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F. I. R. - First Information Report

F. I. R. - First Information Report

FIR stands for First Information Report, i.e. First Information received by a Police officer in respect of the commission of an cognizable offence. This first information alleging the commission of cognizable offence need not necessarily be given by a victim or an eye-witness, and in cases it may even be furnished by the person who has committed the crime and has thereafter informed the Police about the crime. The purpose of an FIR is only to set the criminal law in motion.

What is meant by “Cognizable offence”, is defined under CrPC, 1973, and it means a “case” in which the Police officer may arrest the person suspected of the commission of the alleged offence, without warrant.

Registration or the non-registration of FIR is a big business in India. It is notoriously of everybody’s knowledge that the Police register FIR of those cases which it wants to register; and the Police does not register FIR of those cases which “it does not want to register”, despite there being repeated affirmation and reiteration of High Court and Apex Court rulings, that Police must register FIR, where the complaint discloses “cognizable offence”. At the same time, F.I.R. is the most common and easy device to “fix” an innocent person, for variety of reasons. Therefore, it may be essential to know its dynamics and attributes.

The Information stands for information in respect of commission of an offence, and information does not mean mere allegation.

In this write up, I have not concerned myself to the issue of “Non-Registration of FIR; and rather I am concerning myself to the issue of Registration of FIR, i.e. to say “what is meant by “where complaint discloses commission of a cognizable offence”. In this write up I am trying to apprise myself, what is the exact mandate of S.154 in respect of the registration of FIR.

The mandate of section 154

Section 154 of CrPC, inter alia, mandates that 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 information, 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 be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf:

Therefore, for the registration of FIR, the complaint / information furnished to the Police must relate to the “commission” of a cognizable offence.

Therefore, FIR, as far as possible, must aptly spell out the bundle of “incriminating acts and omissions” attributed towards the person concerned, wherein the said acts and omissions would constitute a particular offence, except in cases where the FIR is registered by a person other than the victim or eye witness.

I would go on to say that, generally, it is not the province of the complainant to say that Mr. X has committed “theft or robbery”. The province of the Complainant is to assert and attribute specific “acts and omissions” of Mr. X, which may constitute the act of “theft / robbery” etc.; and it is the province of the Police machinery to examine the acts and omissions alleged, and after having due regard to the ingredients of the offence, to invoke appropriate section of “theft” or “robbery”, as the case may be.
In the case of Geeta Mehrotra Versus State of Uttar Pradesh (AIR 2013 SC 181), the Apex Court observed to say that –
Para 24 However, we deem it appropriate to add by way of caution that we may not be misunderstood so as to infer that even if there are allegation of overt act indicating the complicity of the members of the family named in the FIR in a given case, cognizance would be unjustified but what we wish to emphasize by highlighting is that, if the FIR as it stands does not disclose specific allegation against accused more so against the co-accused specially in a matter arising out of matrimonial bickering, it would be clear abuse of the legal and judicial process to mechanically send the named accused in the FIR to undergo the trial unless of course the FIR discloses specific allegations which would persuade the court to take cognizance of the offence alleged against the relatives of the main accused who are prima facie not found to have indulged in physical and mental torture of the complainant-wife.
It is the well settled principle laid down in cases too numerous to mention, that if the FIR did not disclose the commission of an offence, the court would be justified in quashing the proceedings preventing the abuse of the process of law. Simultaneously, the courts are expected to adopt a cautious approach in matters of quashing specially in cases of matrimonial dispute whether the FIR in fact discloses commission of an offence by the relatives of the principal accused or the FIR prima facie discloses a case of over-implication by involving the entire family of the accused at the instance of the complainant, who is out to settle her scores arising out of the teething problem or skirmish of domestic bickering while settling down in her new matrimonial surrounding.
Para 27 We, therefore, deem it just and legally appropriate to quash the proceedings initiated against the appellants Geeta Mehrotra and Ramji Mehrotra as the FIR does not disclose any material which could be held to be constituting any offence against these two appellants. Merely by making a general allegation that they were also involved in physical and mental torture of the complainant-respondent No.2 without mentioning even a single incident against them as also the fact as to how they could be motivated to demand dowry when they are only related as brother and sister of the complainant's husband, we are pleased to quash and set aside the criminal proceedings in so far as these appellants are concerned and consequently the order passed by the High Court shall stand overruled. The appeal accordingly is allowed.

The solution

Not for a moment, it can be argued that FIR may not be registered, but it is argued that, now it is a high time that “Law officers” now should be appointed in every Police station, who will appreciate and examine the “first information” supplied; and after due examination of the “nature of acts and omissions attributed towards a person” and after having due regard to the “the ingredients of the offence set out in the Penal code”, appropriate sections of the penal code may be invoked, against a person in the FIR.

If the information furnished attributes “acts and omissions” constituting / satisfying any of the ingredients of any cognizable offence, then only, the FIR should be registered, in respect of the concerned penal section. And, in my view, this is also the mandate of section 154.

