A first information report (F.I.R.) is a document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is generally derived from a complaint lodged with the police by the victim of a cognizable offence or by someone on his or her behalf, but anyone can make such a report either orally or in writing to the police. It is only after the F.I.R. is registered in the police station that the police take up investigation. Anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence, including police officers, can file an F.I.R.
As described under Section 154 of Criminal Procedure Code (in short Cr.P.C.):
Every information relating to the cognizable offence, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be written by him.
Information must be read over to the informant, and every such information, written shall be signed by the person.
A copy of the information shall be given free of cost to the informant.
Every FIR has serial no, date of occurrence, time of occurrence, place of occurrence, contents of complaint etc.
The Justice Verma Committee Report recommended the provision of Zero FIR, after the December 2012 gang rape of a 23-year-old-age girl in Delhi.
Basically, Zero FIR is FIR that can be filed in any police station regardless of the place of incidence or jurisdiction. The same is later transferred to the Police Station having competent jurisdiction after investigation and filing with a magistrate.
Generally, FIR is registered by a serial number in police station but in this, FIR can be instituted at any Police Station other than the concerned Police Station, that is the place where the incident took place, and such FIR is registered but not numbered. Such unnumbered FIR is forwarded to the concerned Police Station where it gets numbered and further acted upon. Hence those FIR’s are known to be Zero FIR.
For instance an Offence is committed within the jurisdictional limits of ‘A’ police station & FIR is lodged at ‘B’ police station. Then by the procedure, if it is revealed that the offence is committed within the jurisdiction limit of the other police station the FIR will be channelized to that police station as ZERO number FIR. The Police Station registering the Zero number FIR is required to make some investigation into the case before directing it to the concerned Police Station.
How to file Zero FIR:
The process of filing a Zero FIR is same as any other FIR:
Statement will be recorded by the officer of the police station.
All details should be written by the police officer.
The statement should be understood and signed by the informant.
A copy of Zero FIR should be given to the informant free of cost.
Courts on Zero FIR:
In the case of Satvinder Kaur vs. State (Government of NCT Delhi), the Supreme Court held that, Police can investigate the cases, which does not fall under their jurisdiction.
In the case of Kirti Vashisht Vs. State & Ors. 2019 the High Court directs the Commissioner of Police, Delhi to issue circular order to all the Police Stations in NCT of Delhi and all concerned that if complaint of cognizable offence is received in a Police Station, and offence occurred in the jurisdiction of other Police Station, in that case, the ‘Zero FIR’ shall be lodged by the Police Station which has received the complaint and thereafter shall be transferred to the concerned Police Station.
Refusal to record Zero FIR:
In any case if the Officer in charge of the police station refuses to record the information, a person can directly write to the Superintendent of Police (SP) and record a complaint. The SP can start the investigation himself or direct any other officer subordinate to him to start the investigation.
Supreme court has passed a verdict that if any police officer refuses to file an FIR then police department has to take Disciplinary action against them and also prosecute them under Indian Penal Code.
Individuals can approach to Human Rights Commission also.
Need for Zero FIR:
The FIR should be filed immediately after the occurrence of the incident. Delay in filing led to suspicion as to the authenticity of crime thus causes major hamper in getting justice. So, for a fair justice Zero FIR is needed.
In India, 93 cases of rapes are reported every day. Provisions like ZERO FIR are essential to bring out the process of justice in a very efficient manner. Many cases go unsolved because of lack of evidence, which was lost because of wastage of time.
Crimes like murder, rape and accidents require immediate action from the concerned police authorities so that they take appropriate samples, eyewitnesses, and other circumstantial evidence.
Zero FIR is a great asset when you are traveling and unfortunately become a victim of any cognizable crime .You can reach any police station and file a Zero FIR.
The Zero FIR is a free jurisdiction FIR. It was introduced in order to avoid the delay in filing the crime that adversely impacts the victim. The government should run campaigns to make people aware of such provisions and people should also show more concern about knowing their rights as well as when & how to use them. While going through the number of cases the ZERO FIR looks like a great concept in seeking a way to improve criminal justice at a preliminary stage. But it requires a third eye to monitor the procedure. For this purpose a better option is if a committee simultaneously supervising the process is instituted.