Section 154 of the Code deals with First Information Report i.e. FIR which sets the criminal law in motion. FIR is the first piece of information whereby police are informed about a cognizable offence.
The Code does not define FIR but the report under Section 154 is usually referred to as the First Information Report.
FIR aims at obtaining information of the alleged offence from the informant and recording his statement before the informant's memory fails or he decorates it. FIR also provides the accused with the information about the facts which led to the offence which safeguards him from subsequent additions and variations in statements.
IV. Nature and Scope
Information in the FIR need not be given only by an eyewitness. It may be hearsay and come from an anonymous source and need not be in writing.
It(FIR) cannot be given by a telephonic message. [Tapinder Singh v. State 1970]
IV. FIR differed from Complaint
An FIR is registered with the Police while a Complaint is filed before a Magistrate.
FIR should relate to Cognizable offence while a complaint may relate to Cognizable or Non-Cognizable offence.
Police start investigation after receiving the FIR while the Magistrate directs the Police to start investigation, if satisfied that an offence is committed, to start investigation.
FIR may be given by any person including a POlice Officer.
A complaint does not include a report by the police.
The Magistrate may order an inquiry or dismiss the complaint after recording reasons.
V. Requirements of a FIR
FIR must fulfil the following conditions:
1. FIR must be received by an officer in charge of the Police Station.
2. FIR can be filed only in relation to a Cognizable offence.
3. FIR must be in written form or reduced in writing if orally submitted by the informant and should be signed by the informant.
4. A copy of the FIR should be given to the informant and also read out to him.
5. An entry should be made in the "station diary" or "general diary" recording the substance of the information.
It is not necessary that the FIR must contain all details and particulars of the incident and is sufficient if it indicates commission of a crime so as to enable the police to start investigation.
VI. Delay in filing FIR
No period of limitation is prescribed by the COde or the Limitation Act to file an FIR. Case of the prosecution cannot be rejected only because there was a delay in filig the FIR. Nevertheless a long delay in filing an FIR weakens the case of the Prosecution as it creates doubt and suspiscion as to the authencity of the information and creates a possibility of false implication.
VII. Evidentiary value of FIR
FIR is not a substantive or primary piece of evidence, but is an important and valuable document.
It can be used for corroboration under Section 157, Evidence Act, 1872 or contradicting statements under Section 145 of the Act if the informant is called as a witness at the time of trial.[Ravi Kumar v. State of Punjab 2005] FIR may also become relevant under Section 8 of the Evidence Act.
First Information Report, it is well settled, need not be an encyclopedic one. It need not contain all the details of the incident. [Bishna @ Bhiswadeb Mahato & Ors vs State Of West Bengal 2005]
FIR by Accused:
In certain cases the person lodging the complaint is charged with the offence for which the report is filed by him. Such a case may arise,
a. where FIR is a confession b. where FIR is not confessional but after investigation it is revealed that the informant is involved in committing the crime.
A confessional report is not admissible in evidence but if it is not confessional then it is admissible in evidence against the accused, which is the settled legal position. A statement by one accused in Fir cannot be used against another accused.
VIII. First Information in Non-Cognizable Offences:
According to section 155, (1) When information is given to
an officer in charge of a police station of the commission within the limits of such station of a non-cognizable offence, he
shall enter or cause to be entered the substance of the information in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the
State Government may prescribe in this behalf, and refer the informant to the Magistrate.
(2) No police officer shall investigate a non-cognizable case without the order of a Magistrate having power to try such case or commit the case for trial.
(3) Any police officer receiving such order may exercise the same powers in respect of the investigation except the power to arrest without warrant as an officer in charge of a police station may exercise in a cognizable case.
(4) Where a case relates to two or more offences of which at least one is cognizable, the case shall be deemed to be a cognizable case, notwithstanding that the other offences are non-cognizable