Insights into FIR Registration: Analysing Important and Recent Legal Developments

FIR: First Investigation Report

FIR: First Investigation Report

Introduction to FIR

FIR stands for First Investigation Report. The term FIR is not defined in the Indian Penal Code 1860, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (“CrPC”), or any other law. So, as understood from the full form, FIR is the report first recorded by the police relating to the commission of a cognizable offence is the FIR. To understand FIR, we should understand the terms cognizable and non-cognizable offences. The term cognizable offence is defined under section 2 (c) of the Criminal Procedural Code (“CrPC”) which means an offence in which a police officer may arrest without a warrant.[1] The term non-cognizable offence is defined under section 2(l) of the CrPC which means an offence for which a police officer has no authority to arrest without a warrant.[2] The FIR is a crucial document that starts a legal process by giving important details regarding the offense committed or the person suspected of committing it. It may be a crime, a public health issue, or both. This document is crucial in giving police officers guidance on how to carry out their investigations moving forward. Both sides in the case need to have this document.[3]


Registration and Framework of FIR

As mentioned earlier, there is no specific definition of the FIR, however, the Section 154(1) of the CrPC discusses the procedure for filing the FIR. It states 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”.[4]

This simply means that the FIR is:

  • Information regarding the commission of a cognizable offence,
  • Which shall be given by an aggrieved party to the police,
  • A police officer shall reduce it to writing,
  • It shall be signed by person giving it,
  • Information shall be entered in a book kept by such officer.

Further, Section 154(3) of the CrPC states that if a police officer refuses to file the FIR under Section 154(1), then an aggrieved person may approach the Superintendent of Police by sending the substance of such information in writing or by post.[5]

Landmark Judgments of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India

There are several cases regarding the registration and importance of the FIR passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, however, there are few which are regarded as landmark cases. One such landmark case is Lalita Kumari vs. Government of U.P. (2014)[6] in which the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held that if the information reveals the commission of a cognizable offence, the filing of a First Information Report is compulsory under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and that no preliminary investigation is allowed in such a case. A preliminary investigation may only be carried out to determine whether a cognizable offence is disclosed if the information obtained indicates the need for an investigation but does not reveal a cognizable offence. Similarly, in the recent case of Sindhu Janak Nagargoje vs. State of Maharastra 2023[7], the Hon’ble Supreme Court reiterated and pronounced judgment in line with the landmark decision of the Constitution Bench in Lalita Kumari v. State of U.P. (2014). The Supreme Court summarised the law regarding mandatory FIR registration, the scope of the preliminary inquiry, the responsibility of the Police Officer, etc.

Challenges and Future Direction

The Central government has recently passed three new criminal laws – The Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bhartiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) 2023, and the Bhartiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023. The three laws are set to substitute the Indian Penal Code 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act 1872 from 1st July 2024. So, as per the new law, the BNSS is a new CrPC. BNSS is a “citizen-centric approach” as it explicitly states the supply of a copy of the FIR to the victim and informs them about the progress of the investigation, including by digital means.[8] BNSS provides the following statutory mandate which isn’t provided under the current CrPC[9]:

  1. Zero FIR- It means that FIR can be lodged at any Police Station irrespective of where the incident has taken place.
  2. E-FIR: Section 173 of the BNSS provides statutory recognition for electronic registration of the FIR.
  3. Preliminary Enquiry: Section 173 (3) of the BNSS provides statutory recognition to preliminary enquiry for cases punishable with 3 years or more but less than 7 years.


Understanding the importance of FIR registration and the latest changes influencing its framework is crucial as the legal environment around it changes. It is imperative for law enforcement and the general public to have a thorough understanding of the complexities surrounding FIR registration, including its definition, the registration procedure, and recent court rulings. The Supreme Court’s crucial rulings in Lalita Kumari v. Government of U.P. (2014) and Sindhu Janak Nagargoje v. State of Maharashtra (2023) highlight the importance of preliminary inquiries and the requirement that FIRs be registered for cognizable offences.

A revolutionary change in criminal justice processes is heralded by the upcoming implementation of the Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bhartiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and Bhartiya Sakshya Adhiniyam. To improve accessibility and openness in the legal process, the BNSS provides citizen-centric features like Zero FIR, E-FIR, and statutory recognition of preliminary inquiries. These legislative changes represent a step in the right direction toward a criminal justice system that is more fair and effective and that informs and empowers victims at every stage of the investigation.

In essence, as we navigate through these legal developments, it’s essential to uphold the principles of justice, accountability, and accessibility in FIR registration, ensuring fair and timely resolution of criminal matters for everyone.


[1] See Section 2 of the CrPC.

[2] Ibid 1.

[3] Nimisha Dublish “What is a First Information Report” 23rd Sep 2023 Link:

[4] See Section 154 of the CrPC, Link:

[5] Ibid 4.

[6] W.P. (Crl) No; 68/2008, Link:

[7] 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 639. Link:

[8] Thomas A., Change in mindset needed for new laws: CJI DY Chandrachud, 21st April 2024 Link:

[9] Khanna G., Registration of FIR Under The Bhartiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (New CrPC), 02ND jAN 2024, LiveLaw. Link:

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