Remedies when FIR is not Registered

Importance of FIR

The FIR is a crucial document in the criminal procedure. Its main object is to set the criminal law in motion.

Its purpose for the investigating authorities is to obtain information about the alleged criminal activity and to take suitable steps to bring the guilty to book.

In general, a police officer is bound to register FIR when commission of a cognizable case is brought to his notice. If he refuses to register there are alternate remedies that the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) provides.

Preliminary inquiry to be conducted in some cases

In some cases, if the information received does not disclose a cognizable offence but indicates the necessity of an inquiry, the police officer can conduct a preliminary inquiry before registering FIR. The purpose of the inquiry is to ascertain whether the cognizable offence is disclosed or not but should not be for ascertaining the veracity of the allegation.

The cases in which a preliminary inquiry can be conducted are matrimonial cases, commercial offences, medical negligence cases, corruption cases and cases where there is abnormal delay in initiating criminal prosecution/reporting within three months and such other cases of similar nature.

If the preliminary inquiry discloses the commission of a cognizable offence the police officer must register the FIR.

Otherwise, the inquiry should end up in closing the complaint. The information of closure of complaint must be informed to the complainant with brief reasons within one week. The police officer cannot avoid registering FIR if the inquiry discloses a cognizable offence.

The registration of FIR is mandatory under section 154 CrPC if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence outright.

No preliminary inquiry is permissible in a situation where a cognizable case is clearly revealed.

Alternate Remedies for registering FIR

Under Section 154(3) CrPC any person aggrieved by the refusal of the Station House Officer to record the First Information Statement (FIS) relating to the commission of a cognizable offence can send such substance of information in writing by post to the Superintendent of Police in the area. The Superintendent can conduct an investigation himself or through any of his subordinate officer.

Under Section 36 CrPC, any officer superior in rank to the officer in charge of the police station area, can exercise all the powers of the Station House officer throughout his local jurisdiction. That means any such officer can register an FIR and order an investigation whenever necessary.

Alternatively, the person aggrieved by the inaction of police in registering the FIR can file a complaint either in written form or oral form under Sections 190 CrPC and 200 CrPC.

Then the Magistrate of the First Class has two options. On one hand, he can take cognizance of any offence on receipt of a complaint of facts which constitute an offence under Section 190 CrPC.  If the Magistrate chooses to take cognizance of the complaint, he can examine the complainant and witnesses present, reduces the substance of such inquiry into writing and proceed with the case under Section 200 CrPC.

On the other hand, he can order registration of FIR and an investigation of police, under Section 156(3) CrPC. On receipt of the police report, he can proceed with the case as a case instituted on a police report, as usual.

In short, the Sections 36, 154(3) and 200 of the CrPC provide enough alternate remedies.

No writ to be issued to register FIR

A writ of mandamus cannot be issued by the high Court to register an FIR when anybody approaches it with a writ petition. If a writ is filed the high court should dismiss the writ allowing the petitioner to explore alternate remedies.

The aggrieved petitioner alleging a cognizable offence cannot straight invoke the writ jurisdiction of the High Court. If high courts start accepting such writs then there will be a floodgate of such writs disallowing them to do anything else.


In short, the right procedure to be adopted by a person for registering an FIR in a cognizable offence is to approach the Station House Officer in the area.

If he declines to register the FIR the aggrieved person can approach the superior officers of police or the Magistrate in the area to do the needful. Filing a writ in the high court for registering an FIR is not an acceptable procedure.

Additional reading

  1. Fr Sebastian Vadakkumpadan v Shine Varghese & others ( 2018(3) KHC 590)
  2. Aleque Padamsee And Ors v Union Of India And Ors
  3. Sakiri Vasu v State Of U.P. And Others
  4. Lalita Kumari v Govt.Of U.P.& Ors