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Comprehensive Study On Zero F.I.R.

Introduction

The F.I.R. or First Information Report is a method by which a person can submit their complaint to the police. Generally, the F.I.R. is registered in the jurisdiction of the police station where the crime has been committed. Due to this, when a person comes to the police station to complain about a crime, they are advised to go to another police station as the area where the alleged crime has been committed does not fall under their jurisdiction. This results in wasting of time and can lead to suppression of the evidence. This is where Zero F.I.R. comes in place. It means that a person can file a complaint in the police station, and it does not matter whether the place where the crime takes place comes under the jurisdiction of the police station or not. After the Nirbhaya case, a reform in the criminal law was suggested by the Justice Verma committee. In the case of the F.I.R., the police only register the complaint if the place where the alleged crime has taken place falls under their jurisdiction or not. The complaint can be registered by 

  • The victim
  • A family member of the victim
  • Police officer 
  • A person who has witnessed the offence being committed 
  • A person who is responsible for that offence
  • Any other person who had received information of offence being committed 

Zero F.I.R. can be registered at any police station irrespective of the place of the crime. In the Code of Criminal Procedure, section 154 elucidates that when an informant reaches the police station to register the complaint, the police officer will write down the complaint in the books and provides the complainant with a copy. After the Zero F.I.R. is registered, the police officer then hands over the police station that has the jurisdiction over it. This power of transfer is mention under section 156 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Process of Registering the Zero F.I.R.

Before going to the police station to register a complaint, it must be in the complainant’s knowledge whether the crime is cognizable or non-cognizable. In the case of cognizable offence, the F.I.R. can be registered, such as murder, rape etc. In case of a non-cognizable offence, the complaint is communicated to the magistrate. The process of registering a zero F.I.R. is:

  • A person who is a victim, family or relative of the victim or anyone who have witnessed the crime being committed can register a complaint.
  • The crime must be a cognizable offence.
  • In case of non-cognizable offences, the complaint may go to the police station, and the police officer will record the complaint in the register. The police cannot investigate the non-cognizable offence unless permission to do so by the magistrate under section 155(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. 
  • When the complainant presents the statement to the police officer, the officer must write down the officer in a proper written form and be dictated back to the complainant for any corrections. A photocopy of the complaint must be given to the complainant. The statement should be signed by the attending police officer and also by the complainant. 
  • In section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, certain offences where a women officer will register the complaint if a woman is a complainant. 
  • If the attending officer does not register the complaint, the complainant can go to the Superintendent of the Police (S.P.) to register the complaint. The S.P. will either take over the matter or direct any police officer to take the case. The complainant can also present a complaint to the magistrate if the police officer refuses to register complaint. In the case of Lalita Kumari V government of Uttar Pradesh it was held that it is compulsory for the police station to register a FIR under section 154 of Code of Criminal Procedure if a cognizable offence is being reported.
  • The complainant can also go to the Human Rights Commission.
Comprehensive Study On Zero F.I.R.

Case laws

  • In State v Harnam Singh, the defendant kidnapped a girl who was wearing school attire with the help of 3 men. A zero F.I.R. was recorded by the police station located at Parliament Street. Later the victim was recovered and was taken for medical examination. The case was later transferred to Tilak Nagar police station as they had jurisdiction over the case.
  • In the case of the State of Andhra Pradesh v Punati Ramulu & Ors, a person died, and his nephew, who saw the crime being committed, went to the police station to register a complaint. The attending police officer refused to register a complaint as the area where the crime was committed was not under the jurisdiction of that police station. The nephew filed a case against the police officer. After the proceedings, the court held that the police officer should have registered the complaint, and his argument of the place of crime not falling under their jurisdiction was not accepted. The court also said that the police officer should have registered the complaint as a cognizable crime was reported, and it is his legal duty to do so; after registering the case, the matter should have been transferred to a police station with that jurisdiction.
  • In Kirti Vashisht v State & Ors, it was held that the police must register the F.I.R. even if the place where the incident took place is outside the jurisdiction of that police. After registering the case, they can transfer the case to the police station of the competent jurisdiction.

Conclusion 

This concept of zero F.I.R. has been proved very beneficial for carrying out justice. The complainant has to go to the nearest police station to get his/her complaint registered. It is also necessary for reducing the delay in investigation by police. Before the concept came into existence, the delay in registering of F.I.R. lead to the accused removing the evidence and this, in turn, lead to justice not carried out.

Animesh Sharma

Animesh Sharma is from Jaipur, Rajasthan. He has completed B.A. LL.B (Hons) from Manipal University Jaipur. He like to play football, listen to music, play piano, play games.

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