FIR (FIRST INFORMATION REPORT)

by | Oct 12, 2023

INFORMATION TO THE POLICE AND THEIR POWERS TO INVESTIGATE( SECTION 154-176)

Chapter XII of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), encompassing Sections 154 to 176, is a crucial part of India’s legal framework governing police investigations and the rights of individuals involved in criminal cases. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into these sections to understand the processes and powers vested in the police, with a focus on ensuring justice, protecting rights, and adhering to legal procedures.

SECTION 154 – INFORMATION IN COGNIZABLE CASES

  • Recording Information : When individuals report a cognizable offense to the police officer in charge of a police station, the information is meticulously recorded in the First Information Report (FIR) Register. This information can be provided orally or in writing and must be signed by the informant.
  • Informant’s Copy: A free copy of this information is furnished to the person reporting the offense.
  • Nearest Police Station: Reporting the crime to the police station closest to the incident is not obligatory; it can be reported to the nearest police station.
  • Zero FIR: In a significant development, FIRs can be filed at any police station, regardless of the crime location, known as a Zero FIR.
  • Transfer of Information: Even if the crime occurred outside their jurisdiction, the police are obligated to record the information and subsequently forward it to the relevant police station.
  • Special Cases: In cases involving women or mentally/physically disabled victims, specific provisions ensure sensitivity. A woman police officer or any woman officer must record the information at a location chosen by the victim, with the presence of an interpreter or special educator if needed, and videography.
  • Complaint Against Refusal: If the police officer refuses to register an FIR, the aggrieved person can send a written complaint to the Superintendent of Police, who can investigate it themselves or delegate it to a subordinate officer if it discloses a cognizable offence

SECTION 155 – INFORMATION AS TO NON-COGNIZABLE CASES AND INVESTIGATION

  • Recording Information: Information about non-cognizable offenses is documented in the Non-Cognizable Report (NCR) Register, and the informant is referred to the magistrate.
  • Informant’s Copy: Similar to cognizable cases, an informant receives a free copy of this information.
  • No Police Investigation Without Magistrate’s Permission: Police cannot initiate an investigation for non-cognizable offenses without the magistrate’s permission.
  • Police Powers: If the magistrate grants permission, the police have the same investigative powers as they do for cognizable offenses, except for arrest without a warrant.
  • Mixed Offenses: Cases involving both cognizable and non-cognizable offenses are treated as cognizable, even if other offenses within it are non-cognizable.

SECTION 156 – POLICE OFFICER’S POWERS TO INVESTIGATE COGNIZABLE CASES

  • Police Officer’s Investigative Authority: The police officer in charge of a police station can investigate cognizable cases without a magistrate’s order.
  • Investigation Without Formal FIR: In cases of cognizable offenses, the police can initiate an investigation even without a formal FIR.
  • Jurisdiction Beyond Local Limits: The police can investigate a cognizable offense, even if it was committed outside the local jurisdiction of their police station.
  • Executive Magistrate’s Limitations: An executive magistrate cannot order a police officer to conduct an investigation.
  • Magistrate’s Role in Investigation: A magistrate can order the initiation of an investigation if the police officer has not yet started one but cannot stop an ongoing investigation.
  • Non-Questionable Proceedings: Proceedings during an investigation by a police officer cannot be challenged on the grounds of the officer’s authority to investigate in that specific case.
  • Magistrate’s Empowerment: Any magistrate empowered under Section 190 can order the initiation of an investigation without formally taking cognizance of the offense.

SECTION 157 – PROCEDURE FOR INVESTIGATION

  • Initiating Investigation: When a police officer has reasonable grounds to suspect the commission of a cognizable offense, they must promptly send an FIR to the magistrate who can take cognizance of the case. Simultaneously, the officer will personally conduct the investigation or delegate it to a subordinate officer, meeting state government rank requirements.
  • Exception for Non-Serious Cases: In non-serious cases reported against specific individuals, the officer need not personally investigate or assign a subordinate.
  • No Sufficient Grounds for Investigation: If the officer believes there are insufficient grounds to initiate an investigation, they should refrain from doing so.
  • Special Provisions for Rape Cases: In rape cases, the victim’s statement must be recorded by a woman police officer, at a location chosen by the victim, with specified witnesses present.
  • Reporting Non-Investigation: If the officer decides not to investigate, they must inform the informant, providing reasons.

