First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is a report of information that reaches the police first in time, and that is why it is called the First Information Report. It is generally a complaint lodged with the police by the victim of a cognizable offence or by someone on his/her behalf. Anyone can report the commission of a cognizable crime orally or in writing to the police. Even a telephonic message can be treated as an FIR.

The First Information Report in common parlance F.I.R., is considered to be the earliest information about cognizable offence in and around our premises. F.I.R. is considered as a document that the accused and the interested persons are to be provided by the police station at free of cost.

Why is FIR important?

An FIR is a very important document as it sets the process of criminal justice in motion. It is only after the FIR is registered in the police station that the police take up an investigation of the case.

Who can lodge an FIR?

Anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence can file an FIR. It is not necessary that only the victim of the crime should file an FIR. A police officer who comes to know about a cognizable offence can file an FIR himself/herself

You can file an FIR if:

  • You are the person against whom the offence has been committed;
  • You know yourself about an offence which has been committed;
  • You have seen the offence being committed.
FIR First Information Report

Section 157, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973

The police may not investigate a complaint even if you file an FIR, when

  • The case is not serious in nature
  • The police feel that there is not enough ground to investigate.

However, the police must record the reasons for not conducting an investigation and in the latter case must also inform you.

Here we, elucidate about F.I.R., Zero F.I.R., Multiple F.I.R., etc


The First Information Report in short and popular parlance can be termed as “FIR”. Whenever a cognizable offence has occurred on the premises, the persons in and around should responsibly inform the nearest police station. There is a misnomer that either the person is aggrieved or not, he has to attend the police station and inform the police as to the situation, then only an FIR is lodged.


 Damodar vs State of Rajasthan1 and Sidhartha Vashisht alias Manu Sharma vs State (NCT of Delhi)2 (Jessica Lal Murder Case).In these cases, it was held that, if the phone call was made immediately after the occurrence of the crime to the police authorities constitutes an FIR but it should not be vague and cryptic for the reason that India is still following such Criminal Jurisprudence where any person can move criminal into motion.

In the case of T.T. Antony vs the State of Kerala, it was opined that first information means information given under Section 154(1) of Cr.P.C. which is known as FIR and it isn’t defined anywhere in the Code. The name itself suggests that it is the earliest and first information of occurrence as to cognizable offence which sets criminals into motion and also leads to the start of the investigation by the police. Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure elucidates the procedure for filing FIR.

Firstly, it says that for every information received from the informant orally, such oral statement shall be reduced into writing by the officer in charge of the police station (also called Station House Officer-SHO) or under his direction i.e., his subordinates usually write in the police station. After it is reduced into writing, it shall be read over to the concerned informant and shall also obtain the signature of the informant and shall enter into their dairy as prescribed by the concerned State Governments.

Such copy of the information recorded shall be given to the informant or any interested person free of cost. It is saddening to state that, though the provisions provide for giving the FIRs free of cost, the reality departed from this way back.

Secondly, the person in charge of the police station shouldn’t refuse to register or lodge the FIR, as otherwise, the aggrieved person can send in writing to the respective Superintendent of Police. After receiving it, he can either investigate himself or can direct his subordinate to investigate. Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 has amended Section 154 of the Code in which the offences pertinent to Women shall be recorded by the Woman Police Officer, and it has also mandated that, if any person is unable to approach the Police Station, then the police should reach the person’s residence or at a convenient place where the informant is comfortable.

Zero FIR

Zero FIR came into the limelight after the awful act as to the Nirbhaya Incident in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. On the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 was enacted and the Ministry of Home Affairs has sent advisory directions to all the police stations in India to register the Zero FIR by numbering the same with numerical “00”, and to transfer such FIR accordingly to the appropriate jurisdictional police station by following Section 170 of the Code. After the directions of the Home Ministry of Country, still, the police officers are refusing to register Zero FIR. Registering a Zero FIR is an exception to the regular FIRs.

Generally, FIR will be filed by the jurisdictional police station where the crime has been committed. Irrespective of this general stance, the police officer cannot deny the informant to lodge Zero FIR by stating it is not within their jurisdiction. The police officer is duty-bound to register the Zero FIR and should send it to the jurisdictional police station as prescribed by the Code.


