What is a Zero FIR?
Zero FIR is similar to the FIR, which is filed physically in the Police Station. The difference between the FIR and the Zero FIR is that FIR is registered by the informant/victim near the police station where the incident has occurred and where the police station has the jurisdiction to investigate, whereas a Zero FIR can be lodged in any police station irrespective of the place where the incident happened without a serial number or with the serial number ‘0’.
Section 154 in The Code of Criminal Procedure says that whenever an informant visits a police station to register a complaint, the information is written by the police officer to keep a record in the book as directed by the State Government. The informant is also provided a copy of the FIR free of cost. An FIR is registered when the offense committed is cognizable in nature.
Meaning of Zero FIR
The concept of zero FIR was propounded to be inserted in the Criminal Law Amendment by Justice Verma’s Committee after the Nirbhaya Rape Case incident. The term ‘FIR’ stands for First Information Report, prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is a report of information that reaches the police first in point of time.
Zero Fir is about lodging an FIR in any police station irrespective of the area where the offense was committed. There is no restriction over the informant/victim to lodge a zero FIR in India. In Zero FIR, the police is bound to lodge the complaint when an informant/victim visits the police station. Then it can be transferred to another police station in whose jurisdiction the offence has occurred.
Objectives of a Zero FIR
Zero FIR is a more efficient way to file a complaint without any hassle or inconvenience.
- To avoid delay or any other kind of disruptions.
- To make sure the investigation is done properly.
- To make bound the police to take the jurisdiction.
- To enable the case to proceed fast.
- Timely jurisdiction is taken immediately after the registration of the FIR.
Salient Features Of Zero FIR
Initiates Immediate Action
Once a Zero FIR is lodged, the police cannot transfer the case to the appropriate police station without initial action or investigation. Crimes like murder, accident, rape, sexual assault, etc., require the police to act immediately. That is, they need to collect information from eyewitnesses, circumstantial evidence, etc. Such collections can be done only after filing an FIR because such evidence are crucial, and protecting them from corruption is necessary.
Police Station Cannot Deny to Register
According to section 154 CrPC, If a police station receives any information relating to the commission of a cognizable offense, the said police station is duty-bound to register the FIR. However, if the crime has 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 offense was committed. “A Zero FIR can be filed in any police station irrespective of a person’s residence or the place of occurrence of crime.” So any police officer cannot deny the registration of such an FIR even if the offense is committed outside the police station’s jurisdiction.
The Victim is Protected
The concept of a Zero FIR was to ensure that the victim is protected against any legal technicalities. It makes sure that justice is not delayed or denied. The procedure is helpful for smooth proceedings.
Helpful While Travelling
If any crime is committed while travelling, the victim can visit the nearest police station on their journey and lodge a Zero FIR. It is then the responsibility of the police station to convey it further to the appropriate police station.
Helpful In Spreading Awareness
The idea of Zero FIR is new, and often the police themselves are not aware of the reform. In a Hyderabad rape case, the police refused to file an FIR, citing lack of territorial jurisdiction as the reason. Even citizens themselves are often unaware of their legal rights and do not know that they can lodge a Zero FIR in any police station of the country. We should be aware of our rights, so we can educate and spread awareness about the judicial system amongst the common mass.