All about filing FIRs in Bengaluru

 

Like it or not, most of either dread or experience discomfort at the thought of a visit to the police station. But what if you find yourself in a situation where you have to visit one to register that all important document – the FIR? Vigilance Director, and former DG/IGP of Karnataka, M D Singh answers our queries on the same.

What is an FIR?

The information about a cognizable offence given by a complainant and recorded in a prescribed format by the police is called a First Information Report (FIR). Under Indian law offences are divided into cognizable and non-cognizable by the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), and an understanding of the distinction between the two is necessary.

Scan of First page of an FIR

 

Scan of First page of an FIR

Cognizable offences are those offences for which a police officer can arrest the accused without a warrant. The complaint of any cognizable offence has to be registered as an FIR. The CPC itself contains an exhaustive list of all cognizable offences. Some examples include theft, dacoity, rioting, assault, rape, etc., while offences like assault with minor injuries, bigamy and adultery are non-cognizable and do not merit an FIR.

But an FIR can be registered for a non-cognizable case if the offence occurs in the presence of the police officer or if the complainant approaches the court and takes its permission to lodge an FIR.

Who can lodge an FIR?

When information of a cognizable crime being committed reaches the police first, it shall be treated as the FIR. The police is duty bound to record any complaint of a cognizable crime as an FIR. The complaint may be given by a person who has seen the events or even heard about it. If a police officer receives an oral report about a cognizable offence while he is on his rounds he will take down the complaint in writing with the signature of the complainant and register it as FIR in the police station.

An officer in-charge of a police station may also register an FIR suo moto (on his own initiative) if a cognizable offence is committed in his presence. A complaint received on the telephone can become a precursor to an FIR after being verified by the police officer and getting the signature of the complainant.

How is an FIR lodged?

All police stations follow a standard format for recording an FIR. To lodge an FIR, a complaint can be given orally or in writing. If the complaint is given orally the police officer will write it down in the prescribed format and receive signature of the complainant after reading it out to him/her. If the complaint is given in writing it will be attached to the FIR itself.

Who registers the FIR?

FIR in a cognizable offence has to be registered by a Sub-Inspector and in his absence by the senior most official in the police station. The sub-inspector has to investigate the complaint himself or record the reasons why he deputed someone else. In every police station it is the writer, who is of the rank of a sub-inspector who records an FIR.

What is recorded in the FIR?

The following details are recorded:
• The date and hour of occurrence of offence – (or approximate time and dates)
• Date and hour when reported
• Place of occurrence, its distance from police station
• Name and address of the complainant
• Name and address of the accused
• A brief description of the actual offence
• Details of property stolen in case of theft
• Section of law which applies to the offence
• Signature of the complainant on all pages

What are the duties of a police official with regard to recording of FIRs?

It needs to be emphasised that a police officer is duty bound to register an FIR if a crime has been committed. Further there should be no time lag between receipt of information about a crime and the recording of it. The Karnataka Police Manual clearly says the police official should not wait until he has checked the authenticity of the complaint, nor should he wait for the medical report. Don’t even embark on a preliminary enquiry, record an FIR at once, it instructs. The police official has to record all important facts in the FIR. He is also instructed to record the FIR in the actual words of the informant to avoid interpretation. Once an FIR is recorded the official has to read and explain it to the complainant and take his sign.

An FIR once recorded cannot be withheld or cancelled by the Station House Officer (SHO) under any circumstances.

What are the rights of a complainant with regard to an FIR?

Once the FIR is registered the complainant has a right to receive a copy free of cost then and there. No confession or complaint made before the police can be used in a court of law. This is done to prevent misuse of their office. The complainant can change his/her saying given in the FIR but has to explain the reasons for doing so in court. Another injunction is that there cannot be more than one FIR in one case no matter how many crimes have been committed. This means there can only be one version of the offence.

What happens after an FIR is recorded?

