Police must register FIR in cognizable offence, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that police are mandatorily required to register FIR when approached by complainants willing to report a cognizable offence

Police must register FIR in cognizable offence, says Supreme Court. The verdict was declared by a five judge Constitution bench led by Chief Justice P Sathasivam. The bench, in its ruling, stated that adequate disciplinary action must be taken against all police officers who fail to register a First Information Report (FIR) on complaints against cognizable offence.

The bench also stated that all preliminary investigations must be completed within no more than seven days. The objective of preliminary investigations, according to the law, is just to evaluate whether or not the complaint provides sufficient information about a serious offence (instead of evaluating the veracity of the complaint).

The apex court further mentioned that police are allowed to launch preliminary investigation before registering an FIR only in select few cases, including matrimonial dispute, financial mishandling, corruption as well as a small number of other categories.

It is worth mentioning here that cognizable offence is those where investigative officers are allowed to arrest the accused even without warrant. If convicted, cognizable offenders can be subject to a minimum imprisonment of three years.

What is a FIR???

A First Information Report (FIR as in Wikipedia) is a written document prepared by police organizations in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is generally a complaint lodged w ith the police by the victim of a cognizable offense or by someone on his or her behalf, but anyone can make such a report either orally or in writing to the police.

An FIR is an important document because it sets the process of criminal justice in motion. It is only after the FIR is registered in the police station that the police take up investigation of the case. Anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence, including police officers, can file an FIR.

As described in law,

  • When information about the commission of a cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down.
  • The person giving information or making a complaint has a right to demand that the information recorded by the police be read to him or her.
  • Once the information has been recorded by the police, it must be signed by the person giving the information.