Zero FIR

BLOG- ZERO FIR: A Brief Overview

Criminal Law Women

What is ZERO FIR?

As per the Sec 154 of Criminal procedure Code, every Police officer is law-bound to register the First Information Report of any cognizable offence committed, irrespective of the jurisdiction in which the offence was committed. When a cognizable offence is reported, the police officer registering the case forthwith starts the investigation, if it is committed in his jurisdiction. if it is not committed in his jurisdiction, he registers the FIR under number 00 and sends it to the police station, where the offence was committed for further investigation. Such FIR is called as Zero FIR. It is for the convenience of the victim that instead of making the victim run from pillar to post, the police officer, where the victim approaches as per his convenience, the case is recorded and police officer sends it to the concerned police station.

Developments that led to Introduction of Zero FIR

The provision of Zero FIR was introduced in the recommendation in Justice Verma Committee Report in the new Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, devised after the December 2012 Delhi gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in the territory.

However, policemen by and large deny knowing about provisions of “Zero FIR” and direct the complainant to Police Station having jurisdiction but Clause (e) of Section 460 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) says that if any Magistrate not empowered by laws to call for cognizance of an offence positioned in section 190 (a) or (b) erroneously but in good faith does take cognizance, the proceeding minutes will not be set aside merely on the grounds of not being empowered for same.

If at the time of initiation of FIR, it looks evident that the crime was committed outside the jurisdiction of the concerned police station, then the police must be appropriately ordered to register a Zero FIR, and ensure that the FIR is transferred to the jurisdictional police station. If there is a failure in compiling with the instruction of FIR registration on the acknowledgement of information about the offence, it will invite prosecution of the police officer under section 166A which provides a rigorous imprisonment of six months is extended to two years. This evasion of responsibility may invite the departmental action for the police officer.

This concept was given by Supreme Court in the case In the case of Satvinder Kaur vs. State (Government of NCT Delhi)[1] The complainant had appealed in the Supreme Court against the order of the High Court, where the High Court had quashed the FIR filed at Delhi Police Station by the complainant.  The Supreme Court held that, Police can investigate the case, which does not fall under their jurisdiction.

In another case of  Sanjay Sharma vs The State Of Jharkhand[2]  wherein a minor girl was allegedly raped while attending her Taekwondo class, the court held that the filing of the FIR was mandatory by the Police Officer.

Need for this provision

  • 93 cases of rapes are reported every day in India. Provisions like ZERO FIR are essential to bring out the process of justice in a very efficient manner. Many cases go unsolved because of lack of evidence, which was lost because of wastage of time.
  • Heinous crimes like murder, rape and accidents require immediate action from the concerned police authorities so that they take appropriate samples, eyewitnesses, and other circumstantial details.
  • Zero FIR is one of the greatest asset when you are traveling & unfortunately become a victim of any cognizable crime .You can reach any police station and file a zero FIR anytime.[3]

Crimes like murder, rape and accidents require immediate action from the concerned police authorities so that they take appropriate samples, eye witnesses and other circumstantial details. Zero FIR allows the authorities to pen down the initial action taken rather than trying to figure out what had happened at the crime scene initially.

For example: If a person visits Police Station informing the police that his friend was murdered on the road (cognizable offence). Incidences like this require immediate action on part of the police (like collecting samples, getting information from eyewitnesses, etc.); in such a situation police cannot excuse themselves saying that the case does not fall within their jurisdiction. This will hamper the very objective of the police force that is ‘to maintain law and order’.

But at the same time it is mandatory to adhere to statutory regulations, so after investigation is over, if the Investigating Officer arrives at the conclusion that the cause of action for lodging the FIR has not arisen within his territorial jurisdiction, then he is required to submit a report and forward the case to the Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of the offence and must also submit all the materials including copy of FIR, collected sample of evidence and detailed report of the inquiry done till the date the case is transferred to the concerned Police Station.

 

Impact

Zero FIR is also a great power to the passengerson  rail journey for a direction in making the travel safe and hassle free for the millions of passengers on frequent journey. So, as per the requirement the victim can file the case against theft in the place that is nearest to their approach while travelling.Certain grave crimes like accident, murder and rape that require immediate action from the concerned authorities and to collect evidentiary proof from the party and place like samples, deposition from the eye witnesses and circumstantial evidences. A Zero FIR helps take into account of this prelim action regardless of deciding the territorial limits of the crime.

