F.I.R is an exclusive written document prepared by the police for any cognizable offence that took place. As this information reaches the police immediately first in point of time after the commission of such an offence that is why it is called First Information Report. Basically, the jurisdiction lies on such a police station where the offence has been committed but FIR can be filed at any police station which is beyond the territorial jurisdictional limit of the offence and such filing of FIR is known as Zero FIR.
This article talks about what is a First Information Report (“FIR”), when it can be filed and what are the grounds of filing. The main insight of this article is focused on the ‘filing of a false Information Report’ so simultaneously have dealt with the consequences of filing a false Information Report along with the legislations of the same in accordance with the Indian law.
WHAT IS AN F.I.R?
FIR, as defined under Section 154 (1) (X) of CrPC 1973, is an information which is recorded only for cognizable offences defined under Section 2(c) of CrPC, 1973. Schedule I of the CrPC contains the list of Cognizable offences unlike a complaint. It is recorded by a police officer at the police station by the aggrieved person or by any person who is an eyewitness of an offence based on hearsay and on the basis of such facts of an offence FIR is lodged and the police embark its investigation in accordance with the jurisdiction.
Basically, the jurisdiction lies on such a police station where the offence has been committed but FIR can be filed at any police station and if is beyond the territorial jurisdictional limit of the police station where it has been filed , such filing of FIR is known as Zero FIR which was introduced by the Justice Verma Committee’s recommendation. Zero FIR after being filed at any police station with number as zero is transferred later to the designated jurisdictional police station. The concept of zero FIR is very useful as it prevents time wastage of the victim and simultaneously reduces the peril of escape of the accused. Thus, the main urge of filing FIR is to set the criminal law in motion against the accused for the committed offence. It was held in Damodar v. State of Rajasthan  that if the information was conveyed to the police on telephone and entry for the same was made, it will not constitute a FIR even if the information disclosed commission of cognizable offence .
If the police does not lodge FIR of the cognizable offence under Section 154(1) then the victim, under Section 154(3), can communicate such information of the offence to the Superintendent of Police either by post, and if still his FIR is not being registered then he can definitely approach the Judicial Magistrate of first class or of second class under Section 156(3) of CrPC where the magistrate may direct the police officer to register the FIR for that offence.
WHAT IS A FALSE F.I.R?
An F.I.R which has been filed deliberately against a person for false commission of cognizable offence just to cause harassment, mental torture, anxiety, defamation to the alleged person and to implicate the person out of hostility falsely in a cognizable offence .The cases of false FIR has been witnessed almost in every field be it society, matrimonial matters or politics.
In Rajesh Sharma & Ors v. State of U.P & Ors , the Supreme Court observed, according to the National Crime Record Bureau, 2005 that for a total 58319 cases were reported out of which 6141 cases were declared false on ground of facts or law and in 2009, 89546 cases were reported out of which 8.352 cases were declared false.
In society too there has been wide analysis of filing of false FIR cases. False FIR may be filed in order to take revenge, misuse of power and for utmost satisfaction of inner grudge and hatred that one experiences and this is very common nowadays to hear about false FIR. The report mentioned below is a renowned one. In the year 2014 various Indian newspapers reported the exact data of Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) which particularly mentioned that 53.2% of the rape cases filed in Delhi between April 2013 and July 2014 were found to be “false cases”. This is something where the utmost misuse of laws are taking place thus, defeating the sanctity of law. The police must first examine the truthfulness of the rendered information very carefully and then FIR must be lodged in order to preserve law and justice from misuse and even the Government must pass concrete legislation which will provide the due evidence of the committed cognizable offence.
In Dhiren Prafulbhai Shah v. State of Gujarat , Justice J.B. Pardiwala stated that many FIRs were filed by various political parties immediately after the election of panchayats, municipal or corporation alleging offence under the Atrocities Act and all these FIRs were false claims filed only to settle their defeats with the opponent parties in terms of scores in the election.
REMEDIES AGAINST A FALSE FIR
The intention behind filing a false FIR is “malice”. Thus, the utmost intention behind filing a false FIR is to deceive, cause mental torture, anxiety, defamation and cause loss to the accused deliberately.
Like every coin has two sides similarly there are several remedial legislations in Indian laws in order to rebuke and reprimand the alleged false FIR.
