FIR or First Information Report is the very first step to begin any investigation to fight against injustice. But, filing an FIR has always been a matter of apprehension because people are reluctant to lodge any complaint. However, this fear or concern is now being eased using technology. This article will discuss what FIR is, who can file it, and how to lodge an FIR.
What is an FIR?
First Information Report (FIR) means information of commission of a cognizable or non-cognizable offence given to the police officer. The complainant or the informant provides this information. The FIR can be orally or written.
When information is given orally by the complainant, it has to be reduced in writing. Once written, it has to be read over and signed by the informant or complainant.
A copy of an FIR has to be given to the informant free of cost.
In a Cognizable offence, once the FIR is lodged, the police officer can investigate the case before Magistrate’s order.
However, in a non-cognizable offence, the police officer may produce the informant to the Magistrate and in the direction of the concerned Magistrate start the investigation of the complaint.
Who can lodge an FIR?
FIR can be lodged by the victim against whom the wrong is done. However, it is not mandatory. Any person who knows about the details of the offence can also lodge an FIR on behalf of the victim. For example, a police officer can file an FIR when he is acquainted with any cognizable offence.
How do you write an FIR against someone?
Writing an FIR plays a very crucial role in framing charges against the accused. Therefore, an FIR should be written in detail describing each and everything about the occurrence of the offence like;
- who committed the offence,
- how many people were involved in the commission of an offence,
- place where the offence occurred,
- what was the motive behind the commission of the offence,
- how was the offence committed,
- were there any witnesses present,
- whether anything was taken away or any traces were left behind,
- what weapon was used to commit the offence,
- whether any injury had taken place.
An FIR should be written in simple language that is easy to understand by the complainant and avoid unnecessary details. The complainant should sign the FIR, and if the complainant is illiterate, then his thumb impression should be taken.
How does e-FIR work?
An e-FIR can be filed for cognizable offences such as Dowry death, Murder, Rape, etc., wherein the police have the power to arrest the accused without any warrant. However, filing e-FIR differs from state to state.
Some states like Mumbai have an online complaint register mechanism where only non-cognizable offences like minor crimes can be registered, and it does not allow the filing of a cognizable offence online.
Whereas some states like Delhi, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, you can lodge an FIR for a cognizable offence.
Once the FIR has been filed you can also check the status of the complaint.
What is the procedure to file an FIR online?
To file an e-FIR, you need to follow the given steps:
- Log in to the website of the respective state where the action has taken place.
- Select the complaint option provided on the website.
- Fill in all the correct and accurate details about the complaint, commission of the offense and the suspect’s information
- Fill up your accurate details as required
- Lastly, click Submit to submit your complaint.
Whenever you want to retrieve or check the status of the FIR, you can re-login to the website and check it.
What happens if someone files an FIR against you?
If someone files an FIR against you (For, e.g. Under Section 498A of IPC – Cruelty against the Husband by his wife or her relatives) and you believe it to be false. You should take the following actions immediately:
- file for a copy of FIR under section 157 of Cr.P.C. for a preliminary inquiry.
- Apply for anticipatory bail under Section 438, Cr.P.C.
- File a writ petition under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution to quash the FIR under Section 482 of Cr.P.C.
- File a defamation case, damage recovery case
- File a case for submitting the false document (Section 156), Cheating (under section 420), Criminal Conspiracy (under Section 120B).
What is a private complaint?
When a complainant directly files a complaint in court, it is called a private complaint. The Magistrate has the power to take cognizance of such complaint under Section 190(1)(a) of the Cr.P.C. upon receiving such private complaint. The motive of filing a complaint is to seek the attention of the competent authority, fight for justice and punish the offender.
The time limit for filing an FIR
It is advisable to file an FIR as soon as possible once the offence is committed. However, there is no particular time limit for filing an FIR.
What information is required in an e-FIR?
To file an e-FIR, you need to give the following personal information:
- Complainants’ name
- Parent’s name of the complainant
- Detailed address of the complainant
- complainant’s current mobile number
- complainant’s email id (as the copy of e-FIR is sent via email)
Sample format of FIR
Here is the sample format of FIR
From (Applicant’s detail),
Name of Father/ Husband,
(Contact mobile number/Phone number)
E-mail id. (If any)
The Police Officer In-charge
Local Police station name
Subject: ( e.g. theft)
This is with regard to the crime that has occurred at my house and I would like to bring the following facts to your kind notice (give details about time of occurrence, number of people involved, number of things robbed, whether any injury has been caused, etc.): …………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………..
I request you to kindly register my FIR and help me with the subject matter.
For your ready reference, I attach herewith
Copy of ID proof [Complainant/Informant].
I hope you will do the needful at the earliest.
Thanks, and regards
____________ (Name and Signature of Complainant/Informant)
What can you do if the police officer refuses to lodge your complaint?
Suppose any police officer refuses to record the information. In that case, the complainant can complain to the Superintendent of Police or Deputy Inspector General of Police.
The Superintendent of Police would then look into the matter. If it is satisfied, direct an investigation of the matter to the police officer or investigate the matter himself.
However, you can also file a complaint before the court of jurisdiction.
A complaint before the Human Rights Commission or the National Human Rights Commission can also be made if the police officer does not take any action.
Difference between FIR and Complaint
FIR and complaint can be understood with the help of the difference given below:
|FIR is information of commission of the cognizable offence to the police officer.||A private complaint is a complaint before a Magistrate about the commission of a cognizable offence.|
|FIR can be lodged by the person against whom the crime is committed or any person on his behalf or any person in the presence of whom an offence has been committed.||A private complaint can be made by the aggrieved person or someone on his behalf.|
|FIR covers cognizable offences and in certain circumstances, non-cognizable offences.||Complaints can be for both cognizable and non-cognizable offences.|
|A police officer can investigate the information without the order of the Magistrate in case of a cognizable offence.||When a complaint is filed the police officer can investigate the case only after the order of the Magistrate.|
|For filing an FIR, there is a prescribed format provided by law to be followed,||There is no prescribed format in case of a private complaint.|
States using e-FIR
The following states use an online portal to register the complaint.
Online Police Complaint/FIR Portal
FIR is the information about the commission of the offence by the person against whom an offence is committed or any other person on his behalf or by any person who witnessed the crime. The advancement of technology has made the filing of FIR easier through an online portal. Filing an FIR online can be done for both cognizable and non-cognizable offences. In Mumbai, only non-cognizable offences can be reported online. In comparison, other states that use e-FIR services allow filing a cognizable offence also. FIR should be written in detail with accurate information about the complainant, suspect, and the crime committed.