Ordinarily, FIR cannot be quashed on the premise that it is lacking in necessary ingredients of offence, for, it is only a preliminary information which is furnished, and full-fledged inquiry is yet to be carried out, except in cases where the acts attributed in the FIR does not constitute any offence.
The bottom line is: For a lawful FIR to be registered in respect of any particular cognizable offence, the acts and omissions attributed towards any person, must correspond with the ingredients of the offence, charged with.



Name of the Police Station,

Complaint against:

Subject: Please Register FIR or NC as facts of the case indicate

Respected Police Officer,

With this letter I request you to register my complaint either in the form of FIR or NC as my incident suggests, having regard to laws of the land.
(Write down the whole incident which led to the filing of this complaint.) 



(I)  “In BOMBAY(Criminal) 08/10/2008 (J-R) APPW/271/2007, a full bench judgment of the Bombay High Court had laid down that cops should register the FIR against the accused person within two days of being informed of commission of any cognizable offence.” The comprehensive judgment, among other things, says that, the law inescapably requires the police officer to register the information received by him in relation to commission of a cognizable offence. Under the scheme of the CrPC, no choice is vested in the police officer between recording or not recording the information received. This Judgment of Bombay High Court or Judgments of any High Court can be used in any Court in India.

(II)  In Writ Petition (CRL) no 68 of 2008 (Latika Kumar vs. Govt of UP & Others). On 14th July 2008 , Justice BN Agarwal and Justice GS Singhvi " directed, “We feel that it is high time to give directions to Governments of all the States and Union Territories besides their Director Generals of Police/Commissioners of Police as the case may be to the effect that if steps are not taken for registration of F.I.Rs immediately and copies thereof are not made over to the complainants, they may move the concerned Magistrates by filing complaint petitions to give direction to the police to register case immediately upon receipt/production of copy of the orders and make over copy of the F.I.Rs to the complainants, within twenty four hours of receipt/production of copy of such orders. It may further give direction to take immediate steps for apprehending the accused persons and recovery of kidnapped/abducted persons and properties which were subject matter of theft or dacoity. In case F.I.Rs are not registered within the aforementioned time, and/or aforementioned steps are not taken by the police, the concerned Magistrate would be justified in initiating contempt proceeding against such delinquent officers and punish them for violation of its orders if no sufficient cause is shown and awarding stringent punishment like sentence of imprisonment against them inasmuch as the Disciplinary Authority would be quite justified in initiating departmental proceeding and suspending them in contemplation of the same.”

The police officer must be able to justify the arrest apart from his power to do so. Arrest and detention in police lock-up of a person can cause incalculable harm to the reputation and self-esteem of a person. No arrest can be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of commission of an offence made against a person.
It would be prudent for a police officer in the interest of protection of the constitutional rights of a citizen and perhaps in his own interest that no arrest should be made without a reasonable satisfaction reached after some investigation as to the genuineness and bona fides of a complaint and a reasonable belief both as to the person’s complicity and even so as to the need to effect arrest.
Thanking you,

(III)  The officer concerned is duty bound to register the case on the basis of information disclosing cognizable offence. Ramesh Kumari versus State (NCT of Delhi) (2006) 1 SCC (Cri) 678 at pg 682.

(IV)  What is of significance is that the information given must disclose the commission of an cognizable offence and the information so lodged must provide a basis for the police officer to suspect the commission of an cognizable offence, and that the Police officer must be convinced or satisfied that a cognizable offence has been committed. If he has reasons to suspect, on the basis of info received, that a cognizable offence may have been committed, he is bound to record the information and conduct an investigation. CBI versus Tapan Kumar Singh (2003) 6 SCC 175 at page 183-184.

(V)  In section 154(1) the word information does not qualify with the word reasonable or credible. State of Haryana versus Bhajan Lal 1992 SCC  (Cr) 426. In this case the HC had quashed the FIR. The SC set aside the HC order and held as follows – At the stage of registration of a crime or a case on the basis of the information disclosing a cognizable offence, the Police officer concerned cannot embark upon an enquiry as to whether the information laid by the informant is reliable and genuine or otherwise refuse to register a case on the ground that the information is not reliable or credible. Reasonableness or credibility of the said information in not a condition precedent for registration of a case. Also – Gurmito versus State of Punjab 1996 CrLJ 1254 at page 1258 (P & H); Ranbir Yadav versus State of Bihar 1995 CrLJ 2665 at page 2678 (SC).

(VI)  Police officer has no option but to register the case if the information discloses the commission of an cognizable offence.Lallan Choudhary versus State of Bihar (2007) 1 SCC (Cr) at page 686.

(VII)  Even when the information is against the Police officials, including the Sub-inspector’s own higher officials, it is the duty of the officer in charge of the police station to register the case. A Nallasivan versus State of Tamilnadu 1995 CrLJ 2754 at page 2760 (Mad)


If it is an cognizable offence, the officer in charge of the police station to whom information about the offence is given, has a statutory duty to reduce it to writing and get the signature of the informant. The Officer in charge has no escape from doing so whether or not such offence was committed within the limits of that police station. The officer in charge can transmit the FIR to the police station having such territorial jurisdiction. Navinchandra N Majithia versus State of Meghalaya 2000 SCC (Cri) 1510 at page 1513-14.