Immediately after recording the police officer investigates the incident forthwith. He goes to the place of inquiry without delay and collects evidence from the scene which could be material or photos and statement of the witnesses. The investigating officer has to give a report to the magistrate on the FIR within 60 days (if the prescribed punishment for the offence committed under law is less than 7 years) or within 90 days (if the punishment is more than 7 years). Once an FIR is lodged, four copies are made. While the original is dispatched immediately to the magistrate having jurisdiction, one copy is retained by the police station and one copy is sent to the Superintendent of Police and another to the immediate superior officer, usually the Circle Inspector.

Why is the FIR an important document in a criminal case?

The FIR is admissible as evidence in court which is why it is a very important document. The Karnataka Police manual says “It is the earliest record made of the alleged offence before there is time for its particulars to be embellished or forgotten. It can be used to corroborate or impeach the testimony of the person lodging it under the Indian Evidence Act. The necessity of drawing up this document with the utmost care and accuracy and with all available details cannot therefore be over emphasised”.

Why is delay in registering FIR harmful?

Once a crime is committed, the earlier an FIR registered, more the chances of it being untainted, given without deliberation or interpretation. While registering an FIR even a slight delay can be harmful. Because delay may lead to more versions cropping up, facts are likely to be vitiated. The delay in filing FIR may be exploited by the defense.

In some offences like rape, delay in registering FIR is not held against the complainant as it is understandable.

What can I do if the police refuse to register an FIR?

Refusal to register an FIR in a cognizable case is itself an offence. You have three options if the police refuse to register an FIR. The complainant can approach the SP who will investigate matter and get it registered; file a complaint in the jurisdictional court; approach the Karnataka Lokayukta and file a complaint.

Reality Check

In practice, why is registering an FIR the most difficult thing to do?

“If you want to register an FIR for a petty theft the police discourages you, they openly tell you that object won’t be recovered” says Aarthi, a student who tried unsuccessfully to file a complaint after her mobile was stolen.

Rajlakshmi, a practising lawyer, explains the way in which the police accept bribes for registering FIR. She says, “There are different rates for registering FIR’s, for a petty offence you may be charged Rs.500, if your vehicle has been involved in a accident the charge maybe Rs.2000 and if you want to show extensive damages Rs.4000. In dowry harassment cases the rates go upto Rs.10,000”.

Singh admits that there is reluctance on the part of the police to register FIR’s. “Every SHO wants to give the impression to his superiors that his station is ram rajya”, he says. “If they register all cases the crime rate will be seen as skyrocketing. The SHO does not want to be pulled up by his superiors for being inefficient”.

A solution in sight?

The recent Supreme Court (SC) directive urging the police to register FIR’s promptly was an attempt to address this problem. Senior criminal lawyer C V Sudheendra says that this is nothing new. As far back as 1979 in the Ganesh B Patil vs State of Maharastra case, the SC stressed upon the importance of recording FIR’s without any delay. “But the SC can’t police, it only rules”, says Sudheendra, “the change has to come from within”.

Singh feels that if all police stations in the country register FIRs promptly the crime rate will go up. Again if you register more FIR’s that many cases will have to be investigated, courts will be flooded with cases. A jump in the (recorded) crime rate will be met with concern from society, press and lawmakers. Therefore a change of mindset is needed first.

Policemen have to be given clear cut instructions to register cases freely and investigate sincerely without being unduly concerned about detection. “More than anything, persistence of citizens can bring a big change”, says Singh. “If you report all crimes and insist on your rights a lot can change”.

About Priya Mulgund Revankar 0 Articles
Priya Mulgund Revankar is a Bangalore-based journalist.

18 Comments

  1. Good idea Ganga. Best to post this suggestion/question to the twitter handle of bangalore city police @BlrCityPolice for a quick response, I don’t have an account there. From what I read in a 4 year old article on DNA, they do provide SMS updates. Let us know if you find any information.

