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Updated: Nov 11, 2020


Subha Lakshmi K, III year of B.A.,LL.B.


The First Information Report (FIR) is clearly defined under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. It is the first information of the cognizable or non-cognizable offence to the Police Officer in the written form. The report reaches the police officer first immediately after the offence is committed, therefore it is called the First Information Report. This means that it is the report from the informant and the complainant to the police officer in the police station either by written or in oral form. After it is received from the informant it must be the written document and must be registered in the Police Diary. From the point of the informant police officer, the police officer takes the FIR copy in the written form.

Offences Which FIR Are Taken

Importantly it should be noted that if the First Information Report must be registered it should be a cognizable offence, i.e. it must be an offence which the victim can be arrested by the police officer. Commonly some of the offences like rape, murder, kidnapping, theft, dowry death are raid to be a cognizable offence. For all those cognizable offences the police officer can file FIR without any warrant by the judicial officers and magistrates.

To know about FIR before Filing

1. Before filling the First Information Report the signature of the informant is mandatory.

If the informant refuses to give the signature in the First Investigation Report then the police officer can also refuse to continue the registration.

3. It is mandatory to read the First Investigation Record in front of the informant if the informant is illiterate.

4. This must be noted in the police diary.

5. Copy of the First Information Report must be given to the informant.

6. If the message is informed in the telephone it must be recorded in the police diary.

Cognizable offence

Section 2 (c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 clearly defines Cognizable Offences. These offences under cognizable offences are more serious. In case of Cognizable offences FIR can be registered without any permission of Magistrate. The recent judgment says that all the cases under Cognizable Offences should be registered for the First Information Report immediately after the offence is done. Schedule 1 code, 1973 has given the list of Cognizable and non Cognizable Offence.

Example of Cognizable Offences under IPC

1. Waging or attempting to wage war, of war- Section 121

2. Murder- Section 302

3. Rape- Section 376

4. Dowry Death- Section 304 B

5. Kidnapping- Section 363

6. Theft- Section 379

7. Criminal Breach of Trust- Section 405

8. Unnatural Offences- Section 377

Case under Cognizable Offence

Lalitha Kumari vs. Govt of UP[i]

It is the most important judgment of the Supreme Court. In this judgment, the supreme court of India gave a guideline that must be followed by all the Police Officers of India. The issue aroused in this case that to know whether a police officer is bound to register a First Information Report by depending any received information relating to the cognizable offence under section 154 of the code of criminal procedure, 1973 or to decide whether only the public officer has to conduct a preliminary inquiry to test the truth of such received information before registering.

Non Cognizable Offences

It is clearly defined in section 2(L). In the case of non-cognizable offences the police officer cannot arrest the person without any warrant and also cannot start any investigation without the permission of the court. It is defined in section 155 of the Code of criminal procedure 1973. In non- cognizable offences FIR cannot be registered without any permission of the court. Non-cognizable offences are less serious. It is said to be Trivial Offences. The police officer does not have any authority to arrest without warrant.non-cognizable offences are Private Wrong. Punishment for non-cognizable offences is imprisonment for less than 3 years or with the fine.

Importance of FIR

The First Information Report is very important because this document sets the process of criminal justice in motion. It is to be noted that only after the Information Report is registered the Police Officer can start the investigation of the case.

Where the First Information Report is recorded?

1. It is the First Information Report which is written in the Police Station and recorded in the Police Diary.

2. Police diary is the House Diary; it is the ledger maintained at every Police Station.

3. This diary is the evidence in the open Court.

Who can lodge a First Information Report?

First Information Report can be filed by anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is not needed only that the victim of the crime should file a First Information Report; also the police officer who comes to know about a cognizable offence can file a First Information Report himself or herself.

Eligible to file a First Information Report

1. The person against whom the offence has been committed to lodging a First Information Report.

2. The person who knows about an offence which has been committed can file a First Information Report.

3. A person who has seen the offence being committed.

First Information Record has the following contents

· Date, Time and Location of the incident being reported.

· Facts of the incident as they occurred.

· Names and descriptions of the persons involved in the incident.


I conclude that the First Information Report helps to set the criminal law in motion. And it is the key to start the process. It helps the police officer to take suitable steps to trace and bring the culprit in the eye of law. It makes the accused to understand the reason for his arrest and prosecution. It helps in avoiding false accusations due to the scriptwriting of the incident. Therefore reporting earlier improves chances of conviction.

[i] AIR 2012 SC 1515

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