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Explainer on what to do if the police refuse to register an FIR

Samuel Hall

BySamuel Hall

Jun 12, 2023

Filing an FIR (First Information Report) with the police is a crucial step in reporting a crime in India. And only after an FIR is registered, the police start the investigation. It is the first and very important document that records the commission of a crime and sets the criminal justice system in motion.

FIR is the complaint of a cognizable offence filed by the victim or someone else on his or her behalf. It can be in a written format or oral which can be recorded by a police officer in a written form. However, there may be instances when the police refuse to register an FIR, which can be frustrating and discouraging for the victim. But first, let’s know whether the police can refuse to register an FIR or not. Well, the answer to this is yes as well as no. If the police do not have territorial jurisdiction and consider the case to be based on an insignificant issue then they can refuse to file the FIR.

As per the Indian legal system, crimes are usually separated into cognizable and non-cognizable offences. FIR is lodged in case of cognizable offence and for non-cognizable offence, a complaint is submitted to the magistrate who then directs the police to take action.

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Here are some steps you can take if the police refuse to register an FIR:

Know your rights: As a citizen of India, you have the right to register an FIR for any cognizable offence (an offence where the police can make an arrest without a warrant). The police cannot refuse to register an FIR on the grounds that the crime is not serious enough or that it is a civil matter.

Ask for the reason: Ask the police officer the reason for the refusal to register an FIR. If the reason is not satisfactory, ask to speak to a higher-ranking officer or the Station House Officer (SHO) in charge of the police station.

Send a written complaint: If the police refuse to register an FIR, you can send a written complaint to the Superintendent of Police (SP) of the district or the Commissioner of Police of the city. The complaint should detail the incident, the date and time, the names of the accused, and the names of any witnesses. Enclose any relevant documents or evidence, if available.

File a complaint with the Magistrate: If the police refuse to register an FIR, you can file a complaint with the Magistrate under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The Magistrate can direct the police to register an FIR and investigate the matter.

Approach a lawyer: If all else fails, approach a lawyer who specializes in criminal law. The lawyer can file a petition in the High Court or the Supreme Court, challenging the refusal to register an FIR.

Overall, the police are duty-bound to register an FIR for any cognizable offence. If they refuse to do so, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure that justice is served. During the entire process, you need to remember to stay calm and composed and seek legal help if required.

Samuel Hall

Samuel Hall

Samuel Hall, a renowned name in the world of finance and wealth management, has devoted more than two decades to understanding the intricacies of the financial realm. As the chief contributor to WealthServing, Samuel has enlightened thousands with his insights on wealth accumulation, risk management, and smart investment strategies.