SECTION 158 – REPORT SUBMISSION

  • Report Transmission: Reports are transmitted to the magistrate by a superior police officer designated by the State Government.
  • Instructional Authority: The superior officer can issue instructions to the officer in charge regarding the investigation before sending the report.
  • Recording Instructions: Any instructions are recorded in the report itself.
  • Timely Submission: The report must be transmitted to the magistrate promptly and without undue delay.

SECTION 159 – POWER FOR INVESTIGATION OR PRELIMINARY INQUIRY

  • Magistrate’s Authority: The magistrate can either direct an investigation or order a preliminary inquiry by a subordinate magistrate.

SECTION 160 – POLICE OFFICER’S POWER TO REQUIRE ATTENDANCE OF WITNESSES

  • Summoning Witnesses: Police officers can issue written orders requiring the presence of witnesses with knowledge of the case.
  • Special Considerations for Certain Witnesses: Special provisions apply when summoning witnesses below 15 or over 56 years old, women, or those with mental or physical disabilities.
  • Place of Attendance for Special Witnesses: Special witnesses are required to attend the place where they reside.
  • Witnesses Outside Special Conditions: Witnesses not meeting these conditions must attend any specified place.
  • State Government’s Authority: The State Government can establish regulations for reimbursing summoned individuals for expenses incurred attending a location other than their residence.

SECTION 161 – EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES BY POLICE

  • Oral Examination: Police officers can orally examine witnesses who have knowledge of the case.
  • Obligation to Answer: Witnesses are obligated to answer questions, except those that may incriminate them.
  • Recording Statements: Statements may be reduced to writing during the examination.
  • Use of Audio-Video Electronic Means: Statements may also be recorded through audio-video electronic means.

SECTION 162 – STATEMENTS TO POLICE AND THEIR USE IN EVIDENCE

  • Unsigned Statements: Statements made by witnesses that are transcribed in writing by a police officer are not required to be signed by the witness.
  • Limitations on Use: These statements, or any part of them, along with police diary entries, cannot be utilized for any purpose during the inquiry or trial of the offense under investigation at the time the statement was taken.
  • Use for Cross-Examination: Such statements can only be used to cross-examine the witness, as specified in Section 145 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, and Clause (1) of Section 32 of that act.
  • Accused’s Use: The accused can employ these statements as evidence under the mentioned sections of the Indian Evidence Act, but this requires the court’s permission. The prosecution may use the statement when it has been sufficiently proven.

SECTION 163 – NO INDUCEMENT TO BE OFFERED

  • No Inducements Allowed: Police officers and persons in authority are prohibited from using threats or promises to induce witnesses.
  • Freedom to Make Statements: Witnesses have the right to provide statements of their own accord.

SECTION 164 – RECORDING OF CONFESSIONS AND STATEMENTS

  • Confession Recording Authority: Confessions or statements can be recorded by any Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate, regardless of whether they have jurisdiction in the case. This can occur during the investigation or before the inquiry or trial begins.
  • Definition of ‘Confession: The term ‘Confession’ is not explicitly defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) or the Indian Evidence Act. However, there are provisions related to Confessions in the Indian Evidence Act, from Sections 24 to 30.
  • Audio-Video Recording: Confessions can be recorded through audio-video electronic means, and the accused person’s advocate can be present during this process.
  • Exclusion of Police Officers: Police officers who have been given the powers of a Magistrate are not authorized to record confessions.
  • Informing the Accused: Before recording any confession, the Magistrate must inform the person that they are not obligated to make a confession and that any confession made may be used against them. The Magistrate should not record a confession if there are reasons to believe it is not voluntary.
  • Recording Procedure: Section 281 of CrPC outlines the procedure for recording the accused person’s confession. The confession should be signed by the person making it, and the Magistrate should create a memorandum at the bottom of the record. This memorandum should state that the Magistrate explained to the accused that they are not bound to confess, that the confession may be used as evidence against them, and that the confession was made voluntarily, in the presence of the Magistrate, and read over to and admitted by the person making it as correct, containing a full and accurate account of their statement.

