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Citizens Corner

What is cognizable Offence?

In Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), theoffences are divided into two categories; one Cognizable and the otherNon-cognizable. Police is empowered to register the FIR and investigate onlythe cognizable offences. Police can arrest an accused involved in cognizablecrime without the warrant from the Court. Theft, robbery, murder and rape aresome instances of cognizable offences.

What is Non-cognizable Offence?

The category of offences as per CriminalProcedure Code (CrPC) in which Police can neither register the FIR nor caninvestigate or effect arrest without the express permission or directions fromthe court are known as Non-cognizable offences. These mostly include minoroffences such as abusing each other, minor scuffles without injuries,intimidation etc. Now, you can also file onlinecomplaints. Yourcomplaint shall be referred to the concerned Police Station, where you may becalled for further clarification and/or to give statement.

What the Police Station does with acomplaint pertaining to Non-cognizable offence?

As per Cr.PC, Police Station is requiredto record an abstract of such complaint in the General Diary which is calledN.C. and advise the complainant to file the complaint in the concerned court aspolice is not empowered to initiate action in such matters without thedirections of the court. A copy of the entry made in the General Diary may beprovided to the complainant free of cost.

What is First Information Report (FIR)?

Report pertaining to occurrence of acognizable offence, received at the Police Station is called First InformationReport, popularly known as FIR. Since it is the first information about thecognizable offence, it is called First Information report. On receipt of thisinformation police registers the report in a FIR Register and begins theinvestigation of the crime.

What to do if the Police Station refusesto register the FIR?

If the Police Station refuses toregister FIR, substance of the information in writing can be sent by post tothe Assistant Commissioner of Police or Deputy Commissioner of Police ofthe respective zone or Commissioner of Police. If satisfied that theinformation discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, shall get the FIRregistered and investigated.If the FIR is still not filed, you may file an RTIOR file a complaint to the State Home Ministry, OR file a private complaintwith the Magistrate u/s 190 of CrPC OR file a Vigilance/ Anti-CorruptionComplaint against the police officers.

Are any kind of fee or charges to bepaid to police for registration of FIR?

Absolutely not. Police is not to be paidany fee or money for registering the FIR and subsequent investigation. Ifanybody in the police station makes such a demand, a complaint shouldimmediately be made to the senior police officer as mentioned above.

Is the complainant entitled to a freecopy of the FIR?

Yes, definitely. As per CriminalProcedure Code (Cr.PC) it is mandatory on the part of police to provide a copyof the FIR, free of cost to the complainant.

Is it an offence to register/ lodgefalse FIR?

Yes. Lodging of a false FIR/complaint ispunishable under IPC. Such an informant/ complainant can be proceeded againstunder section 182 IPC or under section 211 of IPC by the police. Private personagainst whom false FIR/complaint has been lodged can also file complaint in thecourt for the offence of defamation. Section 182 of IPC states whoever givesany public servant any information which he knows or believes to be false,intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will therebycause, such public servant:-

(a) to do or omit anything which suchpublic servant ought not to do or omit if the true state of facts respectingwhich such information is given were known by him, or

(b) to use the lawful power of suchpublic servant to the injury or annoyance of any person.

Shall be punished with imprisonment ofeither description for a term which may extend to six months, or with finewhich may extend to one thousand rupees or with both.


‘A’ falsely informs a policeman that hehas been assaulted and robbed in the neighbourhood of a particular village. Hedoes not mention any name of a person as one of his assailants, but knows it tobe likely that in consequence of this information the police will makeenquiries and institute searches in the village to the annoyance of thevillagers or some of them. ‘A’ has committed an offence under this section.

Section 211 of IPC states whoever,with intent to cause injury to any person, institutes or causes to beinstituted any criminal proceeding against that person, or falsely charges anyperson with having committed an offence, knowing that there is no just or lawfulground for such proceeding or charge against that person, shall be punishedwith imprisonment of either description for a term, which may extend to sevenyears, and shall also be liable to fine.

Are any charges to be paid for gettingthe injured medically examined or for putting up challan in the court?

No, the entire investigation of thecase, including the medical examination of the injured and submitting challanin the court, is part of Government duty for which no charges are levied by thegovt. If any demand for money is made at any stage of investigation, acomplaint should immediately be made to the senior police officers.

What is a Billable offence?

In billable offences, the accused canclaim bail as a matter of right. Police is supposed to release such an accusedon bail if he is prepared to give bail at any time while he is in the custodyof a Police Officer.

