What are the categories of Criminal offences ?
Criminal offences are classified into two categories depending on the degree of seriousness / cognizance i.e. cognizable and non-cognizable offence.
What is Cognizable Offence for filing First Information Report (FIR) ?
A cognizable offence is one in which the police may arrest a person without warrant. They are authorised to start investigation into a cognizable case on their own and do not require any orders from the court to do so.
Examples of an offence to be classified as cognizable is if it is of a serious nature, e.g. murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, etc.
What is Non-cognizable Offence ?
Non-cognizable Offence A non-cognizable offence is an offence in which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant. The police cannot investigate such an offence without the court’s permission.
e.g. defamation, intimidation etc.
What is First Information Report (FIR) ?
First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is a report of information that reaches the police first in point of time and that is why it is called the First Information Report. It is generally a complaint lodged with the police by the victim of a cognizable offence or by someone on his/her behalf. Anyone can report the commission of a cognizable offence either orally or in writing to the police. Even a telephonic message can be treated as an FIR.
An FIR is filed only in cases of cognizable offences. Non cognizable offences may also be reported to police but the police will not file an FIR for these offences. Instead, they will register the complaint in the Daily Diary Report (DDR).
Whether an offence is cognizable or not can be found out from the 1st Schedule of Code of Criminal Procedure. As per the schedule, theft is a cognizable offence without any qualification.
Why is First Information Report (FIR) important?
An FIR is a very important document as it sets the process of criminal justice in motion. It is only after the FIR is registered in the police station that the police takes up investigation of the case.
Who can lodge First Information Report (FIR) ?
Anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence can file an FIR. It is not necessary that only the victim of the crime should file an FIR. A police officer who comes to know about a cognizable offence can file an FIR himself/herself. You can file an FIR if:
* You are the person against whom the offence has been committed;
* You know yourself about an offence which has been committed;
* You have seen the offence being committed.
Is it necessary for the police to act on the basis of First Information Report (FIR)
The police may not investigate a complaint even if you file a FIR, when:
(i) The case is not serious in nature;
(ii) The police feel that there is not enough ground to investigate.
However, the police must record the reasons for not conducting an investigation and in the latter case must also inform you. —[Section 157, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973]
What is the procedure of filing an First Information Report (FIR)?
Go to the police station closest to the area where the crime has occurred and ask for the person-in-charge of the police station. After finished narrating the events surrounding the crime, if the person in- charge of the police station (not lower than the rank of head constable) is satisfied that the crime which took place is a cognizable offence and it is his duty to register the FIR.
Generally four copies of an FIR are made, one copy each is sent to the Magistrate, second to the Superintendent of police and the third will be handed over to the person reporting. The original is retained, for record, in the police station.
The procedure of filing an FIR is prescribed in Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.
* When information about the commission of a cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down.
* It is your right as a person giving information or making a complaint to demand that the information recorded by the police is read over to you.
* Once the information has been recorded by the police, it must be signed by the person giving the information.
* You should sign the report only after verifying that the information recorded by the police is as per the details given by you.
* People who cannot read or write must put their left thumb impression on the document after being satisfied that it is a correct record.
* Always ask for a copy of the FIR, if the police do not give it to you. It is your right to get it free of cost.
What should you mention in the First Information Report (FIR)?
* Your name and address;
* Date, time and location of the incident you are reporting;
* The true facts of the incident as they occurred;
* Names and descriptions of the persons involved in the incident;
* Witnesses, if any
Can I file First Information Report (FIR) over Mobile phone ?
What are the things to be taken care of while filing First Information Report (FIR)
- Never file a false complaint or give wrong information to the police. You can be prosecuted under law for giving wrong information or for misleading the police. —[Section 203, Indian Penal Code 1860] * Never exaggerate or distort facts.
- Never make vague or unclear statements.
- An FIR is recorded in first person, e.g. I was present on the scene of crime, I saw him taking out his gun.
- The FIR should be registered immediately after the happening of crime. If there is any delay in registering an FIR, the reasons for the delay must be explained. Try to give a detailed description of the accused and other witnesses so that they can be easily identified.
- Try to give as much information as possible about the scene of crime, e.g. the kind of weapon used, any physical damage caused to property, the date, time and place of the incident the question.
- Use simple language and not ambiguous, i.e., the meaning should be clear and obvious. Also make sure that nothing is left out with any relevant facts as FIR once registered cannot be modified again. Do not lie regarding any fact as it is a punishable offence under section 177 and 182 of Indian Penal Code.
What can you do if your First Information Report (FIR) is not registered?
* You can meet the Superintendent of Police or other higher officers like Deputy Inspector General of Police & Inspector General of Police and bring your complaint to their notice.
You can send your complaint in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police concerned. If the Superintendent of Police is satisfied with your complaint, he shall either investigate the case himself or order an investigation to be made.
* You can file a private complaint before the court having jurisdiction.
* You can also make a complaint to the State Human Rights Commission or the National Human Rights Commission if the police does nothing to enforce the law or does it in a biased and corrupt manner.
Reporting non-cognizable offence?
Non cognizable offence can also be reported to the police. This is registered in the daily diary register (DDR). After the crime has been so recorded, a signed and stamped copy of the DDR is handed over to the person reporting.
However, the police will not take any action on the matter without the direction of a magistrate. If it is needed that the matter should be investigated be the police, then the person reporting can obtain an order from the magistrate directing the police to investigate in the matter. It is advisable to go to the appropriate court in whose jurisdiction the matter falls and obtain the permission from the appropriate magistrate (who is competent to hear the matter) and request the court to pass an order for police to investigate the matter.