How to register an FIR

Q1. What is an FIR?
FIR is in the initial step in the investigation of a case. First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It can be lodged by the victim or by someone on his/her behalf. Furthermore, anyone who has seen the commission of the offence can register an FIR even if not directly affected. Similarly, a police officer can also register an FIR. The complainant need not be resident of the area in which the offence takes place.

Q2. What is the difference between cognizable and non cognizable and what role does this distinction play in the registration of an FIR?
A cognizable offence is the one in which the police may arrest a person without a warrant while a non cognizable offence is the one in which the police officer has no authority to arrest without a warrant.
Each and every case is to be examined and decided on its own peculiar facts and circumstances. It may be further observed that if a complainant reports an incidence to the concerned SHO it is his duty as an officer of prudent mind to examine as to whether commission of a cognizable offence is made out or not. Though the SHO is not required to examine the evidence or the truthfulness of the alleged offence however, he cannot in a mechanical manner without applying his mind at least to the extent of examining the occurrence of the alleged incidence or commission of a cognizable offence, may register an FIR in every case which may not even suggest commission of a cognizable offence.

Q3. What is the procedure for filing an FIR?

    • When information about the commission of a cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down.


    • It is your right as a person giving information or making a complaint to demand that the information recorded by the police is read over to you.


    • Once the police have recorded the information in the FIR Register, the person giving the information must sign it.


    • You should sign the report only after verifying that the information recorded by the police is as per the details given by you.


    • People who cannot read or write must put their left thumb impression on the document after being satisfied that it is a correct record.


    • Always ask for a copy of the FIR, if the police do not give it to you.


  • It is your right to get a copy of FIR free of cost

Q4. Can a telephonic message suffice for the purposes of registering an FIR?

Yes, a telephonic message can be treated as an FIR.

Q5. What are the contents of an FIR?

    • Your name and address


    • Date , time and the location of the incident you are reporting


    • The true facts of the incident as they occurred


  • Name and description of the persons involved in the incident

Q6. What steps can be taken on the refusal of the SHO to register an FIR?

No police officer has the authority to refuse registration of a case. In case a crime is reported and a case is not registered, the person who reports the crime must inform the Sub-Divisional Police Officer or the Superintendent of Police or the District Police Officer responsible for law and order in that particular area.

Maryam Hayat

Author: Maryam Hayat

The writer is a Barrister working as an Associate for Kilam Law and is also a member of the Editorial Team at Courting the Law.