SECTION 164A – MEDICAL EXAMINATION OF RAPE VICTIM

  • Mandatory Examination: Rape victims must undergo a medical examination within 24 hours, with consent.
  • Consent Requirement: Examination requires the victim’s or a competent person’s consent.
  • Timely Examination: The examination must occur within 24 hours of reporting the offense.
  • Examination Report : Detailed reports include victim information, DNA collection, injuries, mental condition, and consent, among others.
  • Report Submission: Reports are forwarded to the investigating officer, who sends them to the magistrate.
  • Illegal Examination Without Consent : Conducting the examination without consent is illegal.

SECTION 165 – SEARCH BY POLICE OFFICER

  • Grounds for Search : Searches are conducted based on reasonable grounds and recorded reasons.
  • Recording Reasons : Officers must record the reasons for the search and specify the object sought.
  • Conducting the Search: The officer personally conducts the search or delegates to a subordinate when necessary.
  • Objective of the Search: The purpose is to find objects necessary for the investigation.
  • Application of General Provisions: General provisions outlined in Section 100 of CrPC may apply.
  • Notification: Copies of the search record are sent to the nearest magistrate and the owner.

SECTION 166 – WHEN OFFICER IN CHARGE MAY REQUIRE ANOTHER TO ISSUE SEARCH WARRANT

  • Request for Search Warrant : Officers can request another officer to conduct a search within their jurisdiction.
  • Compliance with Section 165: The search follows the provisions of Section 165.
  • Exception for Delay: Delay can be bypassed if it risks evidence concealment.
  • Notice Requirements: Notices must be sent to the officer with jurisdiction and the owner.

SECTION 167-PROCEDURE WHEN THE INVESTIGATION CANNOT BE COMPLETED IN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS

  • Transmission to Judicial Magistrate:
  • When an arrestee cannot be investigated within 24 hours, the officer in charge of the police station or a police officer of at least the rank of sub-inspector must send a copy of the case’s diary entries to the nearest Judicial Magistrate.
  • The accused is forwarded to the Magistrate.
  • Magistrate’s Authority:
  • The Magistrate, whether having jurisdiction to try the case or not, can authorize detention of the accused for up to a total of fifteen days.
  • If the Magistrate lacks jurisdiction but finds further detention unnecessary, the accused can be forwarded to the appropriate Magistrate.
  • Proviso for Extended Detention:
  • The Magistrate can authorize detention beyond fifteen days if adequate grounds exist, but total detention periods are capped:
  • Ninety days for offenses punishable with death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for ten or more years.
  • Sixty days for other offenses.After these periods, the accused can be released on bail if they furnish bail.
  • Production Before Magistrate:
  • The accused must be produced before the Magistrate.
  • Restriction on Second-Class Magistrates:
  • Magistrates of the Second Class without specific High Court empowerment cannot authorize detention in police custody.
  • Option for Executive Magistrate:
  • In case a Judicial Magistrate isn’t available, the police officer of at least sub-inspector rank can transmit the case diary entries to the nearest Executive Magistrate.
  • The Executive Magistrate may authorize detention for up to seven days.
  • After the authorized period, the accused is released on bail, except if another Magistrate orders further detention.
  • Transmittal to Judicial Magistrate:
  • The Executive Magistrate must transmit the case records, including diary entries, to the nearest Judicial Magistrate before the expiry of the authorized detention period.
  • Recording Reasons:
  • Any Magistrate authorizing detention in police custody must provide reasons for doing so.
  • Reporting to Chief Judicial Magistrate
  • Magistrates other than the Chief Judicial Magistrate must forward a copy of their detention order and reasons to the Chief Judicial Magistrate.
  • Summons-Case Time Limit:
  • In cases triable by a Magistrate as summons-cases, if the investigation isn’t completed within six months from the arrest date, the Magistrate can stop further investigation.
  • Exception for Continued Investigation:
  • The Magistrate may continue the investigation beyond six months if the investigating officer proves special reasons and the interests of justice necessitate it.
  • Sessions Judge’s Authority:
  • The Sessions Judge can vacate the order to stop further investigation and direct it to continue, with specific directions on bail and other matters.

SECTION 168 – REPORT OF INVESTIGATION BY SUBORDINATE POLICE OFFICER

  • Reporting Results: Subordinate officers must report investigation results to the station’s officer in charge.

