Generally, an ordinary FIR is filed, recorded and numbered in a police station within whose jurisdiction an incident takes place. Whereas, in the case of a Zero First Information Report (FIR), an FIR is only filed (and not numbered) in any police station regardless of where the incident has taken place. In such a case, the police station, later on, transfers the FIR to the police station that has the jurisdiction to investigation the matter.
The Provision of Zero FIR was introduced into Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, upon the recommendation of Justice Verma Committee, after the December 2012 Nirbhaya Rape Case. According to the said Report, if there is a failure in lodging a Zero FIR by any police officer, it would attract a rigorous imprisonment of six months extendable upto 2 years. Such act or omission may also invite departmental inquiry upon the officer.
Further, the Central Government has also asked all the State Governments to make amendments in state laws with respect to registration of Zero FIR. The main motive to introduce the concept of Zero FIR is to avoid delay in filing of offence and also to avoid wastage of time which otherwise would have an adverse impact on the victim. This would also help the police officers to arrest the offenders as soon as possible.
In today’s scenario, where grave offences like accident, murder and rape, demand immediate action from the authorities, a Zero FIR enables the police to take preliminary action against the offender, instead of deciding the territorial jurisdiction of the crime.
But various experts have reportedly stated that although provisions related to Zero FIR are in place, but the practical implementation is yet to be made. For instance, in the recent murder and rape case of Dr Priyanka Reddy in Hyderabad, her sister was made to run from one police station to another to lodge a FIR against the offenders. Thus, it is widely believed that it would take time and effort for creating awareness amongst the public about Zero FIR and then, for the Zero FIR concept to become a practical reality.
The Indian Lawyer