New Delhi: First Information Report (FIR) is a documented report prepared by the police officials on receiving information about any cognizable offence.
A delay in registering an FIR may also discredit the evidentiary value. The procedure of filing an FIR is prescribed in Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. An FIR is a very important document as it sets the process of criminal justice in motion. An FIR is generally filed in the police station within whose jurisdiction the offence is committed.
The FIR should mention the date, time and location of the incident and the identity of the accused (if known) in a precise manner. It should also contain the true facts of the incident which occurred along with the names and descriptions of the persons involved in the incident. The names of the witnesses (if any) should also be given to help the police in their investigation.
It is also a good idea to call the police helpline number (eg.100 in Delhi) as it is a recorded call and serves as an authentic reference for reporting the offence. It is also necessary that the FIR be read carefully before it is signed. The police will then give you a copy of the FIR and the investigation will follow.
However, it is not always necessary to go to the police station to file an FIR. In respect of a certain class of offences, one can also file an FIR online. The first step for this is to register oneself in the police portal of your city or state. Let us take the example of the Delhi police.
You can log on to www.delhipolice.nic.in and scroll to the bottom where you see an option called “Citizen Services”. Click on it and on the next page you will find options such as Complaint Lodging, MV theft e-FIR, Theft e-FIR, Economic And Cyber offences, Missing person report, Lost and Found etc.
You have to click on the relevant option and then on the next page, you have to enter your user id and phone no if you are already a registered user. If you are not a registered user then you need to register first. Suppose, for example, you have to file an FIR regarding Motor Vehicle theft. Click on the option for MV theft e-FIR, click on Registered User, fill in your details and login with the OTP received on your mobile. On the next page, one has to enter the Complainant details followed by vehicle details and property stolen along with the vehicle. Lastly, one has to click on the button “Register” and voila your work is done!
A copy of the FIR is then sent to your registered email account. The process for reporting the Lost and Found article is much simpler. A word of caution though. Don’t report false cases otherwise, legal action under section 182 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) can be initiated against you. This online system is called Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) which is carried out on the Mission Mode project by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
Other states have similar provisions which can be accessed through their respective online portals eg. for Uttar Pradesh one can log in to uppolice.gov.in. In case a genuine complaint is not registered by the police then one can write and post or email the complaint to the Superintendent of police and other higher officials.
Lastly, if the police don’t register an FIR, then the only option is to approach the magistrate under Section 200 r/w 156(3) of the CrPC through a lawyer.
The author of the article is Rishiraj Vikash, a practising lawyer in Delhi NCR, who is former Additional Private Secretary to Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India.