What is a Cognizable Case?
- What is a Cognizable Case?
- Information in Cognizable Case
- Lalita Kumari Case Law
- Ways of Lodging FIR
- Zero FIR
- What if the Police Deny Registering FIR?
- Important Points of FIR
Information in Cognizable Case
No statutory regulations have been provided in the Criminal Procedure Code to determine the nature of an offence as a cognizable or non-cognizable one. However, the code under Schedule I categorises certain offences as cognizable and non-cognizable ones.
Cognizable crimes are heinous in nature, which embraces offences like rape, murder, theft, waging war etc. In cognizable cases, the information is given to the nearest police station, which registers the FIR and starts the investigation. As the nickname cites, the First Information Report (FIR) is the report (according to provisions of section 154 CrPC) that is first given to the police to start the investigation. In other words, it is a document on record that narrates the victim’s side of the story.
Lalita Kumari Case Law
The registration of FIR has been made mandatory as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Lalita Kumari vs the Government of UP. Any person can approach the police station to register an FIR.
After the police officer receives the written information from the informant properly signed and the details of the crime mentioned therein, the details are entered in a book kept in the police station in a format prescribed by the State Government. A copy of the information recorded shall be given to the informant free of cost. If the information is given orally to the police officer, it is reduced to writing by the concerned police personnel citing every detail of the crime, which is then signed by the informant (thumb impression in case of an illiterate person).
Ways of Lodging FIR
Here are three methods to lodge an FIR in India:
1. Online mode: By logging on to the concerned website (police website of the concerned state) and entering all the details. A confirmation receipt with the FIR number and other details is generated at the end, representing that the FIR has been registered successfully.
2. Offline mode: By visiting the nearest police station and giving the information orally or in writing to the concerned officer.
3. Registered post: By sending the duly signed and properly formulated letter with all details of the offence to the concerned police station via registered post.
The name zero FIR is different from an ordinary FIR in that it is an unnumbered one because it can be filed in any police station, irrespective of jurisdiction. Later the FIR has to be transferred to the police station having jurisdiction after investigation and with Magistrate orders. The concept of zero FIR was coined after the Justice Verma Committee Report in the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013 (after the 2012 December gang rape).
Note: If the police fail to register the zero FIR, he might be prosecuted under section 166A of IPC and other consequential actions.
Case Law: In Satvinder Kaur vs the State of Delhi, the Supreme Court had said that the police could even investigate the case, which does not fall within its jurisdiction limits.
Requirement for Zero FIR: In certain cases, information gathering from crime sites, sample collection etc., has to be performed immediately. So to avoid the delay in investigation completion and arrest of the accused, Zero FIR is an important tool.
What if the Police Deny Registering FIR?
1. Any person aggrieved by the refusal on the part of the officer concerned has the option to approach the concerned Superintendent of Police, who, if satisfied, shall investigate the case himself or direct the investigation to an officer subordinate to him.
2. A complaint can also be made to the Magistrate under section 200 CrPC either orally or in writing. After that, the Magistrate will conduct a hearing and take further action.
3. A writ of mandamus can also be filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution at the concerned State High Court or under Article 32 at the Supreme Court of India to direct the police officials to perform their duty and register the FIR.
Important Points of FIR
Here are some of the essential points related to FIR:
- The authenticity of the information shall not be a condition precedent for lodging of FIR.
- If the nature of an offence is not clear, it indicates the necessity of a preliminary inquiry.
- If inquiry states the nature of the offence as a cognizable one, FIR must be registered.
- If the inquiry results in the closure of the complaint, reasons must be cited in the entry, and a copy must be provided to the informant within a week.
- No court order is required to start an investigation in case of cognizable offences.
- The police officer can suo moto register a cognizable case, start an investigation, and proceed with arrests without the court’s order.
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