As is the well settled rule when there is certain good there is always something bad attached to it. And the biggest drawback is in the basic concept of the Zero FIR provision i.e., for say a crime occur in a place and reported in other jurisdiction and if there is certain collusion between the police staff of the station where the FIR instituted  and the offender then the whole root of the provision collapses. [4]

In the case of the State vs . Raj Kumar[5];  the court held that in the case where a homeopathic doctor had committed rape of a minor sister of the doctor’s patient, Police in this case refused to register zero FIR and forced her to sign a statement saying that no rape had been committed by the accused. The accused in this case w acquitted for lack of evidence but the action was taken against the police for their refusal to register the said FIR.

Another interesting case is that of the infamous Asaram Bapu Rape case[6]: The report against The self-proclaimed Goodman Asaram Bapu was booked under Zero FIR. The complaint about the crime committed in Jodhpur was lodged in Delhi by a minor girl who hailed from UP.On August 21 Delhi Police then booked Asaram under the charges of rape and wrongful confinement. The case was later transferred to Jodhpur police, where the actual crime took place.

Conclusion

Certainly, it looks like a great concept in seeking a way to ameliorate criminal justice in a preliminary stage and deciding on the gulp of truth. But s requires a third eye to monitor the procedure. For such purpose a better option is if a committee simultaneously supervising the process that will include at least an ordinary citizen and scrutinizing the whole FIR instituting process is instituted. The Zero FIR is a free jurisdiction FIR. It was introduced in order to avoid the delay in filing the crime that adversely impacts the victim. The government should run campaigns to make people aware of such provisions and peoples should also show more concern about knowing their rights as well as when & how to use them.

But, this being India, we of course see that the police officers reject to file your fir or cliam ignorance as in the aforementioned case of State. Vs. Raj Kumar in such a situation, the following remedies could be available:

If the concerned officer in charge refuses to register a first information report about commission of a cognizable offence within his territorial jurisdiction under Sec. 154(3), the informant can approach any senior officer of police or the Superintendent of Police or the Commissioner of the police with a written complaint. If, after analysing the complaint it is satisfied that the complaint discloses a cognizable offence, he may moreover investigate the case himself or give directions to his subordinate to register the FIR and initiate investigation in the matter.

If even after submitting a complaint to Senior Police officials no FIR is lodged then the informant is legally entitled to file a complaint to the Judicial Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrate u/s 156(3) read with Section 190 of the criminal procedure thereby requesting the FIR to be registered by the police and commencing investigation into the matter.

Under section 166A(c), if the Public servant concerned fails to record any information given to him under sub-section (1) of section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, in relation to cognizable offence punishable under section 326A, section 326B, section 354, section 354B, section 370, section 370A, section 376, section 376A, section 376B, section 376C, section 376D, section 376E or section 509 of the Indian Penal Code, he is punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to two years, and shall also be liable to fine.

References :

  1. https://indiankanoon.org
  2. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/going-from-zero-firs-to-efirs/article4329575.ece
  3. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/Girls-do-you-know-what-a-Zero-FIR-is-Now-the-govt-plans-to-use-Pink-to-tell-you/articleshow/54465699.cms
  4. https://www.thebetterindia.com/110266/police-refused-file-complaint-done/
  5. https://www.legistify.com/QnA/answer/1443-what-is-zero-fir

PRANAV BAJAJ

[1] Case no. appeal (crl.)  1031 of 1999

[2] B.A No 2833 of 2017.

[3] http://www.bestlawadvisor.com/legal-articles/zero-fir-all-you-need-to-know-about

[4] https://legalhandforyou.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/concept-of-zero-fir-you-can-file-an-fir-anywhere/

[5] Sessions Case No: 262/13 of 2015

[6] Session Case No.152/2013

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2 thoughts on “BLOG- ZERO FIR: A Brief Overview

  1. I disagree that the zero FIR concept was introduced by Verma J..committee in 2012. In fact it is an old concept and relates as far as back to 1999 whe the IC 814 was highjacked. A 0 FIR was registered at Amritsar. This was because the aircraft moved from there to Lahore and Dubai and finally at Kandhar by the highjackers.

    Rajiv Chandok
    Advocate
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    09811050896

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