Zero FIR is the kind of First Information Report that can be filed in any police station regardless of the existing jurisdiction of that police station or the place of such an incident. Once investigation is conducted with respect to such an FIR, the same is then transferred to that police station having the required or which has the competent jurisdiction. Every FIR is registered using a serial number in a police station but as far as zero FIR is concerned, although it is registered, it is not numbered. The police station of competent jurisdiction where the case is transferred then numbers it and further acts upon it. Before transferring the FIR to the concerned Police station, it is mandatory on the Police station where the Zero FIR is filed to indulge in some prelude investigation into the case before leading it to the competent Police Station.
Section 460 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973 states that if any Magistrate not empowered by laws to call for cognizance of an offence positioned in section 190 (a) or (b) erroneously but in good faith does take cognizance, the proceeding minutes will not be set aside merely on the grounds of not being empowered for same. The provision of Zero FIR had come up as a recommendation in Justice Verma Committee Report in the new Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, which was formulated after the Nirbhaya rape case in 2012. If while filing an FIR, it becomes apparent that the Police Station does not have the required jurisdiction, then the Police must be appropriately ordered to register a Zero FIR. A failure in complying with the instruction of FIR registration after acknowledgment of information about the offence, would result in prosecution of the concerned Police officer under Section 166A which provides for rigorous punishment of six months be extended to two years.
Keeping this mind, The Delhi High Court directed the Commission of Police, Delhi to take action against the police officers who refused to register ‘Zero FIR’ for their inaction as per law and further directed the Commissioner of Police to issue a circular to all the police stations regarding the mandate to file register such a Zero FIR in case of incompetent jurisdiction. In the case of Kirti Vashisht v. State and ors, the Complainant had to go to four police stations as the rest of the three refused to file an FIR due to lack of jurisdiction. The Petitioner submitted that the harassment meted out to the Petitioner at the hands Senior Inspector of Kapashera (one of the police stations) and other swere duly reported to the Commissioner of Police but not action was taken. While taking cognizance of the issue, the Single bench of the Delhi High Court held that,
“Accordingly, I hereby direct the Commissioner of Police, Delhi to issue circular/ Standing order to all the Police Stations in NCT of Delhi and all concerned that if complaint of cognizable offence is received in a Police Station, and offence occurred in jurisdiction of other Police Station, in that case, the Zero FIR shall be lodged by the Police Station which has received the complaint and thereafter shall be transferred to the concerned Police Station.”
The concept of Zero FIR is the need of the hour, especially in crimes which endanger or directly impact the life and limb of the people. The Police Stations need to be made aware of such a provision and the procedure therein.
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