The term ‘First Information Report’ has not been defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Rather the term has not been used except in section 207 which requires the Magistrate to furnish to the accused a copy of the First Information Report recorded under section 154 (1) of the Code. The report first recorded by the police relating to the commission of a cognizable case is the First Information Report giving information on the cognizable crime.
It may be defined as follows:
- It is a piece of information given to the police officer.
- The information must relate to a cognizable offence.
- It is a piece of information reported first in point of time.
- The victim of the cognizable offence or someone on his/her behalf gives information and lodges a complaint with the police.
In the State of Rajasthan v. Shiv Singh, the Rajasthan High Court defined a First Information Report as ‘the statement of the maker of the report at a police station before a police officer recorded in the manner provided by the provisions of the Code.’
OBJECTIVE OF FILING AN FIR
The main objective of filing F.I.R. is to set the criminal law in motion. And also to enable the police officer to start the investigation of the crime committed and collect all the possible pieces of evidence as soon as possible.
The various objects of recording F.I.R. are:
- To inform the District Magistrate and the District Superintendent of Police, who are responsible for the peace and safety of the district, of the offence, reported at the police station.
- To make known to the judiciary and judicial officers before whom the case has to be ultimately tried, about the facts and scenario which came out after the immediate occurrence of the crime.
- To safeguard and protect the accused against subsequent additions or variations.
Essential Conditions of F.I.R.
In Moni Mohan v. Emperor, it was decided that the essential conditions of F.I.R. are:
- It must be a piece of information.
- It must be in writing. If given in writing, should be reduced into writing by the concerned police officer.
- The main act or crime should be cognizable in nature, not the ones subsequent to the main act.
Information in Cognizable Cases [S.154]
Since the information received u/s 154 is termed as FIR, it is important to know the provisions relating to the procedure for recording information in respect of cognizable cases u/s/ 154.
- If the information is given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, it has to be reduced in writing by the concerned police officer. It should be then read over to the informant, and then signed by him. The information thus received has to be recorded in a book authorised by the state government regarding the same.
- A copy of the information recorded is to be given to the informant, free of cost.
- If the officer in charge refuses to record the information, the person may send such information, the aggrieved person may send, the substance of such information to the Superintendent of Police and the Superintendent of Police if satisfied about the commission of the cognizable offence, shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by the subordinate police officer. Such police officer shall exercise all the powers of an officer in charge of the police station in the concerning offence.
When the information is given by a woman against whom any of the offences under sections 326 – A, 326-B, 354, 354-A to 354-D, 376, 376-A to 376-E or 509 IPC is alleged to have been committed or attempted, such statement shall be recorded by a woman police officer or any woman officer.
What Kind of Information is Considered in an F.I.R?
Only information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence can be termed as an FIR. It is not necessary that the information must set out every detail of the case. It need not state the name of the accused also. What is necessary is that it must disclose information regarding the commission of a cognizable offence.
Information received in the following cases is not considered as FIR:
- Information received after commencement of the investigation.
- Telephonic information, unless it has been given by a known person who discloses his identity and the message contains all the necessary facts which constitute an offence and such a message is reduced to writing by S.H.O.
- Information of mere assemblage of some persons.
- Indefinite, Vague and unauthorized information.
Delay in Filing FIR
The object of early filing of F.I.R. to the police as soon as possible, in respect of the commission of the offence is to obtain and receive fresh information regarding the circumstances and facts which tend to result in the commission of the offence. The FIR shall have better corroborative value if it is recorded and taken before the informant’s memory fades and before he starts to forget the facts. Thus, if there is a delay in lodging FIR and the delay is unreasonable and unexplained, it is likely to create scope for suspicion or introduction of a concocted story by the prosecution. It is the duty of the prosecution to explain the delay in lodging FIR. If satisfactorily explained, it does not lose its evidentiary value. However, mere delay in lodging FIR is not fatal to the prosecution case.
In Raghbir Singh v. The State of Haryana, It was held that going to the hospital due to the condition of the victim for saving his life instead of going to the police station first was a reasonable and valid explanation for the delay in filing F.I.R.
Delay in Filing FIR in Case of Rape
In cases of rape and other sexual offences, the case is not only related to the victim but also with the family of the victim. Many times due to shame and honour they do not contact the police immediately. Therefore the courts have consistently ruled that delay in a case of sexual assault cannot be equated with the case involving other offences.
In Harpal Singh v. State of Himachal Pradesh, It was held that ‘delay of 10 days in lodging the first information report stands reasonably explained when the prosecution stated that as the honor of the family was involved, the members needed time to decide whether the matter should be taken to the court or not.
The FIR is the first step of Criminal Procedure that leads to the trial and punishment of a criminal. It is also the most important supportive evidence on which the entire structure of the prosecution case is built-up. As rightly observed in the case of Mohan Lal v. State of Uttar Pradesh, FIR is the Bible of the case initiated on the public report.
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