A First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by police organizations when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is generally a complaint lodged with the police by the victim of a cognizable offense or by someone on his or her behalf, but anyone can make such a report either orally or in writing to the police.
As prescribed in law,
When information about the commission of a cognizable offence is iterated, the police must write it down.
The person giving information or making a complaint has a right to demand that the information recorded by the police be read to him or her.
Before beginning with anything it is important for us to know that First Information Report is registered only for cognizable offences.
Cognizable offences and FIR
Section 2 (c) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 defines Cognizable offences.
Cognizable offence/case means a case in which, a police officer may arrest without warrant, as per the First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 or under any other law for the time being in force.
Cognizable offences are usually offences which are serious in nature. Like for example:
Waging or attempting to wage war, or abetting the waging of war against the government of India,
Criminal Breach of Trust,
Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 provides that under a cognizable offence the Police Officer has to receive the First Information Report (FIR) relating to the cognizable offence.
Things to be taken into account
FIR can be iterated orally. The condition is, after giving the oral statement it is the duty of the person registering the First Information Report to covert that oral statement into writing.
Once satisfied that all the information is recorded in an FIR, the person making it should sign the FIR.
A person making a First Information Report has the right to get a copy of the FIR.
It is obligatory under the provision of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for a police constable to register a First Information Report.
When to File an FIR?
As soon as one comes to know of the happening of an offence
The provision as to an information report is enacted to obtain early information of alleged crime actively.
If an FIR is not filed at an early stage, the facts of that FIR cannot be doubted on the same ground.
The essential needed before filing a late FIR is a reasonable reason for the delay in filing of an FIR.
What are the Consequences of Delay in Filing of an FIR?
5 hours delay: Not seen with suspicion.
6 hours delay: Do not in any manner warrants any adverse inferences.
12 hours delay: Non-explanation of delay of 12 hours in lodging the First Information Report assumes significance from the point of view of evidence law.
15 hours delay: When the evidence is clouded with strong suspicion and as the First Information Report is lodged with a delay of 15 hours, the false implication of accused cannot be completely ruled out.
5 days delay: Accused becomes entitled to the benefit of the doubt.
14 days delay: It will be utterly unsafe for convicting a person based on an allegation 14 days late.
Despite the delay, if the First Information Report (FIR) looks substantive from the point of view of the law, such delay will not result in letting the accused escape.
Registering an FIR?
Visiting the police station nearer to the crime scene (preferably).
Informing either orally or in writing. In case a verbal complaint is made, it is the duty of the authority recording the FIR to produce it into writing.
First Information Report should be signed by the person giving the complaint.
It is the duty of the police authorities to record the FIR in a record book.
The police officer should provide the complainant with a free copy of FIR.
In of a Police Officer Refusing to Register an FIR?
In such a case, person may send the substance of the information – in writing and by post – to the concerned S.P. (Superintendent of police).
When S.P. receives such information it is his duty to either investigate such matter or pass the matter and order to the concerned authority.
Ways for Registration of an FIR?
A message sent by telephone to the police officer and recorded by him in his station diary, which discloses an information regarding a cognizable offense, is First Information Report (FIR). If not recorded by police officer, it may not be taken as an FIR.
At many police stations in India, even an email or WhatsApp message can be registered as a First Information Report, provided they are not vague and arecoming under the ambit of information as provided in section 154  of Code of Criminal Procedure.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FIR AND COMPLAINT
An FIR is formal registration of a cognizable offence, in writing, either by a victim, an eyewitness, police itself with or without a police informer. It is usually done by the concerned police station in whose jurisdiction the offence was committed but can be done at other places in different circumstances and then transferred back to the concerned police station. It bears a unique number.
A criminal complaint is technically a complaint before a judicial magistrate, in writing, regarding a non-cognizable offence for which an FIR can’t not be recorded. For example, defamation u/s 499 IPC. A criminal complaint is the correct procedure. Only court has power to issue arrest warrants.
FIR in Case of Rape Complaint
In cases of a sexual offense, the delay is negated to some extent as it is assumed by the court about the difficulty of the victim to come out and complain.
Ingredients of an FIR
An FIR is not a substantive evidence. Speaker of the statement may give many statements but it is not necessary that every statement of such person can be treated as an FIR. For a statement to constitute the first information report, it is very necessary that two conditions should be fulfilled-
The statement should be an accusation that it must be in nature of a complaint or it should be a statement that gives some information regarding a criminal activity.
It must relate to a cognizable offense on the first instance.
Sample police complaint about lodging an FIR
Officer in charge,
________________ Police Station,
Sub: Loss of the Mobile phone
I am <name>, w/o <husband/father’s name>, currently residing at <address>. (Date), I lost my phone at the (Place) at <city>.
The mobile is a (model) with (specifications). The IMEI number of the phone is <IMEI number> and the serial number of the device is <serial number>. The mobile number of the SIM used in the lost phone is <phone number>. Approximate value of the new device of this model is Rs( ).
You are requested to kindly register the complaint and give me an attested copy of this complaint so that I can submit this to the service provider to block the phone number and prevent potential abuse of my SIM.
I shall be obliged if you kindly take action to trace and recover the lost device.