Criminal Accountability: Delaying And Non-Registration Of Fir


Police are the first point of contact to which people look up to when there is an issue with the peace and harmony of the society. The primary process of bringing any crime to the notice of the administrators of justice is filing of a complaint. Under the Criminal Procedure Code,  section 154 talks about filing of first-hand complaint, formally known as First Information Report (FIR).  The quickness in reporting of the offence and the registering of the same by the police is important for fair investigation of the matter. The idea of FIR first came into being in the year 1872 during the reign of the British, who made it mandatory for the offence, cognizable in nature to be recorded in FIR Book. As the concept of FIR is seen to be the first available opportunity to bring crime to light, it has been seen, for quite a long time that the administrators of justice have often refused to register the complaint of the victim or anyone who has seen the crime happening. Delay in recording the complaint has led many cases being unheard and is contrary to the very notion of justice that FIR tends to provide when it comes to investigation. In this paper, we’ll try to bring to the table the current situation in recording of FIR and its related provisions, why is it delayed and the punishments and remedies that can be sort by the victims.

What does the Section 154 of CrPC says?

To begin a probe into a cognizable offence or situation, an investigating officer must initially get the First Information Report (FIR) related to the cognizable offence, which can be obtained without the Magistrate’s approval, and enter it in the general diary, pursuant to Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

[Image Sources: Shutterstock]

legal cases

The first subsection of section 154 makes it plainly clear that only felonies are eligible for the filing of a FIR. Cognizable offences are ones in which the accused can be detained by police with no a warrant. In some situations, the police may proclaim a crime to have happened and initiate an investigation without the consent of a court. Non-cognizable crimes, on the contrary, are those in which the police are unable to obtain an indictment without first obtaining court clearance.

Non-Registration of FIR

The non-registration of FIRs poses significant issues within the legal framework, obstructing justice delivery. This absence hampers timely investigations, allowing criminals to evade consequences. Victim rights are compromised, eroding trust in law enforcement. Critical evidence might be lost, impairing fair trials. Furthermore, it fosters a culture of impunity and corruption.

State of Andhra Pradesh v. Punati Ramulu[1], the apex court observed that the police officer refused to enter the FIR on receiving an information about happening of a cognizable offence, and did enter after reaching the scene and after due discussions that the investigation became tainted.

Similarly, in the case of Abhay Nath Dubey v. State of Delhi[2]The police declined to file a FIR, and the High Court ruled that when a cognizable offence was evidently disclosed and he had no choice but to launch a full-fledged investigation in order to determine the true nature or validity of such information and accusations and reach conclusions and make the investigation redundant, refusing to register a FIR would be a violation of Section 154(1).

The landmark case of Lalita Kumari vs Government of Uttar Pradesh[3], the apex court decided on the pressing issue of whether the police is bound to register FIR upon receiving information regarding happening of cognisable crime under section 154 of CrPC.The following are some of the many guidelines laid by the Apex Court w.r.t registration of FIR:

  1. Section 154 of the Code requires the filing of a FIR if the information reveals the commission of a cognizable offence, and no preliminary investigation is permitted in such a case.
  2. If the received information does not reveal a cognizable criminal but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, an initial investigation may be conducted solely to establish the possibility that a cognizable offence has happened or not.
  3. If the inquiry discloses a crime that is cognizable, the FIR must be filed. If the preliminary inquiry leads to the complaint being closed, a copy of the record of such closure must be delivered to the original informant as soon as feasible and no later than one week. It must give succinct reasons for dismissing the complaint and not proceeding further.
  4. If a cognizable offence is disclosed, the police officer cannot evade his responsibility to record the offence. If information obtained by him reveals a cognizable offence, action must be pursued against erring officials who fail to lodge the FIR.

Delay in Registration of FIR

In situations of cognisable offences, the police wait in transferring the FIR to the magistrate, causing the trial to be delayed and the accused to escape the clutches of the law. In situations of theft, the police are hesitant to file a FIR and instead file a non-cognizable report (NCR), which does not oblige them to investigate promptly. Because there’s no time restriction for submitting the Non-Cognizable Report to the magistrate for an order of inquiry, there is some laxity in this regard. When the signs of crime, such as theft or chain snatching, have been washed away, the Non-Cognizable Report is sent to the magistrate.

Consequences of Non-registration of First Information Report

Refusal to record FIR by the investigating officer is dereliction of his duty, this attracts punishment under IPC.

Section 166A of the Indian Penal code says, that if any public servant refuses to record any information of happening of cognizable offence given to him under section 154(1) of CrPC shall be punished under various sections namely,

  • Section 354, 354A, 354B, 354C
  • Sub-section 2 of 354D
  • Section 376, 376A-376E
  • Section 509

The public servant shall be punished for the imprisonment of not less than 6 months which can be extended to a period of 2 years and fine.

Section 221 of Indian Penal Code, A public servant who is legally bound to apprehend or confine a person charged with or accountable to be apprehended for an offence, and who intentionally fails to apprehend such person, or intentionally allows that individual to get away, or deliberately assists such individual in escaping or trying to get away from such confinement, shall be imprisoned for a duration of up to 7 years, 3 years, or 2 years, depending on the gravity of the offence.


