CHAPTER XII- INFORMATION TO THE POLICE AND THEIR POWERS TO INVESTIGATE (Section 154- 176), Part A- REGISTRATION (Section 154- 158), The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973


The report first recorded by the police relating to the commission of a cognizable case is the first information report, giving first information of the cognizable crime.

The term ‘first information report’ has not been defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure. But, in substance, it is that information which is given to the police-‘first in point of time.’


  • Officer-in-charge of a police station.


  • The complainant, or
  • Someone on his behalf


  • FIR is not an encyclopedia
  • It is not necessary that it should set out the minutest details of the occurrence. 


To constitute any statement as FIR, following 2 conditions must be fulfilled:

  • It must be something in the nature of a complaint or accusation or at least information of a crime to set the machinery of the police in motion.
  • It must be something in the nature of a complaint or accusation or at least information of a crime to set the machinery of the police in motion.
  • It must be related to a cognizable offence on the face of it.


  • To provide information (as its title suggests)
  • To set the police in motion.
  • For protection of society.
  • To corroborate or contradict, the maker of it.


The legal position as to the object, value and use of the first information report is well settled. As-

  • The principal of the FIR, from the point of view of the investigation authorities is to-
    • obtain information about the alleged criminal activity, so as to be able to take suitable steps for tracing, and
    • bringing to book the party.
  • Its important, as conveying the information regarding the occurrence, cannot be doubted,
    • even though, FIR does not constitute substantive evidence.
  • FIR, only be used as a previous statement for the purpose of:
    • either corroborating its maker under section 157, Indian Evidence Act, or
    • contradict him under section 145, Indian Evidence Act.

(it can by no means be utilized for contradicting or discrediting the other witnesses.)

  • Consider FIR to be- ‘first in point of time’-
    • so that the prosecution case cannot be thrown out on the ground that in the first information report an altogether different version was given by its makers.


SECTION 2(c): “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 law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant.

To bring an offence within the definition of “cognizable offence” under section 2(c) of the Code, the offence by itself should be such for which the offender can be arrested without a warrant of arrest.

A “non-cognizable offence” means an offence for which, and “non-cognizable case” means a case in which, a police officer may not arrest without warrant.

CASE: Joginder Kumar V Sate of U.P. and Others 1994 (4) SCC 260.

Section 2(c) of the Code defines ‘cognizable offence’ as an offence for which a police officer may arrest indicates that arrest is not a must in every cognizable case. It is the discretion of the police officer to arrest or not to arrest and the discretion cannot be an arbitrary one but must be guided by the principles laid down in this case.


(1)Every information relating to:

  • the commission of a cognizable offence,
  • to an officer in charge of  a police station (if given orally, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction and be read over to informant),
  • shall be signed by the informant (whether the report given is in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid),
  • the substance thereof shall be entered in a book (station diary), to be kept by such officer in such prescribed form in this behalf by the State Government.


(a)SITUATION: If the information is given by the woman who is temporarily or permanently mentally or physically disabled, and

  • against whom an offence under Indian Penal Code, 1860 (45 of 1860) under section 326A, 326B, 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376E, or 509 is alleged to have been committed or attempted.

CONSEQUENCE: Such information shall be:

  • recorded by a police officer,
  • at the:
    • residence of the person seeking to report such offence or
    • at a convenient place of such person’s choice,
  • in the presence of an interpreter or a special educator, as the case may be.

(b)the recording of such information shall be video graphed,

(c)the police officer shall get the statement of the person recorded by a Judicial Magistrate under clause (a) of sub-section (5A) of section 164 as soon as possible.

(2) A copy of the information as recorded under section 154(1), shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.

(3) SITUATION: If officer in charge of a police station refuse to record the information referred under section 154(1).


  • An aggrieved, may send the substance of such information:
    • in writing and by post,
    • to the concerned Superintendent of Police.
  • The concerned Superintended of Police shall-
    • either investigate the case himself (if, satisfied that such information disclose is the commission of the cognizable offence), or
    • direct ban investigation to be made by any police officer, in the prescribed manner in the code.
  • The police officer shall have all the powers of an officer in charge of the police station on relation to that offence.