Much before the Nirbhaya incident, the Apex Court in State of A.P. vs Punati Ramulu and Others came down against the police officer who refused to register an FIR by stating that it doesn’t have territorial jurisdiction as to the cognizable offence. The Court held that, when the Police Officer refuses to register an F.I.R., he derelicts his duty. Though it wasn’t termed as Zero FIR, the characteristics resemble Zero FIR.

In the case of Kirit Vashisht vs State and Others6, the Court has stated that, if a complaint as to a cognizable offence is received in a police station, though it is not a jurisdictional station, it shall register a Zero FIR and send the same to the Jurisdictional Police Station.

Though the judicial precedents and appropriate authorities mandate the registration of Zero FIR, it is still failed to follow. One among such instance was in Mahabubnagar District, where a Rape victim approached the police station to file an FIR but the police officer denied it due to jurisdictional issues and advised her to approach the concerned Police Station.

In apprehension of drastic miserable situations, women in India are still unable to step toward lodging a complaint. Though it is one of the objects of the Police Department to provide people-friendly policing, it is confined to books and deliverances due to a lack of knowledge as to the offence and alien influences.

The instance of not registering the Zero FIRs citing the reason of lack of jurisdiction shows that there is no proper responsive mechanism which is one of the steps to achieve the claimed “Friendly Policing”. Not registering the FIR will be a bane to the aggrieved person, such an aggrieved person may lose faith in the Police Department and Law. On contrary, it will be a boon to the persons who committed the crime. They might commit such offence or even more serious offence because the police have not prompted their wrongful acts

Cross FIR

Cross FIR is an FIR where both parties file FIR against each other. Cross FIR is mostly prevalent in Political Rivalries, Caste and Community Rivalries, Street Rivalries, etc., where Cross FIR is filed for such incidents. Cross FIRs are said to benefit the parties and at the same time, it is said to be a curse to the parties.

Multiple FIRs

Multiple FIRs mean lodging an FIR for the same cause of action in different police stations across the state or beyond the state. This type of FIRs can be noticed in Political Rivalries, Caste and Community Rivalries, etc. Multiple FIRs is a fancy thing in the present scenario. Because of Multiple FIRs, the person who has spoken by slip of tongue or in good faith and the person who has not acted without any malafide intention on his part has to suffer mental agony where it passes to his dependents as well and this instance need not be reiterated as it stood to be familiar.


In Surender Kaushik vs State of Uttar Pradesh, the Apex Court by applying the Sameness Test has stated that the second FIR to the same version for the same incident isn’t permissible, whereas a counter FIR to the same and connected incident is permissible.

Mohammad Zubair vs State of NCT of Delhi, Mohammed Zubair, who is a co-founder of Alt News, the Apex Court has held that the Criminal Law and its processes ought not to be instrumentalized as a tool of harassment and the same was also laid in Nupur Sharma’s Case. In the month of April 2020, an FIR was filed against Arnab Goswami who is the owner cum editor of Republic TV. For his remarks, the FIRs were lodged in more than five states on the same incident.

It is always a curse to the person who has been booked or against whom multiple FIRs have been filed. There will be self-satisfaction and political motives behind multiple FIRs which straightaway lead to mental agony and humiliation which cannot be immeasurable in any aspect.

What is the procedure of filing an FIR?

The procedure of filing an FIR is prescribed in Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

  • When information about the commission of a cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down
  • It is your right as a person giving information or making a complaint to demand that the information recorded by the police is read over to you
  • Once the information has been recorded by the police, it must be signed by the person giving the information.
  • You should sign the report only after verifying that the information recorded by the police is as per the details given by you.
  • People who cannot read or write must put their left thumb impression on the document after being satisfied that it is a correct record.

Things you should NOT do

Section 203, Indian Penal Code 1860- Never file a false complaint or give wrong information to the police. You can be prosecuted under law for giving wrong information or for misleading the police

Never exaggerate or distort facts

Never make vague or unclear statements





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