What is FIR?
First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offense. It is a report of information that reaches the police first in point of 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 offense or by someone on his/her behalf. Anyone can report the commission of a cognizable offense either orally or in writing to the police. Even a telephonic message can be treated as an FIR. It is a duty of police to register FIR without any delay or excuses. Non-registration of FIR is an offense and can be a ground for disciplinary action against the concerned police officer.
A cognizable offense is one in which the police may arrest a person without warrant. They are authorized to start investigation into a cognizable case on their own and do not require any orders from the court to do so.
A non-cognizable offense is an offense in which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant. The police cannot investigate such an offence without the court’s permission.
Why is FIR important?
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 start investigation of the case. According to Articles 21, 22, 23, 25, 49, 50 of Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order 1984, FIR is a relevant fact.
Who can lodge FIR?
Anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offense can file an FIR. It is not necessary that only the victim of the crime should file an FIR. A police officer that comes to know about a cognizable offense can file an FIR himself/herself. You can file FIR if:
A. You are the person against whom the offense has been committed.
B. You know yourself about an offense, which has been committed.
C. You have seen the offense being committed. 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.
- The police resources are already over-committed in investigating more serious offenses. However, the police must record the reasons for not conducting an investigation and in the latter case must inform you (Section 157 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898).
What is the procedure of filling FIR?
The procedure of filing an FIR is prescribed in Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898. It is as follows:
- When information about the commission of a cognizable offense 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 police have recorded the information in the FIR Register, the person giving the information must sign it.
- 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.
- Always ask for a copy of the FIR, if the police do not give it to you.
- It is your right to get a copy of FIR free of cost.
What should you mention in the FIR?
- Your name and address;
- Date, Time and Location of the incident you are reporting;
- The true facts of the incident as they occurred, including the use of weapons, if any;
- Names and description of the persons involved in the incident;
- Names and addresses of witnesses, if any. (Format used by the police for the registration of FIR is attached).
Things you should NOT do:
a) 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 (Section 182 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860).
b) Never exaggerate or distort facts.
c) Never make vague or unclear statements.
d) One who refuses to sign his statement of FIR can be prosecuted under section 180 of Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.
e) One who lodges a false charge of offense made with intent to injure a person can be prosecuted under section 211 of Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.
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