  2. Though a FIR is registered, how can we track the progress of FIR?
    its not practical to visit the police station all the way.. so, some place needs to exist for earching the FIR based on the Case number/id or with Full Name of the accused.

  3. My latest interactions with Bangalore Police have forced me to re-construct my notions of what I thought a police force was like. They not only showed me the call records for my lost phone but also did not treat me in a patronizing manner, given the relatively minor nature of the complaint (lost mobile phone, see above comment). While I did have to make 3 trips, I was amazed to see that they had diligently stored call data for all lost phone complaints neatly in folders on their computer. Unfortunately, the last call made from my lost phone was on the same day on which I lost it, so it probably dropped somewhere and stopped working (run over by a vehicle, fell into a puddle etc.). Even so, I have been called again in 15 days just in case there are new developments. Posting my experience so that people know that there’s still some hope as far as the citizen-police dynamic is concerned in our city. Whatever your grouse is, make sure you are persistent, polite, patient and preferably armed with knowledge of the rules and rights you are entitled to (such as those mentioned in this article) while going about your business with the police, is my recommendation.

  4. Got an FIR registered 2.5 weeks back at the Madivala PS for a lost phone – what I received was a small acknowledgment slip entirely in Kannada, its definitely not in the same format as shown in this report. However must say the officer on duty did not harass needlessly as in the days of yonder. Now as this article says, if 60 days is the time limit within which they have to file a status report to the magistrate, then I’ll have to wait and watch. Have been twice there already but they requested me to come back later (generally a week or so) on both occasions.

  5. Hi Sir,
    Could u please let me, how to check the FIR status in on-line. we already given a complaint and they gave us a FIR copy. But i need to track to my FIR status. could u please provide the status.I fell it shiny to go to police station for every time.

  6. In order to prevent delays or refusal to register FIR by the Police due to political interference or other reasons, I suggest Human Rights Commission should be entrusted with this job. The commission should send a copy to the Police immediately after registering FIR. This also eliminates bribing for FIR registration. I will be very glad if Citizenmatters.in pursue this suggestion to its acceptance by the Government.

  7. Hi , Thanks for sharing this information . I have registered FIR with police station for investigating a theft case in my residence . The theft value is crossing more than 6 lakhs . From then I have visited several times to police station but did not get any response . Police even not opened my file yet . The SI only tells me that he will investigate and donot turn up .

    What Should I do ? I donot have any clue and feel uncomfortable going again and again to that place . Not able to concentrate on my work . Please guide me .

  8. Also Sachin, did you try talking to the INSPECTOR of the same police station? The SI will have to listen to the Inspector asks them to take the FIR. I have done this myself.

  9. Dear Sachin Sharma

    Our senior journalist Navya P K found this out for you.
    ACP Uday Shankar who is in-charge of Bangalore’s police control room says this: If the Inspector does not accept a complaint, the complainant can send the complaint to him by registered post with acknowledgement due.
    This is an old procedure; this way, it is mandatory for police to file FIR.

    The other option is to complain to jurisdictional ACP; if he doesn’t respond, it can be escalated to DCP, and then Commissioner. Here are ACP and DCP phone numbers for your jurisdiction.

    ACP – 2294 2163
    DCP – 2294 3464

    Please let us know if your friend Avinash tried the registered post option (send copy of complaint by email to us at edit AT citizenmatters.in), or if you try the phone option.

