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The basic definition of filing an FIR is given under section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. It is the first step towards initiating a criminal proceeding. It can be defined as a written document, which is prepared by police officials or receipt of information relating to the commission of an offense. In other words, it is basically a report having information regarding the commission of an offense, which is lodged in a police station.
FIRs are filed to inform the police about the commitment of an offense. The basic purpose of an FIR is to initiate criminal proceedings. Investigation proceedings cannot be commenced against any person unless and until an FIR is filed.
An FIR is lodged in the police station under whose jurisdiction the crime occurs. However, in case of urgent cases such as murder, rape etc. The option of filing zero FIR is granted to the complainant. Zero FIR can be filed in a police station outside the jurisdiction to initiate quick action. The FIR later gets transferred to the concerned police station.
Any of the following persons can lodge an FIR:
An FIR can be filed only against cognizable offenses, which do not require an arrest warrant like murder, rape, theft etc. These offenses are serious in nature and that is why the option of arresting with any warrant has been provided to the police officials. Thus it saves a lot of time, which is otherwise required for obtaining a warrant and ensures quick detention of the accused.
It is advised to file an FIR at the earliest possible after the commission of the offense. A delay in filing an FIR has to be adequately supported with reasonable explanations. The detailed procedure for filing an FIR is given in Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.
Filing an FIR requires the complainant to visit the police station in whose jurisdiction the crime occurred. Sometimes, visiting the police station might be inconvenient for the complainant due to a number of reasons. Hence, the option of filing an e-FIR is provided by a majority of the states to facilitate the easy filing of FIR against any offense.
Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure lays down the procedure for filing an FIR in India. Given below is a complete checklist for filing an FIR:
1. Place of filing FIR: The FIR should be filed in the police station under whose jurisdiction the offense is committed. (Except in case of urgent crimes). If the option of filing an e-FIR is available then the same can be exercised.
2. The FIR should be in writing. If given orally, the same should be reduced in writing under the direction of the complainant.
3. Details regarding informant and perpetrators: The name and contact details of the informant, as well as the perpetrator(s) of the crime, is to be mentioned in the FIR. The relation between the perpetrator and the informant should also be provided.
4. Details and narration regarding the offense: The following details have to be provided while narrating the offense:
5. Signing of FIR: The FIR should be duly signed by the informant.
6. Copy of the FIR to be given to the accused: The accused is liable to get a copy of the FIR only on the order of the court and after paying the requisite fee.
Sometimes, the police may refuse to lodge an FIR. The action of refusing to lodge an FIR can be both legal and illegal depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. If the refusal is because of a non-cognizable offense or lack of jurisdiction, then the action of the police will be considered as valid.
However, if there are no sufficient causes for refusal, then the action of the police will be considered invalid.
The following remedies are available to the informant:
An FIR is lodged to enable the police to initiate the investigation regarding an offense. It should not contain the whole story and plot of the offense. It is the duty of the police to identify the story or plot through their investigation an decide the further treatment of the case.
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