Let us first understand what is the First Information Report?
An information given under sub-section (1) of section 154 CrPC is commonly known as first information report though this term is not used in the Criminal Procedure Code (in short CrPC). It is the earliest and the first information of a cognizable offence recorded by an officer-in-charge of a police station. It sets the criminal law in motion and marks the commencement of the investigation which ends up with the formation of opinion under section 169 or 170 CrPC, as the case may be, and forwarding of a police report under section 173 CrPC. It is quite possible and it happens not infrequently that more information than one are given to a police officer-in-charge of a police station in respect of the same incident involving one or more than one cognizable offences. In such a case he need not enter every one of them in the station house diary and this is implied in section 154 CrPC. Apart from a vague information by a phone call, the information first entered in the station house diary, kept for this purpose, by a police officer-in-charge of a police station is the first information report- FIR postulated by section 154 CrPC. All other information made orally or in writing after the commencement of the investigation into the cognizable offence disclosed from the facts mentioned in the first information report and entered in the station house diary by the police officer or such other cognizable offences as may come to his notice during the investigation, will be statements falling under section 162 CrPC. No such information/statement can properly be treated as an FIR and entered in the station house diary again, as it would in effect be a second FIR and the same cannot be in conformity with the scheme of CrPC.
Take a case where an FIR mentions cognizable offence under section 307 or 326 IPC and the investigating agency learn during the investigation or receive fresh information that the victim died, no fresh FIR under section 302 IPC need be registered which will be irregular; in such a case alteration of the provision of law in the first FIR is the proper course to adopt.
Let us consider a different situation in which H having killed W, his wife, informs the police that she is killed by an unknown person or knowing that W is killed by his mother or sister, H owns up the responsibility and during investigation the truth is detected, it does not require filing of fresh FIR against H – the real offender who can be arraigned in the report under section 173(2) or 173(8) of CrPC, as the case may be.
Purpose and Object.
The purpose of registration of FIR is manifold that is to say
(1) to reduce the substance of information disclosing commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally, into writing.
(2) If given in writing to have it signed by the complainant.
(3) To maintain record of receipt of information as regards commission of cognizable offences.
(4) To initiate investigation on receipt of information as regards commission of cognizable offence.
(5) To inform Magistrate forthwith of the factum of the information received.
The principal object of the FIR from the point of view of the informant is to set the criminal law in motion and from the point of view of the investigating authorities is to obtain information about the alleged criminal activity so as to be able to take suitable steps to trace and bring to book the guilty.
Evidentiary value of FIR.
FIR is not a piece of substantive evidence. It can be used only for limited purposes, like corroborating under section 157 of the Evidence Act or contradicting (cross-examination under section 145 of Evidence Act) the maker thereof, or to show that the implication of the accused was not an after-thought. It can also be used under section 8 and section 11 of the Evidence Act. Obviously, the FIR cannot be used for the purposes of corroborating or contradicting or discrediting any witness other than the one lodging the FIR. It cannot be used for corroborating the statement of a third party. If the FIR is of a confessional nature it cannot be proved against the accused-informant, because according to section 25 of the Evidence Act, no confession made to a police officer can be proved as against a person accused of any offence. But it might become relevant under section 8 of the Evidence Act.
What you will do when police officer refuse to register FIR?
The police cannot refuse to register the case on the ground that it is either not reliable or credible (Smt. Gurmito vs. State of Punjab And Ors 1996 CriLJ 1254 P&H). Further, refusal to record FIR on the ground that the place of crime does not fall within the territorial jurisdiction of the police station, amount to dereliction of duty. Information about cognizable offence would have to be recorded and forwarded to the police station having jurisdiction (State of Andhra Pradesh vs. Punati Ramulu And Others, AIR 1993 SC 2644).
When a police officer-in-charge of a police station or any other police officer, acting under the directions of the officer-in-charge of police station refuses to register information, any person aggrieved by such refusal may send in writing and by post, the substance of such information disclosing a cognizable offence, to the Superintendent of Police under section 154(3) or to the Magistrate concerned under section 156(3) of the CrPC. It is the duty of the officer-in-charge of the police station to register an FIR when investigation under section 156(3) of CrPC is directed by the Magistrate, even when the Magistrate explicitly does not say so (Mohd. Yoysuf vs. Afaq Jahan, (2006), SCC 627).
Latest Case Law
Whether a police officer is bound to register a First Information Report (FIR) upon receiving any information relating to commission of a cognizable offence under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or the police officer has the power to conduct a 'preliminary inquiry' in order to test the veracity of such information before registering the same?
The Supreme Court of India, in Lalita Kumari vs. Govt. of UP on 12 November, 2013 held that 'the police must compulsorily register the FIR on receiving a complaint if the information discloses a cognizable offence, and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation'.
If the information does not disclose a cognizable offence but indicates the necessity for an inquiry 'a preliminary inquiry may be conducted only to ascertain whether a cognizable offence is disclosed or not'. In cases where preliminary inquiry ends in closing the complaint a copy of the entry of such closure must be supplied to the first informant forthwith and not later than one week. It must disclose reasons in brief for closing the complaint and not proceeding further.
As to what type and in which cases preliminary inquiry is to be conducted will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. The category of cases in which preliminary inquiry may be made are as under:
(a) Matrimonial disputes/family disputes;
(b) Commercial Offences;
(c) Medical negligence cases;
(d) Corruption Cases;
(e) Cases where there is abnormal delay/laches in initiating criminal prosecution, for example, over 3 months delay in reporting the matter without satisfactorily explaining the reasons for delay.
The aforesaid are only illustrations and not exhaustive of all conditions which may warrant preliminary inquiry. A preliminary inquiry should be made time bound, and in any case it should not exceed seven days.
Punishment for giving false information.
Punishment for giving false information to the police is dealt with by sections 182, 203 & 211 of IPC. Even if such information is not reduced to writing under Section 154(1) of CrPC, the person giving the false information may nevertheless be punished for preferring a false charge under section 211 of IPC. A police officer refusing to enter in the diary a report made to him about the commission of an offence, and instead making an entry totally different from the information given, would be guilty under Sections 166A and 177 of IPC.
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