By Trishla Jasani & Sneha Kupekar
(Edited by Sheela Sail- DCP Enforcement, Mumbai Police) *
1. Receipt of Information Under Section 154 of CRPC a complaint of any cognizable offence can be made telephonically or through an application or in person by the victim or a person familiar with the facts of the case. If the victim is present at the time of lodging a complaint, then the FIR can be filed immediately. However, if the complaint is made by a third party or telephonically or through an application, then the police firstly visit the place of occurrence and speak with the victim to ascertain the facts of case and then record the FIR. If the complaint is lodged out of jurisdiction, then the FIR can be filed and then transferred to the relevant police station.
2. Registration of FIR The child victim is interviewed by a police officer, sometimes in presence of a social worker. A lady officer/constable is present throughout all the process if a female victim is involved. If a lady constable is unavailable then the police have a list of NGO?s, Social Workers, Doctors and the Mahila Dakshata Committee through which a lady witness is made available. If urgent medical/ psychological attention is needed, then it has to be done before the FIR is registered. However, a precise station diary entry has to be made. While filing an FIR, it is important to ensure that all the ingredients mentioned in the relevant section of the IPC and other acts are recorded in the FIR.
First Information Report (FIR)
First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is a report of information that reaches the police first in point of time and that is why it is called the First Information Report.
Anyone can file an FIR as long as they have knowledge about a cognizable offence. When an oral report of an offence is given, the police are required to write it down and read it back to you if you want them to. The FIR must be signed by the person giving the complaint. It is your right to get a copy of the FIR free of cost. If it is not given to you please ask for it. The FIR must include the name and address of the person filing the complaint, date, time and location of the offence, true facts of the incident and names and descriptions of people involved as well as witnesses.
Please ensure that you never make a false complaint, give wrong information, exaggerate or distort facts or make unclear or vague statements.
In the case that your FIR has been refused or not lodged you may write a complaint to the Superintendent of Police, file a private complaint in a court having jurisdiction. 21
3. Concurrent action to be taken at the time of registration of FIR Steps that are taken after a complaint is lodged :
1) FIR is registered
2) A separate team takes the victim to the hospital
3) Another team is sent to the place of occurrence
4) A team is sent to pursue the offender
5) If the accused is absconding, neighbouring police stations are informed
6) Either manually or computer generated sketch of the accused is dispatched
7) In case of serious offences, immediately all the details are conveyed to the control room, so that the information can be relayed throughout all the police stations in the city
8) If required legal aid is offered.
4. Medical examination of the Victim This usually takes place at government hospital. The medical officers are instructed to immediately arrange for this examination as soon as requisition is received. A lady has to be present at the time of the medical examination of the victim. Consent has to be obtained, along with a signature of a witness. The victim of 12 years and above is eligible to give valid consent for such examination. However, if the child isn?t in the mental state to give the consent, then the guardian?s signature is obtained. An FIR is not required for conducting the medical examination.
5. Examination of place of occurrence Immediate visit to place of occurrence is necessary for collecting physical & oral evidence. A police team is deputed to ensure that the evidence isn?t tampered. After that, collection of the physical evidence like samples of blood, sperms, pubic hairs, nail clipping, clothes on body for forensic tests is done & panchanama is drawn. The police officers will also gather other information including statements from witnesses & also about the alleged offender.
6. Medical examination of accused The accused is examined for collection of physical evidence.
7. Role of Child Welfare Committee Production of child victim before CWC is important. Parallel enquiry is conducted by the probation officer, who submits enquiry report to CWC which help the police to investigate the case. CWC keep a child in protection home if he/she is in need of care & protection. Child guidance clinics provide necessary counseling and other services for the protection of the child.
8. Submission of the charge sheet. All evidence relating to the IPC sections mentioned in the FIR has to be submitted along with the charge sheet. FIR, panchanama, witness statements, medical experts opinion, forensic experts opinion are the primary documents of evidence. If the accused is already in police custody, then the charge sheet has to be submitted within 60/90 days depending on the Penal Section, otherwise the permission of the court has to be obtained for extension. The evidence & statement gathered by the police will be reviewed by the Public Prosecutor. He will decide whether there is enough evidence to file charge sheet. The documents on which the public prosecutor is relying will also be provided to the accused.
9. The Role of Media Disclosure of identity of the rape victims is an offence U/s 228 (A) of the Indian Penal Code. Under trial offences should not be given exposure in media as it creates negative impact. Media should be used to make public awareness & to create fears in the minds of wrong doers.
* Mrs. Sheela Sail is the present Deputy Commissioner of Police, Enforcement, Crime Branch, Mumbai City, Maharashtra. She has 10 years experience as a police officer and 7 years experience as a research officer.
* Trishla Jasani was working as a Consultant Program Coordinator at CHILDLINE India Foundation.
* Sneha Kupekar is currently working as Assistant Program Coordinator at CHILDLINE India foundation.