Registration of FIR: Issues and Solutions

Registration of FIR is the most complicated problem of administration of criminal justice system of Pakistan. As per the interpretation of Section 154, CrPC the SHO is duty bound to register every information disclosing commission of any cognizable offence but unfortunately ground reality is totally different. It depends upon multiple factors whether a FIR should be registered or not. It is the daily routine of almost all SHOs to violate the mandatory directions of Sections 154 and 155 CrPC, 1898. Sometimes, police officers have been guilty of floating the court orders for registration of FIRs as well.

For registration of a FIR following factors have to been seen by police officers; firstly, who is the complainant? Secondly who is the expected accused? Thirdly what are the allegations? And lastly the face behind the case. But in many cases like theft, robbery and dacoity police officers are hesitant to register FIRs in order to conceal their bad performance and sometimes political influence also does matter.

FIR is the button; which initiate the criminal justice system; no FIR, no investigation, no conviction. FIRs are registered to evaluate the criminal statistics. Hence whenever a complaint is denied to be converted into FIR; it resulted in miscarriage of Justice in every such case. It is the legal right of every person who has knowledge of any offence to cause the criminal machinery into motion through FIR. The SHO is the operator of this criminal justice system machine.

FIR is the first step toward administration of justice. Upon registration of FIR investigation is started. After complication of investigation a trial starts which results in convictions or acquittals. Simply, rapist, murderer, thief etc cannot be tried and convicted without registration of FIR. The legislature is very clear upon this point. Whenever a complaint is received it shall be converted into FIR. In spite of this clear command, there are still 47,029 cases pending for registration of FIRs in Lahore High Court.

The jurisprudence of Criminal Procedure Code, 1898, and Police Rules, speak loudly that a police officer is not allowed to inquire into or investigate of any offence unless an FIR is not registered. It is common practice in every police station that after receiving complain, FIR is not registered, instead of incorporating it, the police officers have made an illegal register No. 5B.  The police officers decide whether FIR should be registered or not. It is not only illegal but also unconstitutional and against the spirit of CrPC because every investigation prior to registration of FIR is illegal.

Unsuccessful applicant starts first round of litigation in shape of application under sections 22 A/B CrPC and knocks the door of justice of peace. The second round of litigation starts before High Court under Article 199 of the Constitution of Pakistan. The judges of higher courts spend their valuable time in deciding such applications. The judiciary has to suffer an unnecessary burden of work just because of inefficiency of police officers.

A huge disadvantage of non-registration of FIR is missing of criminal statistics of accused and relevant statements. Late registration of FIR is another big problem as it is well settled principle that justice delayed justice denied.

All the above issues need some solutions.  First of all non-registration of FIR must be declared as a penal offence having severe punishments for police officers. A new chapter must be legislated and inserted in PPC.

Secondly the applications received by the existing computer cells may be given status of FIR through delegated legislation or notification.

Lastly FIR registration booths should be constructed in police station with inbuilt camera installations. Any person can go there and record his audio/video which should be converted into FIRs.

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