This post is a much needed compilation we did using the information available on www.jaagore.com and www.ipaidabribe.com, so that people who wish to report animal-related crimes and/or are facing instances of criminal intimidation and harassment from neighbours/RWAs/fellow society people (meted out to those who fight for animal rights, feed/take care of neighbourhood dogs and animals) – can also learn the intricacies behind filing a complaint at the local Police Station, be it an FIR or Police Complaint.
*We thank http://www.jaagore.com and http://www.ipaidabribe.com for their exhaustive work and acknowledge their work and credit all information taken below, except for minor edits and additions done at a few places, to them.
How to file an F.I.R (First Information Report)
- Technically an F.I.R refers to the information on the commission of an offence given to a police officer by the first informant. In other words, it is basically a complaint document that sets the provisions of the criminal law in motion.
- To begin with, it is important to primarily understand the difference between Cognizable and Non-Cognizable offences. And F.I.R is filed for cognizable offences.
- Under the Criminal Procedure Code, commonly known as CrPC, a cognizable offence allows the police to directly register an F.I.R and immediately begin investigation. The accused can also be arrested without a Warrant. Rape, murder, kidnapping and theft are examples of offences that fall into this category.
- In a Non-Cognizable Offence, the police will require the permission of the court to register a case or investigate. The accused cannot be arrested without a Warrant and the offence is bailable. Examples of non-cognizable offences include criminal intimidation, trespassing, making a public nuisance of oneself, misappropriation of property, physical assault, forgery, causing simple hurt, and simple cheating.
The difference between an F.I.R and a Police Complaint OR the limitations behind lodging an F.I.R are as follows:
An F.I.R can only be filed for a cognizable crime. In the event someone is trying to file an F.I.R for a crime that falls in the non-cognisable category it is the duty of the police to listen to them, enter the matter in their daily register or dairy, give the person a signed copy of the entry made (as proof of the matter being recorded) and direct them to the closest or appropriate magistrate. The signed copy of the entry made by the police is free of cost and is a right to receive. The police may not investigate a complaint even if you file a FIR, when: (i) The case is not serious in nature; (ii) 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. — [Section 157, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973]
Do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while filing a Police Complaint/F.I.R
Details to give when filing an F.I.R: If you are a victim or witness of a crime give clear descriptions of all that you experienced, saw or remember. If you are filing an FIR for a crime that you have second hand knowledge of, then report exactly what you were told or what you heard. Information should never be exaggerated or false. Important details to include are the date, time, location and a description of the culprits or people involved. The sequence of events that occurred and details of what each person did or said
What to do when the police refuse to file F.I.R:
If you are reporting a cognisable crime and the police refuse to register your FIR, you can make a complaint to a higher ranking officer such as the Superintendent of Police (SP)/SHO (Station House Officer of Local Police Station), the Deputy Inspector General (DIG)/ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police)/DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police) or the Inspector General of Police (IGP)/CP (Commissioner of Police).
You can also complain to the nearest judicial magistrate, who will order the police to register the FIR if deemed necessary. Ensure that you get a receipt of your complaint being registered. (This means a stamped receiving given by the authority on the photocopy of your complaint)
You can also…
- Send your complaint in writing to the Superintendent of Police (SP)/SHO of the Local Police Station by Registered Post Acknowledgement Due (Regd. Post AD).
- Make a written complaint to the concerned State Human Rights Commission or the National Human Rights Commission that the police are not doing their duty of enforcing the law or that they are being negligent, biased or corrupt.
Things you must not do:
- 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 203, Indian Penal Code 1860]
- Never exaggerate or distort facts.
- Never make vague or unclear statements.
Process Flow of filing an F.I.R:
1. It must be filed immediately. If there is any delay, mention it in the form.
2. If given orally, it MUST be taken down in writing and explained to you by the officer in charge, at a Police Station within the jurisdiction of which the offence has taken place.
3. There should be four copies recorded simultaneously, with carbon sheets in place.
4. It must be recorded in first person. Do check in which language this needs to be done.
5. Make sure the officials’ attitude towards you is sympathetic and yours towards him/her is respectful.
6. Avoid complicated, technical words, terminologies and unnecessary details.
7. Try not to overwrite or score out words.
8. Ensure that the arrival/departure time is mentioned in the F.I.R and in the Daily Diary (DD) Register at the Police Station
9. It must contain authentic information, including these necessary bits of information:
– What information do you want to convey?
– In what capacity are you providing the information?
– Who is the perpetrator of the crime?
– Who has the crime been committed against – victim /complainant?