(Section 154(1), regulates the recording of FIR, relating commission of cognizable offence.)

CASE: State of Haryana V Ch. Bhajan lal and Others AIR 1992 SC 604

In regard to section 154(1):

  • Condition which is ‘sine qua non’ for recording FIR- information,
  • information, disclosing a cognizable offence, (satisfying condition under section 154(1)),
  • officer in charge of police station, has no other option except to substance thereof,
  • enter, is to say register a case on the basis of such information.

In regard to section 154(3):

  • Concerned police officer cannot:
    • embrace upon an inquiry, as to whether information lay by informant (reliable or genuine), or
    • otherwise, refuse to register case on ground that the information (not reliable or credible).
  • On other hand, officer in charge statutorily obliged:
    • to register case, first and
    • then, to proceed with investigation,
    • investigation, if he has reason to suspect the commission of an offence which he is empowered under section 156 (subject to section 157).
  • SITUATION: Officer in charge of police station refuses to exercise jurisdiction vested in him to register case on information of commission.
    • CONSEQUENCE: such officer in charge statutory duty cast upon him under section 154 (3).


(1)Entering the substance of the information.


  • When information of the commission of a non-cognizable offence,
  • is given to an officer-in-charge of a police station, when the limits of which the offence has been committed.


  • The officer in charge of police station shall-
    • enter or cause to enter the substance of the information, in a book:
      • to be kept by such officer,
      • in such form may prescribed by the State Government, and
      • refer the information to the magistrate.

(2)Any police officer shall not-

  • Investigate a non-cognizable case, without the order of a magistrate,
  • magistrate, having power to:
    • try such case, or
    • commit the case for trial.

A police officer-receiving such order of a Magistrate, may then-

  • Exercise the same powers as an officer in charge of a police station may exercise in cognizable……
  • except, the power to arrest without warrant,
  • in respect of the investigation.

A deemed cognizable case:

SITUATION: A case relates to 2 or more offences, of which at least 1 is cognizable.

CONSEQUENCE: The case shall be deemed to be cognizable case, notwithstanding that the other offences are non-cognizable.

CASE: Chattar Singh V The State of Haryana 1980 Cri. L.J. 315, P&H High Court

  • If one of the many offences that the FIR disclosed is cognizable,
  • then it is open to the police officer, to investigate even in the non-cognizable offence.


(1)Any officer in charge of a police station-

  • may investigate any cognizable case, which a court is having jurisdiction over the local area, within the limits of such station, which would have power to inquire into or try under provision of chapter XIII,
  • without the order of a magistrate.

(2)In any case, at any stage, any proceeding of a police officer shall not be in question, on the ground that-

  • the case was one which such officer was not empowered under this section to investigation.

(3)Any magistrate, empowered under section 190,

  • may order such an investigation, as above mentioned.

The legal propositions that emerge are:

  • Where a magistrate orders investigation by the police before taking cognizable under section 156(3) of the Code and receives the final report from the police, he has power to issue notice to the complainant, record his statement band the statements of other witness and issue process under section 204 of the code.
  • A magistrate can order investigation under section 156(3) only at the pre-cognizance stage, that is to say, before taking cognizance under section 190, 200, 204 and where a magistrate decides to take cognizance under provisions of chapter 14, he is not entitled in law to order any investigation under section 156(3) though in cases not falling within the proviso to section 202 he can order an investigation by the police which would be in the nature of an enquiry as contemplated by section 202 of the Code.
  • Where a magistrate chooses to take cognizance, he can adopt any of the following alternatives:
    • He can peruse the complaint and if satisfied that better are sufficient grounds for proceedings, he can straightway issue process to the accused but before he does so, he must comply with the requirements of section 200 and record the evidence of the complainant or his witnesses.
    • The magistrate can postpone the issue of process and direct an enquiry by himself.
    • The magistrate can postpone the issue of process and direct an enquiry by any other person or an investigation by the police.
  • In case the magistrate after considering the statement of the complaint and the witnesses or as a result of the investigation and the enquiry ordered is not satisfied that there are sufficient grounds for proceeding, h can dismiss the complaint.

