To report a criminal offence for the police to investigate, a person has to file a First Information Report (FIR) by visiting the nearest police station in the locality where the offence/crime has occurred.
An FIR is a written document which is filed by the police.
Under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (‘CrPC’), the law gives a choice to a person to give information orally or in writing. If the information is disclosed orally by a person, then the report must be produced in writing by the police officer herself or under her direction.
In Mumbai city, people can also visit the Mumbai Police website to register an online complaint for minor crimes or non-cognizable crimes.
The website will only register online complaints about minor crimes (′non-cognizable crimes′). As soon as one gives his/her personal details, the complaint is referred to the concerned police station. Later the complainant will be called for further clarification and/or to give a statement to the police.
Link to the online complaint registration:
The registration of an online complaint can be done either in English or in Marathi on the website.
Details required to file an online complaint:
- Full name
- Contact number
- Email id
- Name of the City, State, Country, and the Pincode
- Name of Police Station
- Description of the complaint
- Attaching of a document not more than 5 MB (optional)
According to the Mumbai Police website, as per the laws, FIR of a major crime (′cognizable crimes like theft, burglary, motor vehicle theft, accident, chain-snatching, assault, rape, murder, attempt to commit murder, robbery, dacoity, extortion, etc) can only be registered at a Police Station. The person filing the complaint needs to contact the nearest Police Station to file an FIR.
In case of a cognizable offence, once the FIR is filed, the police can take further action without prior court approval or a warrant.
FAQs related to FIRs
FIR is an important written document to report a criminal offence. It is the first step towards reporting a crime for the police to investigate the matter. The police officials take up to investigate the case only after registering the FIR in their respective police station.
A person who is either a victim of a crime/offence, or has witnessed a crime can visit a police station to file an FIR.
A person should file FIR immediately. In case of any delay in reporting the crime, the delay must be justified.
An FIR needs to be filed at the police station which is closest to the location of the crime. Every police station has a jurisdiction of its own to investigate the crime. In case the victim is not presently located or is far away from the crime location, he/she can file a Zero FIR.
A Zero FIR allows for any police station to register an FIR, regardless of their jurisdictional area. It is usually used for crimes related to cognizable offences. In the case of Zero FIR, initial action and investigation are conducted before the case is transferred to the appropriate jurisdictional of a police station where the crime has occurred.
A Zero FIR is helpful for crimes that require an immediate response as it authorizes quick and fast action. It is generally used in case of the police station under whose jurisdiction the crime was committed is not easily accessible.
The police officer must record the FIR in writing.
As soon as the FIR is filed, the police officer must read the FIR back to the person filing the FIR in order to ensure that all details are factually correct.
After the reading of the FIR, the person filing the FIR must sign the FIR.
Once the FIR has been recorded with the police station, signed, and registered, the person filing the FIR must get a signed copy of the FIR free of cost.
Steps to follow if FIR is not registered
In case the police do not register or neglect to file an FIR, the person who wants to file an FIR can meet the Superintendent of Police or other higher officers in rank like Deputy Inspector General of Police and Inspector General of Police to bring his/her your complaint to their notice.
He/She can try meeting the higher officers in person at the police station or can send the complaint in writing by email and/or by post to the concerned Superintendent of Police. If the Superintendent of Police is satisfied with your complaint, he/she can either investigate the case or order an investigation to be made.
On the website, the Mumbai Police has provided contact details of the police in-charge of all the 94 police stations in Mumbai. Along with their photos, the name of the police officer, and the police station they are in-charge of, the contact details include the landline number of the police station, fax number, their personal mobile number, and email id.
Besides the police in-charge, the contact details of senior police officers and divisional ACPs, and emergency control room contact numbers have also been listed on the website to help the citizens.
A person can also file a private complaint before the court having jurisdiction. Further, a complaint can also be made to the State or the National Human Rights Commission if the police do not do anything to enforce the law.
Mentioning of details while registering the FIR include
- Name and address of the complainant
- Date, time, and location of the incident he/she is reporting about
- The factual information of the incident that has occurred
- Names, descriptions, and details of the people involved in the incident
Next step after the FIR has been filed
The police officers are legally compelled to start the investigation in the case. During the process, the police will start inspecting the crime scene, collect evidence, question the witnesses, and record statements and forensic testing.
After a complete investigation, the police will record all their findings in a charge sheet. If it is deemed that there is enough proof on the charge sheet the case goes to court.
In case, after the investigation, the police conclude that there is not enough evidence that a crime has been committed, there is a possibility that they may close the case after justifying their reasons in court. If the police decide to close down the case, they are compelled to inform the person who filed the FIR about the update of the case.
Precautions to be taken while filing an FIR
- Do not provide misleading or wrong information while filing an FIR.
- Do not make unclear statements.
- Do not file a false complaint. If the complaint is found to be false, the complainant can be prosecuted under the law for providing misleading information to the police.
This explainer is supported by a grant from ATE Chandra Foundation