    -Editorial team, Citizen Matters

  10. Hello Sir,

    One of my Friend Avinash Gulia has encountered a problem. We are a student of an MBA college in Garvebhavi Playa. On 12th night 0100 hrs, he was walking back to the hostel from college which is 5 mins walk after completeing his assignment. The moment he entered the lane of our hostel which is situated behind GB Palya bus stop, he was gounded by 2 people who placed a knife on his neck and back. He hwas hit by them and they looted his Lenovo Laptop, 2 Mobile Phones along with cash amount of Rs. 400. We immediately reported the case to the police at Madivala Police Station. We met Sub- Inspector Srinivas who was very helpful and treated us very well and we were asked to come in the morning to file the FIR. When we reached PS in morning at 1130 am, we were asked to come back in evening and they we were again asked to come next day. When we went next day, we met another Sub-Inspector. His behavior was not good to us and he has openly stated that he will not file an FIR. We requested him to kindly lodge the complaint and then he wanted us to report a new story stating we lost the stuff in the hostel due to our carelessness. Sir, we have failed to file an FIR and have completely lost our faith in the system. Also, the incident has not been controlled. We have been chased by people multiple times. This is our last attempt to get the FIR lodged and resolve the issue. We trust you sir and hoping for a positive response.

  11. Hi All,
    I wanted to share my experience with All which was really avery bad one.
    I and my friend contacted an agent by name vicky (09343522579) for RESIDENCE CERTIFICATE on KG ROAD, Revenue Authority.
    He was demanding Rs 4000 and finally agreed for Rs 800 and promised to give the certificate in 2 days.We followed up many times but he used to either cut the call or make some excuses.
    Finally after a long wait of 3 weeks we decided to meet him to know the status.
    He was again making excuses and when we asked how can he take the money if he cant do our task, and asked him to pay back the amount.
    he became violent and started beating my friend. We got injured very badly.
    unfortunately this is how things work in our country what to do?
    This vicky was really wicked person, friends my suggestion is please do not approach brokers especially by name “vicky”.
    It was a very horrible experience for me.

  12. I,Amit kumar saurabh,was walking around my flat at 10:30 P.M at 2nd cross,2nd main,R.T.Nagar,Bangalore. All of a sudden 2 people snatched my mobile phone with the help of a sharpened dagger and started running away.
    All of a sudden I started chasing them.A couple of policemen on round there too helped me. Finally I caught them with the cell phone and policemen brought him to police station.
    Sir, It’snot about the theft but the insecurity which is creeping inside me.One of his friend is on the run till. What’s the guarantee that he will not try to harm me.I am new to Bangalore and had come here on official duty. I am residing at Mumbai.I had a wonderful impression of Bangalore in my mind.Please don’t let them free sir.I guess there is a racket going on here who snatch valuables from people.
    please take some appropriate action and try to bust this racket.
    Hoping for the best.
    A sincere citizen,
    Amit

  13. 1. Is it compulsary that the FIR must be registered in local language ?
    2. DO i need to pay to register a FIR ?

  14. FIR is the right of citizens. If police doesn’t file FIR, they can be prosecuted by complainant approaching the court and filing section 156(3) where the magistrate directs the police to lodge FIR. Also the magistrate can levy fine on the police officer refusing to file FIR and can also punish him with imprisonment. Do not give up as we’ve to wake our system to work. File and FIR and then send RTI asking for Action Taken Report on your FIR.

  15. There is ned for educating public their rights for recording FIR and at the same time educate police personnel their duties towards the country and public. After reading many reports and reading about so called terrorist encounter Pradeep Sharma who had good dealings with with a terrorist, I can say most police men are criminals/traitors in kaki uniform. This trend is to be reversed in the country.
    B S GANESH

  16. My brush with filing FIRs has been riddled with complications too. On one such recent occasion the circle inspector cleverly tried to convince me and my friends not to lodge one, as it would lead to complications in our lives later! When we insisted, he tried to pick holes in our complaint, and said it was not admissible. Then he tried to quiz us on the matter that we had recorded, while he had no business to do so. We had to finally approach the Police Commissioner to direct the circle inspector to admit our complaint.

    If urban educated literates like us, aware of beaurocratic and legal procedures and with access to higher authorities can be cowed down by the police, imagine the fate of lesser mortals!

  17. Very informative, but you are right Priya…an FIR is a HUGE pain to register. Sometimes FIR’s are required for insurance purposes, and the whole thing takes on the appearance of an organized racket.

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