Zero FIR

Zero FIR

A Zero FIR (First Information Report) is a type of FIR filed in India when a crime is reported in one police station's jurisdiction, but the incident occurred in another police station's jurisdiction.

The concept of Zero FIR was introduced to ensure that immediate action is taken in serious criminal cases without delay due to jurisdictional issues.


When a crime is reported, even if it occurs outside the jurisdiction of the concerned police station, the main goal of a Zero FIR is to ensure that no time is lost in starting the investigation and legal proceedings.  

Victims can promptly report the crime without worrying that they will be turned away due to jurisdictional concerns by allowing any police station to accept the FIR.

The Zero FIR mechanism aims to strengthen victim rights and quicken the criminal justice system, allowing for immediate action against offenders.

Origin and Evolution of Zero FIR


  • To address the problem of jurisdictional barriers when reporting crimes that happen in one police station's jurisdiction but are reported in another, the concept of Zero FIR was introduced. 
  • This system became well-known in India as a result of a ruling by the Supreme Court in the "Lalita Kumari vs. Government of Uttar Pradesh" case from 2003. Regardless of jurisdiction, the court ruled that police must file FIRs as soon as possible, especially in cases of serious offences like rape, murder, etc.


  • Prior to the implementation of the Zero FIR system, victims had difficulty getting their complaints registered when the incident occurred outside the territorial jurisdiction of the police station.
  •  By encouraging immediate reporting of crimes and facilitating seamless transfer of cases between police stations, the evolution of Zero FIRs aimed to overcome this limitation and promote easier access to justice.

When was the provision of Zero FIR established?

  • The Justice Verma Committee was established to recommend changes to the Criminal Law in an effort to expedite trials and impose harsher penalties on criminals accused of sexual assault against women. 
  • According to a 2020 circular released by the Puducherry government, the Justice Verma Committee's recommendation in its report was what ultimately led to the introduction of the Zero FIR provision. 
    • The committee was set up after the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case.
  • The victim may file a Zero FIR at any police station, regardless of where they live or where the crime took place, according to the provision, the circular continued.

Key Features and Characteristics

  • Simple Access: Because there are no FIRs, victims can report crimes at any police station, regardless of where the incident occurred. This ease of access reduces the time it takes to begin the investigation.
  • Transfer Mechanism: In order to conduct a thorough investigation and take appropriate legal action, the Zero FIR is subsequently transferred to the relevant police station with territorial jurisdiction. 
  • Time Sensitivity: The Zero FIR concept emphasises the importance of timely reporting of crimes, particularly serious offences such as sexual assault, kidnapping, or murder, in order to prevent the loss of vital evidence and enable swift action against the perpetrators.
  • Empowerment of Victims: Zero FIRs give victims more power because they do not need to go to the particular jurisdictional police station to file a complaint. By doing this, victims are protected from pointless bureaucratic roadblocks when looking for justice.
  • Efficient Criminal Investigations: Zero FIRs contribute to more efficient case handling by allowing for immediate registration and investigation of crimes, potentially improving the chances of gathering critical evidence and identifying suspects.
  • Reduced Territorial Constraints: By removing the traditional boundaries of territorial jurisdiction, zero FIRs allow the police to respond to crimes that occur in various locations without delaying the filing of complaints.
  • Prevention of Police Apathy: Police apathy or hesitation to file complaints because of jurisdictional concerns is less likely when there are zero FIRs. The police are required by this mechanism to respond quickly and to take each complaint seriously.
  • Jurisdictional Clarity: While Zero FIRs permit initial reporting irrespective of jurisdiction, the transfer mechanism ensures that the case ultimately lands in the hands of the police station with the proper territorial authority to handle the investigation and legal proceedings.

What is an FIR?

  • Police often refer to information that is recorded under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) as a "First Information Report" (FIR). 
  • This term is not defined in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, or any other law. 
  • Information in cognizable cases is governed by Section 154, which states that "[e]very information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and shall be read over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be
  • Additionally, "a copy of the information as recorded...shall be given forthwith, free of charge, to the informant." 

So basically, a FIR has three crucial components:

(1) the information must relate to the commission of a cognizable offence, 

(2) it should be given in writing or orally to the head of the police station and, 

(3) it must be written down and signed by the informant, and its key points should be recorded in a daily diary.