Therefore, the accused against whom the false FIR is filed can seek remedy in the case –
- When a false FIR is filed against a person for non- bailable offence , then the accused in order to seek remedy before the arrest, can apply for anticipatory bail under Section 438 of CrPC, 1973. If the arrest is made and simultaneously the charge sheet for the same is made then in this case the accused could seek remedy by approaching the High court.
In Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab , it was held that the discretion under Section 438 cannot be exercised with offences related to punishments of imprisonment for life or death unless the court at the very initial stage is satisfied that the charges are false or groundless.
- The accused may file an application to the High Court under Section 482of CrPC, 1973 to get the false and frivolous FIR quashed. Section 482 of states that High Courts have been vested with inherent powers and with such powers to make orders as would be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code or even to avoid abuse of the process of any court and to secure the ends of justice. Thus, such inherent powers are vested in High Courts in both civil and criminal matters in order to render justice to the person being falsely accused so that such person does not experience any sort of harassment by the proceedings of the court or the prosecution. In State of Karnataka v. L. Muniswamyand & Ors , it was held by the High Court that if there is no prima facie ground made against the accused and the FIR lodged is false then the High court by its inherent power may quash the FIR.
Criteria’s to quash the FIR under Section 482 of CrPC, 1973 are –
- If Prima Facie evidence is not found against the alleged person in the matter.
- If there is no commission of cognizable offence
- If in non – cognizable offence, investigation embarked without the permission of the magistrate.
- The accused may file a writ petition in High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution when the police register a false F.I.R or the subordinate court passes an order against the accused based on mistake of fact. Then the Hon’ble High Court may issue the following writs,
- Mandamus – in order to direct the police officer to render his authority lawfully.
- Prohibition – in order to stop the proceedings against the accused by the subordinate courts for false F.I.R.
- The accused after getting the F.I.R quashed can seek remedy under Section 250(1) of CrPC which states that the magistrate may order the person lodging false F.I.R to pay compensation to the accused.
- Under Section 19 of CPC,1908 the accused may seek compensation for defamation in the society after acquittal for false allegations.
PENAL PROVISIONS AGAINST FALSE FIRS
There are certain penal provisions dealing with false FIR in order to render justice to the innocent who has been accused innocently –
- Section 182 of I.P.C states that if any person deliberately lodges false F.I.R before the magistrate, government or police shall be punished with 6 months of imprisonment or fine up to 1000 rupees or both.
In the case Harbhajan Singh Bajwa v. Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala & Anr., it was held that once the made allegations are found to be false then the authority must file the complaint under Section 182 of I.P.C. The action by the authority must be initiated within one year from the date it found the allegations false.
- Section 211 of IPC states that if a person institutes a criminal proceedings based on false charges deliberately shall be punished up to 2 years of imprisonment or fine or both and if the false charges made is serious enough to render lifetime imprisonment or death sentence then such person shall be held liable with 7 years of imprisonment and fine also. Likewise, the errant cops could also be punished for intentionally causing injury to the person in terms of false FIR by using their power in unlawful means.
- Section 499 r/w Section 500 of I.P.C states that the accused after getting the false FIR quashed may file a criminal defamation case against the person who falsely lodged a FIR and is liable for 2 years of imprisonment and fine or both under section 500 of I.P.C.
- Section 167 of I.P.C states if a public servant intentionally submits a false document to cause injury to any person shall be punished with 3 years of imprisonment or fine or both.
From the above-mentioned legislations, it is evident that there are legislations to provide remedy to the accused for false FIR. But people are not aware of these legislations. So, people should be made aware of these basic remedial legislations as false F.I.R could be lodged by anyone out of enmity. As the cases of false F.I.R is increasing rapidly, a special law for the same is required to deal with the same with ease and comfort.
 AIR 2003 SC 4414.
 AIR 2017 SC 3869.
 “False rape cases filed between April – July 2014, says DCW”, IndiaToday, 29th December, 2014, available at: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/north/story/false-rape-cases-in-delhi-delhi-commission-of-women-233222-2014-12-29 (last visited on July 30, 2016).
 2016 Cri LJ 2217.
 1980 INSC 70.
 (1977) 2 SCC 699.
BY TRISHA SINGH | BANASTHALI UNIVERSITY