At what point will an FIR become a court case?

Based on the FIR that you file, the police will conduct an investigation. The result of that investigation will be submitted by the police to the Court in the form of a charge sheet. At this point the judge will decide on whether the person who is being accused is guilty or not. This is when the criminal case actually begins. To explore more on the process of charge sheet, read our explainer on Charge sheet.

Can the police refuse to register my FIR?

No, it is mandatory for the police to register an FIR. If they do refuse, the information can be sent to the Superintendent of Police in writing. He may conduct the investigation himself or order his subordinate police officers to carry it out

Who can file an FIR

You can file an FIR if you are:

  • A victim of a crime.
  • A relative or friend or acquaintance of the victim.
  • You have knowledge about a crime that has taken place or is about to take place.


It is not necessary that you must have all information about the crime in order to file an FIR. But it is important that you report everything you know to the police.


An FIR in itself is not a criminal case filed against someone. It is just information received by the police relating to the commission of a crime. A criminal case begins when the chargesheet is filed by the police before the Court and a Public Prosecutor is appointed by the State. 

How to file an FIR

If a crime has taken place:


  • Go to the nearest police station: The police station does not necessarily have to be in the area where the crime has been committed. Please download the ‘Indian Police at your call’ app to find the nearest police station.

For Android Users:


 For Apple Users: 

When you go to the police station to file the FIR, the following happens:


  • You will be directed to the Duty Officer. You can either verbally tell the officer what happened, or write down the details yourself. If you tell the police verbally, then they must write it down.


  • The Duty Officer will then make an entry in the General Diary or Daily Diary. 


  • If you have a written complaint with you, please carry two copies and give them to the Duty Officer. Both will be stamped and one will be returned to you. The stamp bears a Daily Diary Number or DD No. and is proof that they received your complaint.


  • Once the police have read it out, if all the details are correct, you can sign the FIR. You have the right to get a copy of the FIR for free. Note the FIR number, date of FIR and the name of the police station. In case you lose your copy, you can use these details to access the FIR online for free.


After registering the FIR, the contents of the FIR cannot be changed. However, you can give additional information to the police later on at any point.

In some states and cities, certain kinds of FIRs and complaints can be registered online. For example, in Delhi an online complaint can be filed for cases of missing persons or children, unidentified children or persons or dead bodies, senior citizen registration, stolen or unclaimed vehicle search or missing stolen mobile phones.


Where can an FIR be filed

An FIR can be filed at any police station. The fact that the crime may not have been committed in that police stations jurisdiction has no consequence to the filing of the complaint. It is mandatory for the police to record the information provided, and then transfer it to the police station in whose area/jurisdiction the offence took place. For instance, if a crime was committed in North Delhi, the information can even be registered with a police station in South Delhi.


This concept is generally referred to as “Zero FIR” and was introduced in 2013. Before the introduction of Zero FIR,  massive delays were caused because the police station would record the information only in the area where the crime occurred. 

FIRs filed for Women Related Offences

If you want to give information about any of the following offences, then such information has to be registered by a woman police officer or any other woman officer: 

  1. Grievous hurt by use of acid
  2. Voluntarily throwing or attempting to throw acid
  3. Assault or criminal force on a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty
  4. Sexual harassment 
  5. Disrobing 
  6. Voyeurism 
  7. Stalking
  8. Rape 
  9. Rape causing death or persistent vegetative state
  10. Rape by husband when spouses were separated
  11. Gang Rape 
  12. Outraging the modesty of a woman by words, gestures or actions

For offences committed from C to L mentioned above, if the same was committed or alleged to have been committed on someone who is suffering from some mental or physical disability (both temporary or permanent), then such information will be recorded by a police officer at their residence or any place that is convenient to the person reporting. Depending on the circumstances, they can even request an interpreter or a special educator.