• LAWGIC STRATUM

Concept of Zero F.I.R.

Author: Swetalika Das



Introduction


The term “F.I.R” means when a person knows any particular cognizable offense, He/she can give that information to the police officer. There is no exact mention of the term F.I.R(First information report) in the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 but Section 154[1] of the Code states about the recording of first information.


The concept of zero F.I.R. was introduced in the new Criminal Law Amendment 2013[2] and suggested by Justice Verma after the heinous rape case “the Nirbhaya case” which occurred on 16th December 2012. The amendment was passed on March 19, 2013, by Lok Sabha and it came into force on 3rd February 2013. There were numerous changes in the field of criminal law amendment after the Delhi rape case and the concept of zero F.I.R was just a part of it.


In this amendment, the registration of F.I.R was made compulsory irrespective of the jurisdiction of the police station. The police officer cannot refuse to file an F.I.R even if the offense is not in his jurisdiction. The police officer is bound to register an F.I.R and after a proper investigation, he will transfer the case to the concerned police station which comes under the jurisdiction, and there the main investigation will take place[3].


What is the meaning of the term “Zero F.I.R”?


Whenever an F.I.R gets registered, each F.I.R gets awarded with a serial number. But, in the case of Zero F.I.R, it doesn’t get any registered serial number and is awarded the number “0”. This happens so because the F.I.R is being registered in a non-jurisdictional police station.


The reason behind the Introduction of Zero F.I.R.:


FIRs should be filed in the police station without any delay or an excuse of police station jurisdictions. The zero FIR concept gives an effective way to file an FIR without creating any hassles. It makes sure that the investigation and the case are proceeding smoothly. The zero FIR is not like normal FIRs, it ensures that the police officer has filed the FIR. Sometimes it happens in case of cognizance offense where there should be an immediate action but due to the issue of jurisdiction, the police officers refuse to register an FIR which makes investigations slow. It becomes important to understand that the evidentiary value[4] of an FIR makes more effect than any other statement during an investigation. So, the registration of FIRs should be done quickly.


How to apply for Zero FIR?


Just like other FIRs, a zero FIR can also be filed according to section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973. For filing an FIR, the offense should be cognizable.


1. The information can be submitted both in written and orally.

2. If it is in written form then it must be signed by the informant. If it is orally, then it should be reduced into writing and read over to the informant.

3. A copy of the FIR should be given to the informant free of cost.

4. The information can be video graphed

5. According to section 164 (5A), the statement would be recorded by the magistrate.


Provisions related to Zero FIR.


There are no specific provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure relating to zero FIR. However, there are certain provisions about the punishment of police officers and the power of the magistrate.


i. It is given that in section 166A (c) of the Indian Penal Code[5] that if any public servant fails to record the statement given to him in case of cognizable offense according to section 154(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Then, the public officer shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than six months which may extend to two years and with a minimum fine.


ii. Section 460 of the Code of Criminal Procedure[6], 1973 states about the irregularities which do not vitiate proceedings, and clause (e) of the section states that if a magistrate is not empowered with the law to take the cognizance as per clause (a) or clause (b) of section 190(1) but still takes the cognizance then this type of proceeding will continue by ignoring the fact that the magistrate did not have the jurisdiction.


Case laws related to Zero FIR

i. In the case of Kirti Vashisht vs. State &Ors[7], the court held that in case of zero FIR the police officer must register the Zero FIR irrespective of their residence or the place of occurrence of crime and thereafter, transferring it to the concerned police station. Hence, the police officer has no choice other than registering it.


ii. In the case of State vs. Satish Kumar[8], an army man was brought in an unconscious condition to the Itarsi station by a public officer. Afterward, when he gained his consciousness, he filed a zero FIR that he became unconscious because of the drink given by a 25 years old man at the railway station. After the FIR was lodged, the police officer reported the information and transferred it to New Delhi.


Conclusion:


Zero FIR is the most efficient and effective way to give speedy justice. Even though the offense has occurred outside the jurisdiction of the police station, the police officers should register the FIR without any delay. In earlier cases, the registration of FIR was not mandatory but after the case of Lalita Kumari vs. the State of U.P.[9], it was held that every information related to cognizable offense is mandatory to be registered. Therefore, the FIR should be registered immediately to avoid any loss of evidence and delay in the investigations.


References:

[1]https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1980578/ ,Section 154 of CRPC [2] http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex4.detail?p_lang=en&p_isn=93631 [3]Reporting violence, Available at http://www.nari.nic.in/hi/schemes/reporting-violence. Last seen on 21.03.2021. [4]R Kelkar, Lectures on Criminal Procedure, 6th Edition, 67 [5]http://devgan.in/ipc/section/166A/ ,Section 166A (c) of the Indian Penal Code [6]https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1319177/ ,Section 460 of the Code of Criminal Procedure [7]https://indiankanoon.org/doc/149764021/,Kirti Vashisht vs. State &Ors [8]https://indiankanoon.org/doc/182658264/,State vs. Satish Kumar [9]https://indiankanoon.org/doc/10239019/,Lalita Kumari vs. the State of U.Pv

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