Significance and Advantages of Zero FIR

  • Timely Reporting of Crimes: Zero FIRs enable immediate reporting of crimes, ensuring that law enforcement agencies are notified immediately and that investigations can begin without needless delays.
  • Unrestricted Jurisdictional Reach: By removing the boundaries of territorial jurisdiction and enabling seamless reporting, victims can lodge complaints at any police station, regardless of where the crime occurred.
  • Preservation of Crucial Evidence: Zero FIRs reduce the possibility of evidence loss or tampering by starting investigations as soon as possible.
  • Empowerment of Victims: By enabling victims to seek justice without encountering administrative obstacles, the Zero FIR mechanism makes sure that their complaints are taken seriously.
  • Swift Action in Serious Offences: Zero FIRs enable immediate action in serious offences like sexual assault or kidnapping, increasing the likelihood of apprehending suspects and averting further harm.
  • Effective Use of Police Resources: In order to avoid a backlog of cases in some areas and to make the best use of the resources at hand, Zero FIRs distribute the caseload among various police stations.
  • Accountability of Law Enforcement: In order to foster a sense of responsibility and diligence in the police force, police stations that receive Zero FIRs are expected to promptly register and address complaints.
  • Reduced Administrative Delays: The absence of FIRs speeds up the beginning of investigations by reducing administrative delays brought on by administrative processes, reluctant officers, or jurisdictional disputes.
  • Public Trust in Law Enforcement: The effectiveness and accessibility of Zero FIRs help to increase the public's faith and confidence in law enforcement organisations.
  • Effective Handling of Interstate Crimes: When crimes occur across state lines, coordination between various state police forces is facilitated by Zero FIRs, resulting in a unified and coherent investigation.
  • Preventing Delayed Justice: The timely delivery of justice is aided by zero FIRs, which are essential in ensuring that cases do not get lost in the shuffle and experience delays.
  • Compliance with Legal Requirements: A fair and just legal system is supported by the concept of Zero FIRs, which ensures that judicial and legislative requirements are followed.

Legal Framework and Zero FIR

Relevant Sections of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)

Section 154: First Information Report (FIR)

  • This section lays down the provisions for the registration of a First Information Report, which includes Zero FIRs.

Section 156(1): Police Officer's Power to Investigate Cognizable Offenses

  • This section empowers a police officer to investigate any cognizable offense without requiring any order from a magistrate, including offenses reported through Zero FIRs.

Section 157: Procedure for Investigation in Cognizable Cases

  • This section outlines the procedure that police officers must follow while investigating cognizable offenses, which includes cases initiated through Zero FIRs.

Section 177: Ordinary Place of Inquiry and Trial

  • Section 177 deals with the general rule that the offense shall be inquired into and tried by a court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed, except in cases where a Zero FIR has been registered.

Limitations and Challenges of Zero FIR:

  • Awareness and Public Knowledge: Lack of awareness among the general public about the concept of Zero FIRs can hinder their utilization and effectiveness.
  • Jurisdictional Conflicts: Confusion or disputes may arise regarding the appropriate police station to register the Zero FIR, leading to delays and legal complexities.
  • Legal Ambiguities and Interpretations: Varying interpretations of Zero FIRs by different courts can create uncertainties and challenges in their application.
  • Interstate Coordination: In instances of crimes that cross state borders, coordinating investigations between different state police forces can be challenging.
  • Limited Use in Non-Cognizable Offenses: Zero FIRs are typically applicable to cognizable offenses; however, in cases of non-cognizable offenses, the procedure may not be suitable.
  • Potential Misuse: There is a risk of misuse or false reporting of crimes through Zero FIRs, which can strain police resources and affect genuine cases' prioritization.
  • Resource Allocation: Uneven distribution of workload among different police stations due to Zero FIRs may lead to resource management issues.
  • Influence on Jurisdictional Investigations: Transferring cases between police stations may impact the continuity and effectiveness of the investigation.
  • Limited Tracking Mechanism: The tracking and follow-up of transferred cases can be challenging, potentially affecting accountability and case resolution.
  • Recording and Data Management: Maintaining accurate records and tracking Zero FIRs can be demanding, leading to data management challenges.

It is essential to address these limitations and challenges to enhance the practicality and efficiency of Zero FIRs in the criminal justice system. Clear guidelines and awareness campaigns can help overcome these obstacles and maximize the benefits of this crucial mechanism.

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