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Scope and Object of F.I.R.? (First Information Report)

The first information is that information which is given to the police first in point of time. It is only when the report is such that investigation could be started on it, that it can be called a first information report. The report first recorded by the police relating to the commission of a cognizable case is the first information report. It is a document of considerable importance, the object being to show on what materials the investigation commenced and what was the story then told.

The ingredients of the first information report are as follows:

(1) It is an information which is given to the police officer;

(2) Information must relate to a cognizable offence;

(3) It is an information first in point of time;

(4) It is on the basis of this information that investigation into the offence commences.

The F.I.R. is usually made by the complainant or by someone on his behalf. The general rule is that ordinarily the information about the offence committed is to be given to the police station having territorial jurisdiction where the offence has been committed. But this does not mean that it cannot be lodged elsewhere. The Supreme Court, in State of A.P v. Punati Ramube, has held that refusing to record the complaint was a dereliction of duty on the part of the constable because any lack of territorial jurisdiction could not have prevented the constable from recording information about the cognizable offence and forwarding the same to the police station having jurisdiction over the area in which the crime was said to have been committed.

In Hallu and others v. State of Madhya Pradesh, it is held that it is not the requirement of Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which speaks of an information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence given to an officer-in-charge of a police station that the report must be given by a person who has personal knowledge of the incident and such a report cannot be refused to be treated as F.I.R. holding that it is based on hearsay evidence.

In Golla Jalla Reddy v. State of A.P., it has been held that where oral complaint disclosing commission of a cognizable offence has been made and police investigation has started on its basis and later on a second report is made in writing, the written report has to be considered as statement under Section 161 of the Code and not as F.I.R. and it cannot be used for corroboration of evidence of information.

F.I.R. is not an encyclopaedia. It need not contain each and every minute incident that occurred either prior to or subsequent to an offence. A message sent by telephone to the police officer and recorded by him in his station diary which discloses an information regarding a cognizable offence amounts to first information report and it could not be used as substantive evidence.

A cryptic and anonymous telephone message which did not clearly specify a cognizable offence cannot be treated as F.I.R. In Dasan v. State of Kerala, it is held that an anonymous phone call relating to commission of an offence will not amount to F.I.R.

Failure to mention the name of any assailant in the first information report would not be of any consequence if the circumstances of the case justified the same. The mere omission of the name of the accused in the F.I.R. by the complainant is no ground to brush aside his evidence where the F.I.R. covers broader aspect of the case, mere non-mention of the name of the accused does not render the case doubtful. Merely because only some of the accused persons have been mentioned in the F.I.R. is no ground to hold the F.I.R. as fabricated and concocted. When satisfactory explanation has been given for the omission of the name of the accused in the F.I.R. the veracity of the prosecution case cannot be doubted. An F.I.R. does not become defective for want of particulars such as parentage, etc. of all or any of the accused persons.

It is not absolutely necessary that the names of all eyewitnesses should figure in the F.I.R. The F.I.R. need not be a detailed one, nor can it be said to be a Magna Carta. Mere omission of the name of the prosecution witnesses in the F.I.R. is not fatal to the prosecution case.

Unless material absence of details of assault in F.I.R. is not fatal to the prosecution case. The prosecution story if otherwise found reliable cannot be rejected merely on the ground that the manner of assault in which the accused actually assaulted the deceased not been narrated in the F.I.R.

It is manifest that an F.I.R. is not intended to be a very detailed document is meant to be given only the substance of the allegations made and, therefore, the absence of the mention of weapon would not put the prosecution case out of Court.

Where the F.I.R. does not bear the signature/thumb impression of the informant and no explanation is forthcoming, F.I.R. is to be rejected.

In Animireddy Venkata Ramana & Others v. Public Prosecutor, H. C. to A.P, it was observed that when an information is received by the Officer- in-Charge of a police station, he in terms of the provisions of the Code was expected to reach the place of occurrence as early as possible. It was not necessary for him to take that step only on the basis of a First Information Report.

An information received in regard to commission of a cognizance offence is not required to be preceded by a F.I.R. Duty of the State to protect the life of an injured as also an endeavour on the part of the responsible police officer to reach the place of occurrence in a situation of this nature is his implicit duty and responsibility.

In the FIR all the accused persons were named and overt acts on their part were also stated at some length. Each and every detail of the incident was not necessary to be stated. A First Information Report is not meant to be encyclopaedic. While considering the effect of some omissions in the FIR on the part of the informant, a Court cannot fall to take into consideration the probable physical and mental condition of the first informant.

Once a First Information Report is found to be truthful, only because names of some accused persons have been mentioned, against whom the prosecution was not able to establish its case, the entire prosecution case would not be thrown away only on the basis thereof.

Object of F.I.R.:

The principal object of the first information report from the point of view of the information is to set the criminal law in motion and from the point of view of the investigating authorities is to obtain information about the alleged criminal activity so as to be able to take suitable steps to trace and bring to book the guilty.