What is a Non-Billable offence?

In non-billable offences, the accused isnot entitled to bail as a matter of right. Police invariably does not take bailin such cases and only the Court grants bail. The list of billable and non-billableoffences is given in the first schedule of the Cr.PC.

Can the police call someone forinvestigation, even if granted anticipatory bail by the court?

Yes, certainly. The court only forbidsthe arrest but does not prevent police from calling the accused forinvestigation. Intact, invariably it is one of the conditions of theanticipatory bail that the accused shall make himself available forinvestigation as and when required by the investigating officer. Refusal to doso may entitle the investigating officer to move the court for cancellation ofanticipatory bail. In case the investigating officer finds that a criminal caseis made out against an accused granted anticipatory bail by the court, he willnot arrest him but will release him on bail, even if the offence is Non-Billable.

What is preventive arrest?

Police is empowered to arrest a personwhen it is satisfied that doing so is essential in order to prevent occurrenceof a cognizable offence. This is the most common situation in which policeeffects a preventive arrest. Police can also make preventive arrests under specialLaws such as National Security Act, PITNDPS etc against dreaded criminals, Itis also done under Section 151 of CrPC which states (1) A Police Officerknowing of a design to commit any cognizable offence may arrest, without ordersfrom a magistrate and without a warrant, the person so designing, if it appearsto such officer that the commission of the offence cannot be otherwiseprevented.

What are the rules for detention ofwomen by the police?

Between 6 pm and 6 am, a woman has theright to REFUSE to go to the Police Station, even if an arrest warrant has beenissued against her. It is a procedural issue that a woman can be arrestedbetween 6 pm and 6 am, ONLY if she is arrested by a woman officer and taken toan ALL WOMEN police station. And if she is arrested by a male officer, it hasto be proven that a woman officer was on duty at the time of arrest.

When policemakes an illegal arrest?

Police officers empowered to investigatea case and file a charge-sheet under Section 173 of CrPC, 1973, are alsoempowered to make arrests. Whenever police intends to arrest a person, it isobligatory for them to:

(a) to clearly inform him about thealleged offence-Section 50 of CrPC 1973;
(b) immediately inform a friend or relative about the arrest and the place ofhis custody-Section 50-A
(c) for a billable offence, the accused must be informed about his right ofimmediate release on furnishing of bail (surety) (Section 50-A) or by executinga bond (Section 441 of CrPC, 1973) in lieu of bail.

However, if you are illegally arrested,you can make an oral/ written complaint before the local magistrate’s courtrequesting immediate cognizance of the complaint and pointing to illegalconfinement of the person by the police.

One can also complain to: State HumanRights Commission, National Human Rights Commission, Supreme Court or torespective high court.

Why Police doesnot remove encroachments?

Police is not empowered to removeencroachments from public lands under any law, even when complained about. Itis the job of the agency entrusted with the administration of the land i.e.Estate Officer, Municipal Corporation, Mumbai. The job of the police is toprovide police assistance for maintaining law and order when sought by suchagencies.

Why Police doesnot remove Liquor shops when public complains about such shops?

There are two kinds of liquor shops; onelicensed by the State Excise Department and second not licensed by the StateExcise Department. Police is empowered to take legal action against only thoseliquor shops, which run without a valid license from the State ExciseDepartment. Only the State Excise Department is authorized to take any actionincluding the cancellation of license of the licensed shops.

How to deal witha dishonoured cheque?

One can adopt arbitration proceedingsfor the recovery of cheque amount. The orders passed by the arbitrators can beenforceable like a decree of the court. A “Summary Suit” can be filed in thehigh court/district court for the recovery of dishonoured cheque amount.

Issue a statutory notice, within 30 daysfrom the date of dishonour, under Section 138 of Negotiable Instrument Act,1881, followed by filing a criminal complaint to the JudicialMagistrate/Metropolitan Magistrate under Section 200 of CrPC.

If the dishonoured cheque was given byan individual or a proprietorship/partnership firm, a notice (not statutory)followed by an “Insolvency Petition” in the high court or in the district courtcan be filed against that individual/proprietor/partners.

If the dishonoured cheque was given by aprivate or public limited company, a Statutory Notice under Sections 433 / 434/ 439 of the Companies Act, 1956, followed by a “Winding-up Petition” can befiled in the concerned high court against that company.

A complaint under Section 200 of CrPC,1973, to the Judicial Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrate, may be filed for theoffence of cheating against individuals/ proprietor/ partners/ officials of thecompany.