– When was it committed (time)?
– Where was it committed (specific place /locality/area)?
– Why do you think it was committed?
– Which way (actual process involved) was it committed?
– Were there any witnesses? (Names will be required here.)
– What were the losses? (Money /valuables/ possessions /physical damage etc.)
– What were the traces at the scene of the crime? (Weapons/evidence if any.)
10. After completion, you MUST carefully read the document and sign it.
11. It must be recorded by the officer in the book maintained for this purpose by the State Government.
12. You have the right to and must get a copy of it for your records. You are not required to pay for the same.
13. You are not required by law to give an affidavit.
Department / Organisation: Police Department
Contact person: Police helpline 100.
Location: Find your local police station within your police jurisdiction on the map.
Note: Police Station located nearest to you may NOT be within the police jurisdiction where you need to report the offence. Be informed of your area police station beforehand.
Infographic Process Flow:
The procedure of filing an FIR is prescribed in Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
Q and As about FIR
Who can lodge an F.I.R?
Any person who is aware about the offence can file an F.I.R. It is not compulsory that he should be an aggrieved person. Even a police officer can file an F.I.R. if he comes to know about any offence. The F.I.R. can be filed by various people like:
- An aggrieved person.
- A person who is aware about the facts of the crime.
- A person who has seen a crime being committed.
2. When can I lodge an F.I.R?
You can lodge an F.I.R only in case of a cognizable offence.
A cognizable offence is a criminal offence in which the police are empowered to register an F.I.R, investigate, and arrest an accused without a court issued warrant. Offences like murder, rape, kidnapping, theft, robbery, fraud, etc. are classified as cognizable offences.
A non-cognizable offence is an offence in which the police can neither register an FIR, nor effect arrest without the express permission or directions from the court. Offences like simple hurt, verbal abuse, intimidation, defamation, misappropriation of property, physical assault, forgery, etc. are non-cognizable offences.
3. Where can I lodge an F.I.R?
To file an F.I.R, one has to go to the police station within the jurisdiction of which the cause of action arose or the offence took place.
4. How do I lodge an F.I.R?
- To file an F.I.R, one has to go to the police station within the jurisdiction of which the cause of action arose or the offence took place.
- Every piece of information relating to the commission of offence is to be given to the officer in-charge of the police station. If it is given orally to the officer, he shall reduce it to writing and read it over to the informant to confirm and verify the details.
- Every such information has to be signed by the informant after which it is required to be recorded by the officer in a book maintained for this purpose as prescribed by the State Government.
- The informant is entitled to receive a copy of the F.I.R free of cost.
- If the officer in-charge of the police station refuses to record the information, you can send the substance of such information, in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police (SP) concerned. The SP is required to start the investigation himself or direct any other officer subordinate to him to start the investigation.
5. Do I have to pay for lodging an F.I.R?
No. You do not have to pay a single penny to lodge an F.I.R. It is free of cost.
6. What are the things I should ensure while the F.I.R is being lodged?
While lodging an F.I.R you must ensure the following:
- There should be four copies being recorded simultaneously, with carbon sheets in place.
- Language is important. It must be recorded in first person.
- Try not to over write or score out.
- Try to use simple words.
- Ensure that the arrival / departure time is mentioned in the FIR and in the Daily Diary Register at the Police Station
- Carefully read the document before signing.
7. What do I do if the police department does not consider my F.I.R?
If the officer in-charge of the police station refuses to record the information, you can send the substance of such information, in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police (SP) concerned. The SP is required to start the investigation himself or direct any other officer subordinate to him to start the investigation.
8. What happens to the F.I.R finally?
- When there is sufficient evidence a CHALLAN is prepared.
- When there is insufficient evidence, F.I.R is declared as UNNTRACEABLE.
- When FIR is found to be false or is transferred to other Police Station on point of jurisdiction, it is declared as CANCELLED.
- After registering the F.I.R the contents of the F.I.R cannot be changed. Only High Court can quash the F.I.R.
Please also see/refer to the following for more information on this subject:
- Video: How to lodge an F.I.R with the Police when you see animal cruelty?
- Video: How to lodge a P.I.L (Public Interest Litigation) to benefit Animals?
- What to do when you see an animal being treated cruelly?
- Animal abuse: from F.I.R to Jail
- Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Series-4: A Dossier of Indian Street Dog related laws and court rulings- Read, Print and Share widely
- Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Series-2: Educating your residential society on the scientific and lawful manner of dealing with street dogs
- “Feeding stray dogs is not a crime”: Mumbai Court clears duo arrested, humiliated for feeding dogs