What is Zero FIR?
- It means that a FIR can be filed in any police station (i.e. Irrespective of place of incident/jurisdiction) and the same can be later transferred to the appropriate police station having competent jurisdiction after investigation and filing with a magistrate.
- The police officers who fail to comply with the registration of Zero FIR may invite prosecution under Section 166A of IPC and also departmental action.
- The provision of Zero FIR came up as recommendation in Justice Verma Committee Report in the new Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, devised after the December 2012 gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in the territory.
- What is the difference between Zero FIR and ordinary FIR? In Ordinary FIR, FIR is registered by a serial number in police station but in the Zero FIR, 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 such FIR is known as Zero FIR.
- In the case of Satvinder Kaur vs. State (Government of NCT Delhi), High Court had quashed the FIR filed at Delhi police station by the complainant. The Supreme Court overturned it and held that police can investigate the case, which does not fall under their jurisdiction.
- Certain incidents require immediate action on part of the police (like collecting samples, getting information from eye witnesses, etc.); in such a situation police cannot excuse themselves saying that the case does not fall within their jurisdiction. This will hamper the very objective of the police force, i.e. to maintain law and order. It spares people in need of urgent help the hassle of making the rounds of police stations to lodge a complaint.
Some references on mandatory registration of FIR or Zero FIR
Lalita Kumari v. Government of U.P. Supreme Court observed that it is mandatory to register a FIR under Section 154 if the complaint is related to a cognizable offence In State of Andhra Pradesh v. Punati Ramulu and Others where the constable refused to lodge the FIR by the informant who was the nephew of the deceased and an eye witness of the crime on the grounds of jurisdictional limitations, the court observed the failure of duty of the police constable and emphasized on his legal obligation to record the information and then transfer it to the competent police station
In Kirti Vashisht v. State of Delhi & Ors: As per section 154 Cr.P.C., if any information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence is received by any Police Station, the said Police Station is duty bound to register the FIR. However, if the crime is not occurred in the jurisdiction of the said Police Station, then after registering the Zero FIR, the same has to be transferred to the concerned Police Station for investigation, where the offence has been committed A Zero FIR can be filed in any police station by the victim, irrespective of their residence or the place of occurrence of crime.
Registering an FIR was made mandatory for the police after the Amendment. No police officer can refuse to register an FIR, if the offence being reported occurred outside their police stations jurisdiction. He/ She is bound to register the FIR (this is called a zero FIR) and forward it to the concerned police station
In Hari Prasad vs State Of Punjab And Ors on 26 February, 2016, Chandigarh Police registered the Zero FIR
“On 14.9.2015 they stated to have left for Delhi at around 2.30 P.M. It also comes out that both of them reached Delhi on the next day around 3:00 A.M. Mohit Verma made a phone call to the father of the deceased, namely, Hari Parsad Joshi -petitioner that his son is unwell. Hari Parsad Joshi requested Mohit Verma to bring him to Chandigarh. Lateron, on 15.9.2015 at 1:00.p.m. the petitioner received a phone call from Police Post GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh regarding the receipt of dead body of Shubham Joshi being brought to the hospital. The Chandigarh Police on receiving the intimation visited the hospital and recorded the statement of Pardeep Joshi, on the basis of which Zero FIR dated 17.9.2015 was registered at Police Station Sector 34, Chandigarh, under Section 304 IPC. The copy of the FIR was sent to the Delhi police for information. However, the Delhi police washed their hands saying that they have no jurisdiction. This is, how the controversy has arisen as to which Police Station, has to investigate the FIR?”
In Javed vs State Of Haryana on 28 January, 2021 , Zero FIR Registered in NUH, Haryana- Girl Child
As per allegation in the FIR, which was initially a Zero FIR, it was stated that a girl child (name withheld), aged about 15 years, had given a statement before Women Police Station, Nuh that they are five brothers and sisters and she is the youngest amongst all of them and her other siblings are married. It was further stated that her brother Javed was committing rape upon her forcefully for the last one year and when she shared this trauma with her family members, they, instead of helping her, rather threatened her to keep her mouth shut. Due to this misconduct, she left her home on 05.03.2020 and reached her aunt’s (Bua) house at Sohna bypass. On coming to know this fact, her mother brought her back to her home. Thereafter, petitioner Javed son of Noor Mohd., who is a friend of victim’s brother Javed, took her to his village, where his mother Asharfi was present. The victim ran away from the house and reached village Pinangawan by taking a lift in a tempo, where a lady informed the police and rescued the girl child. The victim, however, stated before the police that her brother Javed was sexually exploiting her for last one year, whereas, petitioner Javed was keeping an evil eye on her. On this, the present FIR was registered.
In Dharmender Singh vs State Of Haryana on 11 September, 2018 , ZERO FIR registered in Jhajjar. On a written complaint dated 16.1.2018 submitted by the victim addressed to S.H.O Women Cell, Jhajjar against the present petitioner Dharmender, his brother Raj Kumar and mother Dhanpati, formal F.I.R. was registered. After registration of the F.I.R. at Women Cell Jhajjar as ZERO Zero FIR Indian Kanoon 1 F.I.R., it was transferred to Police Station Women, Dadri. The investigation in the case started. The accused was arrested on 10.4.2018.
DELHI HIGH COURT
Mr. Suresh Kumar Kait, J.
Indian Penal Code, 1860 Sections 376 , 506 , 509 and 385 Prayer for quashing of FIR – Held, though belatedly, FIR has been registered, instant petition has become in-fructuous – It is not disputed that if the complaint is received of any cognizable offence at a Police Station and the offence was not committed within its jurisdiction, the Police Station is duty bound to register a ‘ Zero FIR’ and thereafter, transfer it to the concerned Police Station – This has not happened in the present case due to which the petitioner made complaint of sexual harassment against respondent no.2 which culminated into FIR – Since the charge sheet has already been filed in FIR no. 414/2019, if the facts come otherwise, the Police officials concerned are directed to file supplementary charge sheet and/or take action as per law – Petition disposed of.
Also Read: Can a lawyer be present during interrogation? What to do in case of apprehension of third degree torture by police during interrogation?
- Lalita Kumari v. Government of U.P.
- In State of Andhra Pradesh v. Punati Ramulu and Others
- Kirti Vashisht v. State of Delhi & Ors
- Hari Prasad vs State Of Punjab And Ors
- Javed vs State Of Haryana on 28 January, 2021
- Dharmender Singh vs State Of Haryana on 11 September, 2018
Author is practicing advocate at Punjab and Haryana High Court Chandigarh.