It is the basic rule that the first information report must be given to the police as soon as a cognizable offence occurs. Delay in first information report is an important circumstance and it must be satisfactorily explained and if the delay is not explained, the case becomes doubtful. (G.B PATEL V. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA, 1979 Cri LJ 51: AIR 1979 SC 135)
(KEHAR SINGH V. DELHI ADMINISTRATION AIR 1998SC 1883) the FIR was lodged after 11 days alleging that Kehar singh, Balbir singh and Satwant singh (the security of Smt. Indira Gandhi) assassinated. One of the defence arguments was that there was abnormal delay in lodging the FIR. The prosecution explained the reason for the delay. The Delhi High Court and the Supreme court held that the delay could not be said fatal.
Law has not prescribed any time limit for lodging of FIR. The joint reading of Section-154(1) of CRPC and Section-173(1) of CRPC as well as an analysis of the practice relating to FI, it shall be lodged as promptly as possible. A prompt lodging of FIR is helpful for the police not only for the purpose of starting an investigation at the earliest but also for enabling them to take remedial measures and they can also take steps for the prevention of further offence.
The filing of FIR within a reasonable time not only ensures prompt investigation but also preservation of crime scene before the memory of the witnesses fades or they become uninterested or unavailable or they are won over or before there is a time for fabrication.
(ARBINDER SINGH V. SATTE OF UTTARANCHAL,2006 Cri LJ 1021), In this case, 25 logs of wood were recovered by forest guards from tractor trolley of appellants. Appellant was arrested on spot and brought to forest office and report was lodged. Incident took place at 2 to 3’O clock at night and FIR was lodged at 8:30 p.m next day. Held that forest department being government department, had power to take cognizance or send it to police. Delay in filing FIR was satisfactorily explained as FIR was filed after making such decision.[/su_box]
WHAT IS REASONABLE TIME ?
The FIR should be lodged with a reasonable time. Now what is a reasonable time depends upon the facts and circumstances of the case. But where there is an unreasonable or unexpected delay in filing the FIR, in such case the court can draw adverse inferences. However such unreasonable delay doesn’t make the FIR illegal but its evidentiary value gets adversely affected. (STATE OF H.P V. SHRI KANT 2004 (8) SCC 153), In this case FIR was lodged after 6 months of incident. The Supreme Court held that such delay could not be the grounds for not filing the FIR as such delay is explainable in the case brought forward.
DELAY IN LODGING FIR FOR OUTRAGING MODESTY OF WOMAN PROPERLY EXPLAINED
When for offence outraging the modesty of woman, FIR was lodged on next date. Held that delay in lodging FIR was quite natural in a traditional bound society to avoid embarrassment which was inevitable when the reputation of a woman was concerned. As delay had been properly explained, hence it was not fatal. Only unexplained delay in lodging FIR could be a ground to arouse suspicion. (VIDYADHARAN V. STATE OF KERELA, 2004 Cri LJ 605 SC: AIR 2004 SC 5. 36)
EVIDENTIARY VALUE OF FIR ?
It is settled law on the point that the FIR is not a substantive piece of evidence. However the FIR cannot be given a complete go-by since it can used to corroborate the evidence of the person lodging the same (BALDEO SINGH V. STATE OF PUNJAB, (1990) 4 SCC 692: AIR 1991 SC 31)
THE FIR ENJOYS A HIGHEST EVIDENTIARY VALUE amongst the statements which are made to the police due to the following reasons:
- FIR is the first and fresh version of the case given to the police before there is any time for the fabrication of the case.
- It is the statement which is recorded in the manner provided by section-154 of CRPC read with other police rules, whereas for recording other statements by the police no such procedure has been laid down.
- However FIR cannot be treated as substantive piece of evidence as it is not recorded on oath nor by a judicial officer and no cross-examination is conducted. But if the person making any such statement to the police subsequently appears and gives evidence in the court at the time of trial, his former statement could however be used for corroboration or contradiction under the Indian Evidence Act,1872.
Hence the FIR is not a substantive piece of evidence but it can be used to corroborate the informant u/s 157 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872, or to contradict him under section-145 of the same act, if the informant is called as a witness at the time of the trial.
FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AS THE USES OF FIR, WHICH ARE NON-CONFESSIONAL IN NATURE, FOR EVIDENTIARY PURPOSES :
- For corroboration purposes: It cannot be ignored altogether and can be used to corroborate the statement of the eyewitnesses.
- For contradicting the evidence of person giving the information.
- For proving as an admission against the informer.
- For refreshing informer’s memory.
- For impeaching the credit of an informer.
- For proving informer’s conduct.
- For establishing identity of accused, witnesses and for fixing spot time as relevant facts u/s 9, the Indian Evidence Act,1872.
The FIR is the first version of the incident as received by the police. The statements in the FIR must naturally get their due weight. An FIR is not substantive piece of evidence. The court has to consider other evidence for deciding whether a case should stand or fall. An FIR, being not a substantive evidence, but it can be used as a previous statement for the purposes of either corroborating its maker or for contradicting him.
- KAMLA KANT DUBEY V. STATE OF U.P (2015) 11 SCC 145, it was held that FIR need not contain every single detail and every part of prosecution case.
- DEEPAK V. STATE OF HARYANA (2015) 4 SCC 762, delay in lodging FIR in sexual offence and in particular the offence of rape and that too on a young illiterate girl can occur due to various reasons.
- K MISHRA V. STATE OF UTTARAKHAND AIR 2015 SC 3043, it was held that FIR is not meant to be an encyclopedia nor it is expected to contain all details of the prosecution case. It may be sufficient if broad facts of prosecution case are stated in FIR.
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