Article 350 OF CONSTITUTION OF INDIA – Every person shall be entitled to submit a representation for the redress of any grievance to any officer or authority of the Union or a State in any of the languages used in the Union or in the State, as the case may be.


(I)  A telephonic message can also be a FIR provided it discloses the particulars required by section 154 of CrPC about the commission of a cognizable offence. S G Gundegowda versus State 1996 CrLJ 852 at page 861 (Kant)

(II)  FIR in the form of Letter Complaint – T T Anthony versus State of Kerala, AIR 2001 SC 2637 – if a detailed complaint is made to the Police in writing, narrating facts constituting cognizable offence, such a letter should be taken by Police as the FIR.


The  Hon'ble  Supreme  Court  has  extensively  dealt  with  the  issue  which  involves  both  Civil  and  Criminal  remedies.  In  M/s.  Indian  Oil  Corporation  v.  M/s.NEPC  India  Ltd.  and  Ors.,  2006  (6)  Supreme  66  :  AIR  2006  SC  2780,  in  which  the  Apex  Court  has  formulated  various  guidelines,  after  referring  to  its  earlier  decision.

"A  given  set  of  facts  may  make  out:  (a)  purely  a  civil  wrong;  or  (b)  purely  a  criminal  offence;  or  (c)  a  civil  wrong  as  also  a  criminal  offence.  A  commercial  transaction  or  a  contractual  dispute,  apart  from  furnishing  a  cause  of  action  for  seeking  remedy  in  civil  law,  may  also  involve  a  criminal  offence. 

As  the  nature  and  scope  of  a  civil  proceeding  are  different  from  a  criminal  proceeding,  the  mere  fact  that  the  complaint  relates  to  a  commercial  transaction  or  breach  of  contract,  for  which  a  civil  remedy  is  available  or  has  been  availed,  is  not  by  itself  a  ground  to  quash  the  criminal  proceedings.  The  test  is  whether  the  allegations  in  the  complaint  disclose  a  criminal  offence  or  not." 


(I)  The complainant has come to know where if Police do not register FIR then he may commits offence under section 217 or if he incorrectly frame FIR/NC, it is an offence u/s 218 of IPC.

SECTION 217 OF INDIAN PENAL CODE declares that when a Public Servant, in the discharge of his official duty, acting contrary to law, knowingly conduct himself in such a manner, thereby knowing that his act will-- (a) save a person from any legal punishment or to secure lesser punishment for that person to which he is liable for; (b) save a property from forfeiture or charge to which that property is liable to, commits offence under this section.

SECTION 218 OF INDIAN PENAL CODE declares that when a Public Servant, in the discharge of his official duty, who has been charged with the duty of preparation of any Record or any Writing, knowingly prepares incorrectly such record or writing, with the knowledge that by preparing such incorrect Record or Writing he will cause (a) loss or injury to Public or to any person (b) save a person from any legal punishment or to secure lesser punishment for that person to which he is liable for; (c) save a property from forfeiture or charge to which that property is liable to, commits offence under this section.

(II) The modern legal system provides that as soon as an offence is committed, the Criminal Law is set into motion, irrespective of the wishes of the injured party. Police Willful disregard in discharge of his duties may constitutes a Criminal Contempt Of Court: The process of administration of justice begins with the committing of an offence by a person, well before any FIR is filed OR case is registered in the court.

(III)  Contempt proceedings may be initiated if Police refuses to register FIR. In the case of Lalitha Kumari versus Govt of UP (2008) 3 SCC (Cri) 17 at page 19- that if steps are not taken for registration of FIR immediately and copies thereof are not made available to the complainants, they may move the magistrate concerned by filing complaint petition to give direction to the police to register the case immediately, failing which the Magistrate concerned may initiate contempt proceedings against the delinquent police officer.


(I)  A copy of Every FIR so registered by Police must be sent to respective Judicial/ Metropolitan Magistrate within 24 hours so that it cannot be tempered with.

(II)  After the registration of FIR, the Police conduct an investigation under chapter XII of the code. The police are empowered to perform several acts including to take statements of witnesses u/s 161 of the code; to conduct searches and seizures u/s 100, 165 and 102 of the code; to call for the production of documents and other things u/s 91 of the code; require the attendance of witnesses u/s 160 of the code.

(III) In case the Police intends to arrest the Person named in the allegedly false FIR, then they should scrupulously / strictly follow the due process of law as contained under sections 157(1), 41(1)(b)(i)(ii), 41(2) r/w section 60-A of CrPC, 1973;

(IV)  In Joginder Kumar Vs State Of UP – 1994, the Hon’ble SC has held that - “No arrest can be made because it is lawful for the police officer to do so. The existence of the power to arrest is one thing. The justification for the exercise of it is quite another.


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