Significance of Zero FIR in Present Scenario


First Information Report (FIR) defined as a report prepared by the police regarding any complaint brought forward by an individual because of cognizable offenses. FIR is the initial stage of any investigation to be carried on by the police. Subsequently, further steps are taken based on the information provided by the complainant in the FIR.

The Justice Verma Committee established the concept of Zero FIR. This committee was set up after the Nirbhaya decision to suggest amendments in criminal law. An advisory[1] was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, based on the committee’s recommendations. The advisory stated that if it is found during an investigation that a particular case is related to another jurisdiction, it should be immediately transferred to them. Further, if at the time of registering the FIR it becomes clear that the case at hand does not belong to that police station, “the police should be instructed to register a ‘Zero’ FIR, and later make sure that it is transferred to the concerned jurisdiction under the Section 170 of the Criminal Procedure Code.”[2] It was clearly stated that if there was any delay or failure to register the FIR based on the information available, the police officer could be prosecuted under Section 166A of the Indian Penal Code[3] or any departmental action can be taken against the officer or both.[4]

Hence, zero FIR can be defined as an FIR which filed in any police station, notwithstanding the jurisdiction or place of incident. The police will then give the serial number 0 to that FIR and transfer it to the police station, where the incident took place.

Judgments Enforcing Importance of Zero FIR:

In Satvinder Kaur v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi)[5], the Supreme Court observed that Section 170 of Criminal Procedure Code[6] provides that if on the investigation, it is found that the case at hand is not committed in the particular jurisdiction, the FIR can be transferred to the police station, which has jurisdiction of area in which the crime was committed. It was also observed that the Police Officer could not be called out for investigating a case, which is later found to be not under his territorial jurisdiction.

In 2007, a writ petition Bimla Rawal and Ors v. State (NCT of Delhi)[7] was filed by the wife of the deceased husband, Mr. Ajay Rawal, after two years of his death, against her in-laws living in Mumbai. The FIR was filed in Delhi while the parties had lived in Mumbai only. The wife lived with her husband in Mumbai, except for a short period she lived in Delhi with her husband and father. On scrutiny, it was found that the complaint was concerning her stay in Mumbai. The case of Satvinder Kaur v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi)[8] referred in this case, and the Delhi High Court observed that no part of the crime was committed in Delhi and directed the police to immediately transfer the case to the place where the incidents took place, i.e., Mumbai. Though in this case, the Delhi Police did not register a Zero-FIR because it was clear at the time of filing FIR that the crime was not committed in Delhi. The same court, in Sonu v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi[9], held that if there is no allegation regarding the crime or part of the crime was committed in Delhi, the FIR should not be registered by the Delhi Police. Instead, the Delhi Police is required to register a Zero FIR.

Importance of Zero FIR in the Present Situation of Lockdown:

While the whole country is in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, disputes are still arising, and crimes are still committed. What if someone committed a crime in Maharashtra, and the victim is locked down in Madhya Pradesh? What if a particular police station comes under the red zone? What if a police station and surrounding area are declared a containment zone? What if the person is quarantined in a particular area? Where do the victims go? Which door do they know for justice? The answer to all these questions is Zero FIR. Zero FIR can be filed at any police station irrespective of where the crime is committed. Suppose a person murdered is murdered in say Mumbai, his/her relatives staying Pune can file an FIR in any police station of Pune. The police have to register it, and instead of giving the next number in the list, this FIR will be given the serial number 0 and will be transferred to the police station which has the territorial jurisdiction over the area in which crime was committed, which in this case is Mumbai. It can be registered by the victim, the relatives, or by any person who has information about the crime. People would not have to wait till the lockdown ends to go to the police station under whose jurisdiction the crime was committed. Instead, they can reach out to the nearest police station and get the FIR registered.

Point of Contention for Concept of Zero FIR:

A point put forward against the idea of Zero FIR is that the person might take advantage of this concept and file the FIR at a place where he/she has an influence and can make things work according to him/her. This contention was brought forward in the case of Bimla Rawal v. State (NCT of Delhi). It was contended that if a person has an influence in Delhi, but the crime was committed in Mumbai, the person would try to register the FIR at the police station in Delhi and can influence the police to investigate. This way, the Delhi Police has to register the FIR, and even the investigation can take place. There have been many cases where no part of the crime was committed in Delhi, yet the Delhi Police a registered the FIR initiated investigation because the complainant had influence or approach in Delhi or maybe close to someone in power Delhi.

Misuse of power to influence the police is one drawback that needs to be overcome to ensure smooth and equitable access to justice.

Zero FIR- A Mode of Easy Access to Justice:

Zero FIR is one of those modes which instill confidence among the people with regards to the police. It builds faith among the general public about the effectiveness with which the police will tackle various cases at hand without the unnecessary time-consumption. If the police try to address the problems of a common man with immediate and direct measures, the person is likely not to regret his/her decision to take the matter to the police. If the police do not cooperate and make the person wait too much and involve him in various procedures, the person will regret his decision and lose faith in the police. Zero FIR is a quick way to register a complaint as the person does not have to go to a particular place where the crime was committed. However, there still exists a loophole in the concept. If it is not taken seriously, it might destroy the motive with which the concept was brought up. Still, apprehensions aside, one should not forget the inherent benefits of the concept, which has slowly made the process of granting immediate solutions to people more comfortable.


[1] Ministry of Home Affairs, Advisory on Compulsory Registration of FIRs, 6 (October 12, 2015).

[2] The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, §170

[3] The Indian Penal Code, 1921, §166A

[4] Supra note 1.

[5] Satvinder Kaur v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), (1999) 1 SCC 728.

[6] Supra note 2.

[7] Bimla Rawal v. State (NCT of Delhi), AWC 2003 (1) SC 344.

[8] Supra note 5.

[9] Sonu v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, W.P.(Crl.) No.1266/2007

This article is written by Priyanshi Jain student of  First Year B.A.LLB. (Hons.) at West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences

Also Read: Encounter and the Law 

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