SECTION 169 – RELEASE OF ACCUSED WHEN EVIDENCE IS DEFICIENT

  • Insufficient Evidence: Accused are released if evidence is insufficient.

SECTION 170 – CASES SENT TO MAGISTRATE WHEN EVIDENCE IS SUFFICIENT

  • Sufficient Evidence: Accused are sent to the magistrate if evidence is sufficient.

SECTION 171 – COMPLAINANT AND WITNESSES’ RIGHTS

  • Freedom of Movement : Complainants and witnesses have the right to move freely.
  • Refusal to Attend or Execute Bond: Refusing attendance or bond may lead to custody until compliance.

SECTION 172 – DIARY OF PROCEEDINGS IN INVESTIGATION

  • Diary of Investigation : Police maintain a diary of all investigation details.
  • Non-Admissibility as Evidence: The diary itself isn’t admissible but can be used for reference.
  • Use to Refresh Memory: Police can use the diary to refresh their memory during testimony.

SECTION 173 – REPORT OF POLICE OFFICER ON COMPLETION OF INVESTIGATION

  • Speedy Justice: Investigations are to be completed promptly for speedy justice.
  • Charge Sheet Submission: The charge sheet is sent to the magistrate.
  • Role of Superior Officer : The superior officer can issue orders for further investigation.
  • Magistrate’s Intervention: The magistrate can order an investigation or discharge bonds.
  • Forwarding Documents: Relevant documents are forwarded to the magistrate.

SECTION 174 – POLICE INQUIRY INTO UNNATURAL DEATHS

  • Initiation of Inquiry: Police investigate unnatural deaths, reporting to the executive magistrate.
  • On-Site Investigation: Investigations include on-site examination and resident witnesses.
  • Forwarding Report: A report on the cause of death is sent to the district magistrate.

SECTION 175 – SUMMONS OF WITNESSES

  • Summoning Witnesses: Police can summon witnesses with relevant information.

SECTION 176 – MAGISTERIAL INQUIRY INTO CAUSE OF DEATH

  • Unnatural Death Inquiry: Magistrates conduct inquiries into unnatural deaths.
  • Inquiry into Custodial Deaths and Rape Allegations: Magistrates investigate custodial deaths and rape allegations.

In summary, Sections 154-176 of the Criminal Procedure Code provide a comprehensive framework for police investigations in India, ensuring fairness, transparency, and respect for individuals’ rights. These provisions play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of the criminal justice system and upholding the rule of law.

Reference:

1-https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/law-commission-backs-phased-e-fir-rollout-101696013747721-amp.html -HINDUSTAN TIMES

2-https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/police-cannot-be-given-the-licence-to-meddle-with-civil-disputes-court/article36312142.ece/amp/ -THE HINDU

3-https://m.economictimes.com/news/india/power-to-quash-criminal-proceedings-should-be-used-very-sparingly-supreme-court/amp_articleshow/89683147.cms -THE ECONOMIC TIMES 

4-https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/accused-person-not-entitled-to-default-bail-on-the-grounds-that-the-chargesheet-filed-against-them-is-without-sanction-of-valid-authority/article66801269.ece/amp/ -THE HINDU

5-https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/ensure-cops-in-state-maintain-case-diaries-without-lame-excuses-hc-to-dgp-8904610/lite/ -THE INDIAN EXPRESS 

6-https://m.timesofindia.com/city/chandigarh/2-months-after-filing-charges-sit-submits-supplementary-challan/amp_articleshow/99775113.cms -THE TIMES OF INDIA

7-https://m.timesofindia.com/city/madurai/cops-pulled-up-for-ignoring-procedure-in-unnatural-deaths/amp_articleshow/65848878.cms -THE TIMES OF INDIA

 

Written By Archana Singh

I am Archana Singh, a recent law master's graduate with a strong aspiration for the judicial service. My passion lies in elucidating complex legal concepts, disseminating legal news, and enhancing legal awareness. I take immense pride in introducing my new legal website - The LawGist. Through my meticulously crafted blogs and articles, I aim to empower individuals with comprehensive legal insights. My unwavering dedication is to facilitate a profound comprehension of the law, enabling people to execute judicious and well-informed choices.

Related Posts