What Do You Do When You Can’t File An FIR?

Know your rights in the event that they are being trampled! An FIR is one of the basic protective and corrective measures that any Indian citizen has. 


If you would like to report a crime, then your first stop is the police station. Registering an FIR is the first step to receiving justice, and for the alleged criminal, punishment. But what do you do when the Police Officer refuses to file an FIR? Well, first you ask for the Senior Office to hear your request. If that is additionally denied, you have to deliver a written complaint to the nearest Judicial Magistrate. You can even e-file this complaint. Upon reading your complaint and agreeing with it’s merits, the Magistrate will order the police to register your FIR. Once the complaint has been registered, save the receipt of the same.
Sometime, Police Officers deny filing FIR’s on various grounds. One of those include the lack of necessary territorial jurisdiction. In addition, crimes are classified into ‘cognizable’ and ‘non-cognizable’ offences. In ‘Cognizable’ offences, an FIR is required while a Magistrate directs the police to take action in a ‘Non-Cognizable’ offence. Crimes which are ‘Cognizable’ allow Police officers to arrest without a warrant. Examples of such Cognizable offences are Murder, Rape, Dacoity, Rioting etc. Non Cognizable offences relate more to mental and ‘white-collar’ crimes, including Forgery, Cheating and Fraud. A Magistrate is required to issue a warrant for the Police to take action.

If the police refuse to file an FIR relating to a cognizable offence within it’s jurisdiction, then the Senior Police Officer or Commissioner of Police can be approached with a written complaint. If the case has merit, the subordinate police offers will be ordered to register the FIR. If a   refusal is forthcoming from the Senior Police Officer, then the written complaint can be addressed and given to the nearest Magistrate or the Metropolitan Magistrate.

A citizen has the further relief of a Writ of Mandamus from the respective High Court. This Writ is issued against the specific Police Officer to give valid reasons for refusing to acknowledge or register the FIR. A Contempt petition can also be filed against the Officer in cases of Civil matters in the respective High Court. This petition can be submitted to the Chief Justice of the High Court or the Chief Justice of India for the Supreme Court to take action on their own.


A Writ Petition can also be filed in the respective High Court in order to recover Damages/compensation during the course of not registering the FIR that led to frustration/deprivation of Life and Liberty of any Person under Article 21 of Constitution of India. A Police officer can be jailed for upto 2 years for refusing to file an FIR on Judicial Grounds.



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