Basedon contribution by Adv Shreyas Rao; Money life Foundation and personalexperience of the author of this website.


What is Complaintand its Importance

A complaint means a grievance expressedby a person to state certain things/facts. Any person who has a certain kind ofgrievance to some fact, condition, state of affairs etc. may put a complaint toStation House Officer within the local jurisdiction of whose police stationthat incident has occurred. A complaint can be public as well as private innature. Any person can file acomplaint and itis not necessary that only an aggrieved person can file a complaint. Many atimes it is seen that in rape cases the victim is often not in a condition tofile a complaint due to stress and fear. In such cases, any person havingknowledge of incident like parents, relatives, friends etc. are allowed to filea complaint. A criminal case begins from the filing of a First Information Report (FIR). It is the first stage in criminalproceedings.  Hence, the importance of a complaint throughout the case cannever be under emphasized.

Many a times it is seen that a person isunable to get justice even after setting the criminal law in motion due to notproperly mentioning/stating the relevant facts in their complaint. The sameeven leads to dismissal of the case by the Courts. There are various reasonsassociated with the fact that why sometimes even genuine complaints fail in thecourt of law. One such reason is that most of the times the police officials onduty at the time of registering complaint are not themselves vigilant. Secondis generally the public misses out important and relevant facts and emphasizeon overstating the true facts of the case.

Where to file the Complaint?

The informant/ complainant should go tothe police station having jurisdiction over the area (where the offence iscommitted) and report to officerin-charge/ station house officer. In case information is given on telephone, the informant/ complainant should subsequently go to the police stationfor registration of F.I.R.

Who is the officer on duty?

If the officer on duty is not present,what are the alternatives to get the paperwork done (complaint, FIR)?

The senior most Police officer availablein the Police Station at any point of time, (SHO or his subordinate above therank of a constable) is the officer-in-charge, or the duty officer.

 If the SHO / Inspector is not present, a Sub-Inspector or HeadConstable will bethe officer-in-charge, who will receive complaint or lodge FIRs.

 What to do if the Police Stationrefuses to register the FIR?

In all cognizable offences it ismandatory on the part of the police station to register the FIR. However, ifthe Police Station refuses to register the FIR, a complaint shall be made tothe senior police officer. The complaint can be made to the Concerned CircleOfficer, Addl. SP or the Superintendent of Police of the concerned District.These officers will get the FIR registered and investigated

Are any kind of fee or charges to bepaid to police for registration of FIR?

No, Police is not to be paid any fee ormoney for registering the FIR and subsequent investigation. If anybody in thepolice station makes such a demand, a complaint should immediately be made tothe senior police officers.

 It must be filed immediately. If there isany delay, mention it in the form.

If given orally, it MUST be taken downin writing and explained to you by the officer in charge, at a Police Stationwithin the jurisdiction of which the offence has takenplace.

Be very specific

1.     There should be four copies recorded simultaneously,with carbon sheets in place.

2.     It must be recorded in first person. Docheck in which language this needs to be done.

3.     Avoid complicated, technical words,terminologies and unnecessary details.

4.     Try not to overwrite or score out words.

5.     Ensure that the arrival/departure timeis mentioned in the F.I.R and in the Daily Diary (DD) Register at the PoliceStation

It must contain authentic information,including these necessary bits of information:

Whatinformation do you want to convey?
–In what capacity are you providing the information?
–Who is the perpetrator of the crime?
–Who has the crime been committed against – victim /complainant?
–When was it committed (time)?
–Where was it committed (specific place /locality/area)?
–Why do you think it was committed?
–Which way (actual process involved) was it committed?
–Were there any witnesses? (Names will be required here.)
–What were the losses? (Money /valuables/ possessions /physical damage etc.)
– What were the traces at the scene of the crime? (Weapons/evidence if any.)

After completion, you MUST carefullyread the document and sign it.

It must be recorded by the officer inthe book maintained for this purpose by the State Government.

You have the right to and must get acopy of it for your records.  You are not required to pay for the same.

You are not required by law to give anaffidavit.

Never file a false complaint or givewrong information to the police. You can be prosecuted under law for givingwrong information or for misleading the police.—[Section 203, Indian Penal Code1860]

Having known all these facts, we cangenerally succeed in a court of law by simply putting in required informationand get the accused behind the bars.

" The BPR D has a mandate to promote excellence and best values in policing, invest in research & development, seek and secure a ppropriate technology for optimum performance and invest in human resource development and training... "

- Navneet Rajan Wasan, IPS
Director General