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Zero FIR

Zero FIR is a FIR that can be filed in any police station regardless of the place of incidence or jurisdiction. The Supreme court in the case of Lalita Kumari vs. Government of U.P had observed that it is mandatory to register an FIR under Section 154 of Code of Criminal Procedure  if the complaint is related to a cognisable offence.

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What is ZERO FIR

  • Zero FIR is a FIR that can be filed in any police station regardless of the place of incidence or jurisdiction.
  • The same is later transferred to the Police Station having competent jurisdiction after investigation and filing with a magistrate.
  • What  distinguishes Zero FIR from Ordinary FIR is that in the latter, FIR is registered by a serial number in police station but in the former one an FIR is instituted at any Police Station other than the jurisdictional Police Station concerned, that is the place where incident took place, and such an FIR is registered but not numbered.
  • Such unnumbered FIR  simply is then forwarded to the concerned Police Station where it gets numbered and further acted upon.Hence those FIR’s are known to be Zero FIR’s.
  • For instance an Offence is committed within the jurisdictional limit of ‘A’ police station & FIR is lodge at ‘B’ police station. Then by the procedure, if it is revealed that the offence is committed within the jurisdiction limit of the other police station the FIR will be channelize to that police station as ZERO number FIR.
  • The Police Station registering the Zero number FIR is required to make some prelude investigation into the case before directing it to the concerned Police Station.

Compulsory registration of FIR u/s 154 Cr.P.C when the information makes out a cognizable offence

  • Advisory of the Ministry of Home Affairs dated 10-05-2013  regarding the registration of FIR irrespective of territorial jurisdiction and zero FIR.
  • We had made it clear that as per section 154(1) of the Cr. P.C. a police officer is duty bound to register a case on the basis of such information disclosing a cognizable offence.
  • We had also  made  it  clear  that  when  it  becomes  apparent  that  even  if  the  offence  has  been committed outside the jurisdiction of the police station, zero FIR would still be registered and the FIR would be then transferred to the appropriate police station as per Section 170 of the Cr. P.C.
  • The Apex court in the case of Lalita Kumari vs. Government of U.P had observed that it is mandatory to register an FIR under Section 154 of Code of Criminal Procedure  if the complaint is related to a cognisable offence.
  • registration of FIRs and had held that registration of FIR either on the basis of the information furnished by the informant when it makes out a cognizable offence u/s 154(I) of the Cr. P.C. or otherwise u/s 157 (I) of the Cr. P.C. is obligatory.
  • It is important to note here that any police officer who refuses to file a Zero FIR can be punished under Section 166A of the Indian Penal Code which contemplates rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 6 months extending till two years.
Background: Following the gruesome Nirbhaya incident in Delhi in December 2012, the then government set up Justice Verma Committee to recommend amendments to the Criminal Law. Based on the committee’s report, the Home Ministry, on 10 May 2013, issued an advisory to all states and union territories asking the police to register Zero FIR if an informant comes with the details of a cognizable crime irrespective of the jurisdiction.


Cognizable Offence

  • “Cognizable offence” means an offence for which, and “cognizable case” means a case in which, a police officer may, in accordance with the First Schedule or under any other law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant.
  • Cognizable offences are those offences which are serious in nature. Example- Murder, Rape, Dowry Death, Kidnapping, Theft, Criminal Breach of Trust, Unnatural Offences.

Non-Cognizable Offence

  • A non-cognizable offence or a non-cognizable case has been defined in the Criminal Procedure Code as an offence for which the police have no authority to arrest without a warrant. Non-Cognizable offences are those which are less serious in nature. Example- Assault, Cheating, Forgery, Defamation, etc.
  • Section 155 of CrPc provides that if a police officer receives information regarding the commission of a non-cognizable offence, he is supposed to enter the substance of the case in the station diary and refer the informant to approach the concerned Magistrate.Under a Non-Cognizable offence/case, in order to start the investigation, it is important for the police officer to obtain the permission from the Magistrate.

Value Addition:

  • Andhra Pradesh : Director General of Police D. Gautam Sawang has said all police stations in the State have been asked to implement the ‘Zero FIR’ rule which spares people in need of urgent help the hassle of making the rounds of police stations to lodge a complaint. The decision comes in the wake of the case of sexual assault and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad whose family was allegedly denied registration of FIR at a police station due to jurisdiction issue.
  • The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday directed the State government to issue direction to the Director-General and Inspector General of Police (DG&IGP) to inform police officers to ensure immediate registration of First Information Reports (FIRs) on receipt of complaints of cognisable offences irrespective of whether the area falls under the territorial jurisdiction of the police station or not.

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