  • Awareness amongst public

The police should make it easier for people to register FIRs by providing more information about the process and by assuring them that their cases will be investigated fairly. They should also work to dispel the fear of police that many people have. When an FIR is registered, the informant should not be required to go to the magistrate court to prove that it is genuine. This requirement can be a burden for victims of crime although the end result is dissatisfaction.

  • E-filing of First Information Report

Some Indian states have implemented E-FIR, including Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand etc. The ability to file a virtual FIR should be made compulsory in every stateacross the country, and a new provision of the CrPC should be added to this effect. The fundamental and standard information required in a FIR, if documented in the first occurrence, will aid in the investigation and judicial procedure. Online FIR would also maintain a watch on law enforcement and compel them to conduct their job thoroughly.

  • Deadline for Report Submission to Magistrate

Sections 154 and 156 of the CrPC lack a time restriction for submitting the report of investigation to the magistrate. There is no question that the police force is swamped with cases and would like to have fewer FIRs on file since it becomes a responsibility to investigate. However, filing a FIR with the magistrate on the following working day brings the offence to the magistrate’s attention, and police officers will be more tenacious in settling the matter. The legislation must be made more rigorous in this respect, with police employees explaining any delays in passing reports to magistrates, and punitive measures for unjustified delays in transmitting reports to magistrates included in the law.


Non-registration of FIR is a serious issue that has a number of negative social impacts. It can discourage victims of crime from coming forward, make it difficult to investigate crimes, and allow criminals to go unpunished. It can also erode public trust in the police and the criminal justice system. There are a number of reasons why FIRs may not be registered, including police apathy or corruption, Lack of awareness of the law among the public, Fear of reprisal from the accused, the victim’s own reluctance to get involved in the legal process. The social impact of non-registration of FIRs can be far-reaching. It can lead to an increase in crime, a decrease in public safety, and a breakdown of the rule of law. It can also have a negative impact on the victims of crime, who may feel that they have been denied justice. There are a number of things that can be done to address the issue of non-registration of FIRs, including raising awareness of the law among the public, improving police training and accountability, providing support to victims of crime, making it easier for victims to register FIR. By taking these steps, we can help to ensure that FIRs are registered in all cases of cognizable offences, and that victims of crime receive the justice they deserve.

Author: Nupur Singhin case of any queries please contact/write back to us via email to or at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorney.


  • Delay In First Information Report: A Critical Analysis, Legal Service India,
  • Non-Registration of FIR: A Myth or Reality, LinkedIn,
  • Non-Registration of FIR by police and its consequences, Tripaksha Litigation,,(c)%20of%20the%20IPC.

[1]State of Andhra Pradesh v Punati Ramulu, (1993) SC 2644

[2]Abhay Nath Dubey v State of Delhi and Ors, (2002) DLT 114

[3] Lalitha Kumari v Government of Uttar Pradesh, (2012) SC 1515

Leave a Reply



  • May 2024
  • April 2024
  • March 2024
  • February 2024
  • January 2024
  • December 2023
  • November 2023
  • October 2023
  • September 2023
  • August 2023
  • July 2023
  • June 2023
  • May 2023
  • April 2023
  • March 2023
  • February 2023
  • January 2023
  • December 2022
  • November 2022
  • October 2022
  • September 2022
  • August 2022
  • July 2022
  • June 2022
  • May 2022
  • April 2022
  • March 2022
  • February 2022
  • January 2022
  • December 2021
  • November 2021
  • October 2021
  • September 2021
  • August 2021
  • July 2021
  • June 2021
  • May 2021
  • April 2021
  • March 2021
  • February 2021
  • January 2021
  • December 2020
  • November 2020
  • October 2020
  • September 2020
  • August 2020
  • July 2020
  • June 2020
  • May 2020
  • April 2020
  • March 2020
  • February 2020
  • January 2020
  • December 2019
  • November 2019
  • October 2019
  • September 2019
  • August 2019
  • July 2019
  • June 2019
  • May 2019
  • April 2019
  • March 2019
  • February 2019
  • January 2019
  • December 2018
  • November 2018
  • October 2018
  • September 2018
  • August 2018
  • July 2018
  • June 2018
  • May 2018
  • April 2018
  • March 2018
  • February 2018
  • January 2018
  • December 2017
  • November 2017
  • September 2017
  • August 2017
  • July 2017
  • June 2017
  • May 2017
  • April 2017
  • March 2017
  • February 2017
  • January 2017
  • December 2016
  • November 2016
  • October 2016
  • September 2016
  • August 2016
  • July 2016
  • June 2016
  • May 2016
  • April 2016
  • March 2016
  • February 2016
  • January 2016
  • December 2015
  • November 2015
  • October 2015
  • September 2015
  • August 2015
  • July 2015
  • June 2015
  • May 2015
  • April 2015
  • March 2015
  • February 2015
  • January 2015
  • December 2014
  • November 2014
  • October 2014
  • September 2014
  • August 2014
  • July 2014
  • June 2014
  • May 2014
  • April 2014
  • March 2014
  • February 2014
  • January 2014
  • December 2013
  • November 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • August 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • September 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010