Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 17 August 2023

Zero FIR in Manipur violence

Source: By The Indian Express

Just days before a Zero FIR was filed in connection to an incident in the state’s Thoubal districtanother Zero FIR was filed at the same police station. In this case also, it took the authorities more than a month to transfer the complaint to the relevant police station in Imphal East.

What is a Zero FIR?

When a police station receives a complaint regarding an alleged offence that has been committed in the jurisdiction of another police station, it registers an FIR and then transfers it to the relevant police station for further investigation.

This is called a Zero FIR. No regular FIR number is given. After receiving the Zero FIR, the revenant police station registers a fresh FIR and starts the investigation.

When was the provision of Zero FIR established?

The provision of Zero FIR came up after the recommendation in the report of the Justice Verma Committee, which was constituted to suggest amendments to the Criminal Law in a bid to provide for faster trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women, according to a 2020 circular released by the Puducherry government. The committee was set up after the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape case.

“The provision says: “A Zero FIR can be filed in any Police Station by the victim, irrespective of their residence or the place of occurrence of crime,” the circular added.

What is the purpose of a Zero FIR?

The objective of a Zero FIR is to ensure the victim doesn’t have to run from pillar to post to get a police complaint registered. The provision is meant to provide speedy redressal to the victim so that timely action can be taken after the filing of the FIR.

What is an FIR?

The term first information report (FIR) is not defined in the Indian Penal Code (IPC)Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, or in any other law, but in police regulations or rulesinformation recorded under Section 154 of CrPC is known as First Information Report (FIR).

Section 154 (“Information in cognizable cases”) says that “every 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 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 entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe”.

Also, “a copy of the information as recorded…shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant”. In essence then, there are three important elements of an FIR: (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.

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