CASE: Tula Ram V Kishore Singh AIR 1977 SC 2401

Where a magistrate orders investigation by the police before taking cognizance under section 156(3) of the Code and receives the report thereupon, he can act on the report and discharge the accused or straightway issue process against the accused or apply his mind of the complaint filed before him and take action under section 190 of the Code.


SITUATION: An officer in charge of a police station empowered under section 156, to investigation, if:

  • has reason to suspect the commission of an offence,
  • from information received or otherwise.


  • Such officer in charge shall:
    • forthwith stand a report of the same to the magistrate, empowered to take cognizance of such offence upon a police officer, and
    • proceed to the spot, to investigate (the facts and circumstances of the case):
      • in person or
      • shall depute, one of his subordinate officers not being below such rank as the state Government may, by prescribed general or special order in this behalf and
    • take measures for the discovery and arrest of the offender.

PROVIDED: Exceptions to investigation-

SITUATION 1: When information as to the commission of any such offence is:

  • given against any person by name, and
  • the case is not of a serious nature.

CONSEQUENCE: He (officer in charge of a police station) need not proceed to make an investigation on the spot:

  • in person, or
  • deputy a subordinate officer.

SITUATION 2: It appears to the officer in charge of a police station, that there is no sufficient ground for entering on an investigation.

CONSEQUENCE: He shall not investigate the case.


  • The recording of the victim, in relation to an offence of rape shall be conducted:
    • at the residence of the victim or on the place of her choice,
    • by a woman police officer, ad far as practicable,
    • in the presence of her parents, guardian, near relatives, or social workers of the locality.

(2)The officer in charge of the police station shall-

  • State in his report, his reasons for not fully complying with the requirements of section 157(1) for its proviso clause (a) and (b), and
  • forthwith notify to the informant (in any in the prescribed manner by the State Government), the facts that the he will not investigate the case or cause it to be investigated.

CASE 1: Lal Singh V State 1980 Cri.LJ NOC 51 Raj.

  • Section 157 Cr.P.C. required reports contemplated by the section to be sent forthwith by the police officer concerned to a magistrate empowered to take cognizance of such offence.
  • This is really designed to keep the magistrate informed of the investigation of eth cognizable offences and to give appropriate direction, if necessary, under section 159 Cr.P.C. Where the copy of the FIR war received by the magistrate after two days from the day on which the alleged the fairness and genuineness of the police proceedings.

CASE 2: Govind Shanwar Chatal V Dattatraya Waman Bhanushali and another 1992 Cri.L.J. 1228, Bom.

Power of police to investigate does not flow from lodgment of the FIR. The police can undertake investigation from information received.

CASE 3: Dr. Vinod Narain V State of U.P. and others 1996 Cri.L.J. 1309 Alld. F.B.

  • Once disclosure of cognizable offence is made, arrest of the accused or suspect is a ”must”, for there is no other known method by which he may be brought before the court for trial.
  • The word “if necessary” in section 157 may at best make available a discretion to an investigating officer in a given case to defer arresting an accused or suspect if there is reasonable doubt about the identity.

CASE 4: Atique Ahmed V State of U.P. 2002 Cri.L.J. 132 (All)

  • Constitution of India, Articles 14, 19, 21, and 226- Writ of mandamus.
  • When police investigation violates rights of petitioner, a political leader, under article 14, 19, and 21 of Constitution, then judicial review under Article 226 of Constitution is permissible.


  • Every report sent to magistrate under section 157, if the State Government so directs,
    • shall be submitted through such superior officer of police (as the State Government appoint by general or special order, in that behalf).
  • Such Superintendent Officer:
    • may give such instructions to the officer in charge of the police station (as he thinks fit), and
    • shall, transmit the same without delay to the magistrate after recording such instructions on such report.