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Health Care Providers > Role of Health Professionals > Basic Police and Legal Information

Understanding police and legal formalities



- FIR stands for first information report. It is the documentation of the complaint given to the police whichcontain information regarding the commission of offence. It is a formal complaint based on which the police begins investigation.

- The FIR need not be filed by the survivor herself/himself. Any person acting on behalf of the survivor- e.g. Parent, relative, friend, guardian can also act as the informant.

- According to section 154 Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), any information given to the police orally or in writing, pertaining to a cognizable offence has to be converted into an FIR.


- The information given to the police can be given orally or in writing. When it is given orally, it is the responsibility of the police to convert into a written complaint with the statement of the informant written verbatim. Once written, it needs to be read out to the informant and explained in a language that is understood and signature is to be taken. (Section 154 (1) Cr.PC)

- It is the right of the informant to get a copy of the FIR. (Section.154 (2) Cr.PC)

-  An FIR in case of sexual assault must be filed by a Senior Police Inspector or senior officer.

-  If the survivor is a woman and provides the information herself then the FIR shall be registered by a woman police officer or any woman officer. (Section. 154 (1) Cr.PC Proviso) However in the absence of a woman police officer, a male police officer can record an FIR in the presence of a woman police constable.

- If the police refuse to file an FIR, the survivor has the right to approach the Magistrate Court which can order the police to file the FIR. (As per section 156(3) CrPC)

- The FIR can be filed in any police station, not just one under whose jurisdiction the incident occurred. It is the responsibility of the police station where the FIR is filed to transfer the case to the police station where the incident occurred. These are called ZERO number FIRs.(Mumbai Police Rulebook Part3 Rule no. 119-A)

- Once the information of commission of offence is given to the police, it is the responsibility of the police to take the statement of the survivor in any place that she is comfortable in. This may be her home, the hospital or any other place. The survivor can request the presence of any person that she is comfortable with or request that a person not be present, if uncomfortable while giving her statement. (Amendment to section 157 CrPC by The Code Of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2008)

- After filing of the FIR, statements of various people associated with the incident will be taken. The statement is an account of what the individual has narrated.

- The FIR will form a part of the Chargesheet that is filed in the court by the police on completion of the investigation. In case of threat or intimidation after filing of the FIR to survivor and her family -

- It is possible that after filing an FIR the accused will try to intimidate the survivor or the family by giving threats or using other tactics. In such cases, the survivor can file a non-cognizable complaint with the police, which will form a part of the Chargesheet eventually. The police is also required to take action against these threats.

- Survivor can write an application to the police requesting police protection citing that there is a threat to life of the survivor or her family.



- The panchanama is a statement of persons present at the time of arrest, search and seizure.

- The presence of at least 2 panchas is mandated by section 100 CrPC. These panchas or witnesses must be independent and respectable people.

- The Panchnama of the place where the incident is said to have occurred is termed as a Spot Panchnama

Seizure Panchnama 

-Generally done when the clothes are seized for proof to ascertain that the clothes taken as evidence are the same that were worn by the accused.

Arrest Panchnama 

Generally done when the accused is arrested.

Statement under 164 CrPC

- The survivor or any witness can recorded their statement in front of the Magistrate court before trial begins. Such a statement has evidentiary value in the court of law. A request for recording such a statement must be made to the police.

- The statement is to be recorded during the process of investigation and hence, before a Chargesheet is filed in court.

- It is advisable (especially if the survivor is a child) to do this as the case might come up for trial after a considerable amount of time has passed after the incident, and the survivor may not remember all details at the trial stage.


- A chargesheet is the final report filed by the police in the court.

- This report is intimation to the magistrate that upon investigation into a cognizable offence the Investigation Officer has been able to procure sufficient evidence for the court to inquire into the offence and the necessary information is being sent to the court. (K.VeeraswamiVs Union Of India (1991) 3 SCC 655)

- According to section 173 CrPC, this typically contains - the name of the persons (accused); type of information; names of the people who are aware of the circumstances of the case (witnesses who will be called in court to testify); offence (details of the charges levied against the accused); whether the police believes that the offence has been committed and if yes, then by whom.

-A chargesheet doesn't establish guilt of the accused.

- A Chargesheet is typically filed in court within 90 to 120 days after filing the FIR. However, this might be extended under special conditions such as if the accused is absconding oris unknown.


Police remand, Judicial remand and Bail

- As soon as an accused is arrested, he is taken to the lock up after which the police must produce him in front of the magistrate within 24 hours.

- When the investigation cannot be completed in these 24 hours then he is produced before the magistrate and the accusation against him is well founded, the magistrate can order police remand of up to 15 days.

- These 15 days are used to conduct investigation and collect evidence without the interference or fear of tampering by the accused.

- On completion of these 15 days, the accused is presented in front of the magistrate once again and if the investigation is not completed, then judicial remand can be ordered.

- Judicial remand cannot be longer than 60 days when the punishment for the crime the person is accused of is less than 10 years, and not more than 90 days when the punishment is more than 10 years

- The accused can apply for bail at any point during the investigation.

- When the individual is accused of a crime that has a punishment of 7 years or more, the bail application will be denied by Magistrate's court and the accused will be asked to apply to the Sessions Court.

- A survivor has the right to contest the bail. One can do so by submitting an application to the Public Prosecutor (the lawyer appointed by the State) or the Investigating Officer.

- It is the survivor%u2019s right to appoint a %u2018watching advocate%u2019 who can keep the survivor informed of when the accused applies for bail, when chargesheet is filed, when the first hearing is to be held and so on, by going to the court regularly on her behalf.



- Once the police have filed a Chargesheet in court, a date will be given by the court for the trial to begin.

- This date along with details of the court and court room number where the trial will be held will be informed to the survivor (and the witnesses) via summons.

- Generally, the complainant (or informant of the FIR) is the first witness, followed by the survivor (if different from complainant), those associated with the survivor, the panchas, the examining doctor, the Investigating Officer, and finally the accused, if he wants to give a statement.

- The examination of the survivor will happen in camera - which means that there will be no general public present there. The only people present will be the judge, the Public Prosecutor, the defense lawyer, the staff of the court. (Amendment of Section 327 CrPC by the Code Of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2008)

- During the trial, witnesses can be called by both the State and the accused (defense).

- A court statement consists of an examination-in-chief and a cross examination.

- The examination of a witness, by the party who calls him, shall be called his examination-in-chief whereas the examination of a witness by the opposite party is called cross examination. Thus, in case of a survivor, the examination in chief is done by the public prosecutor and the cross examination by the defense lawyer.

- During any examination (examination-in-chief &/or cross examination), questions or comments regarding the survivor's general immoral behavior or past sexual experience are not permitted (Amendment to Section 146 of Indian Evidence Act by Criminal Amendment Act of 2013)

- There is one court room specially designated for crimes under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act of 2012, to ensure speedy trial. (As per 28(1) of POSCO Act) All cases of survivors under the age of 18 years, are tried at this court room, unless the accused is a juvenile in which case the case is tried in the Juvenile Court. (As per 34(1) of POSCO Act)

- There is no such allocation of a special court for survivors over 18 years of age.

- This special court, as far as possible should complete the trial within 1 year of taking cognizance, i.e. from the first date of hearing. (Section 35(2), POCSO Act, 2012)

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