LAW RELATING TO REGISTRATION OF AN FIR IN INDIA
By : Vijay Kumar Kaushal, Advocate
Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh
- Criminal Procedure Code under Section 154 of Criminal Procedure Code ( in short Cr P C ) contains a provision relating to registration of an FIR. It says, every information relating to commission of a cognizable offence is to be given to the officer in charge of a police station .If the information is given orally, it shall be reduced in writing by him and read over to the informant. It shall be signed by the person giving it. The substance of the information shall be entered in a Book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State government may prescribe, generally this book is called ‘Daily Dairy Report’. Further, a copy of the information shall be forthwith given to the informant on free of cost basis by such officer. If any person is aggrieved by the refusal on the part of the officer of the police station to record such information, he may send the substance of the information in writing and by registered post to the Superintendent of Police of the concerned area, who if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence shall either investigate the case himself or direct investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him and such officer shall have the powers of an Officer-in-charge of the Police Station in relation to that offence.
- In case, the complainant/Informant does not succeed in getting the FIR registered before Officer- in-charge of the Police Station, there is another provision in the Criminal Procedure Code wherein under Section 156 (3) of the code, a Magistrate can give direction to the Officer-in-charge of the Police Station to register an FIR and it is the duty of such Officer-in-charge to register an FIR when investigation under Section 156(3) is directed by the Magistrate. Even if the Magistrate does not explicitly say so to register an FIR and simply marks the complaint to the Officer-in-charge of the concerned Police Station, even then the Officer-in-charge of Police Station is to first register an FIR and then conduct the investigation into the matter ( as per law settled in Mohammad Yousuf Vs. Koteshwara Rao).
- The scope of matter as to whether when a complaint is given to the Officer-in- charge of the Police Station u/s 154 Cr.P.C by the informant, whether such Officer is bound to register an FIR has also been considered in the case of Lalita Kumari Vs. Govt. of UP in detail by the Constitution bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that Registration of an FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code, if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation. ii) If the information received does not disclose a cognizable offence, but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted only to ascertain whether cognizable offence is disclosed or not. (iii) If the inquiry discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, the FIR must be registered. In cases, where preliminary inquiry ends in closing the complaint, a copy of the entry of such closure report must be supplied to the informant forthwith and not later than one week. It must disclose reasons in brief for closing the complaint and not proceeding further. (iv) The Police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering offence if cognizable offence is disclosed. Action must be taken against erring Officers who do not register the FIR if information received by him discloses a cognizable offence. (v) The scope of preliminary inquiry is not to verify the veracity or otherwise of the information received but only to ascertain whether the information reveals any cognizable offence. (vi) 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/latches in initiating criminal prosecution, for example, over 3 months delay in reporting the matter without satisfactorily explaining the reasons for delay. vii) While ensuring and protecting the rights of the accused and the complainant, a preliminary inquiry should be made time bound and in any case it should not exceed 7 days. The fact of such delay and the causes of it must be reflected in the General Diary entry.