EditorialJammu & Kashmir

Registration of FIR; no more dispute over territorial jurisdiction under BNSS

To prefer preliminary inquiry over registration of FIR needs prior permission of senior officer

Mudasir Yaqoob



No Territorial Dispute For Registration of FIR:



In the past, it has been observed in a few cases that an aggrieved person had to run from pillar to post when two or more police stations refused to register the First Information Report (FIR) about cognizable offences, denying having territorial jurisdiction over the place of crime occurrence.

This dispute and refusal have led to discouragement of justice and could have been a reason also for many unreported crimes across the country. The FIR under Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 was provided under Section 154. Its corresponding Section under newly criminal law Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (BNSS) is Section 173 with many positive changes.

One of the major positive changes in this provision is that a victim of crime or informant can provide information to Police about occurrence of offence irrespective of whether such Police Station have territorial jurisdiction or not over the place where the alleged offence is said to have been occurred.

Section 173 (1) expressly provides that every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, irrespective of the area where the offence is committed, may be given orally or by electronic communication to an officer in charge of a police station.

The section puts an end to the argument by any Police Station or Police Chowki that the alleged offence has not occurred within its jurisdiction. Simply, this Section binds Police to register the FIR irrespective of considering territorial jurisdiction. Such FIR is known as Zero FIR. After registration of Zero FIR, it is the duty of Police to forward such FIR to concerned Police Station with all relevant documents, evidences, if any.





Modes for Communication Of Information To Police:

Information to the Police may be made verbally, in writing or through electronic modes. However, it is yet to be seen how the term ‘communication of information through electronic modes’ about cognizable offences are broadened and would it cover the messages or information sent on whatsapp, or simple text message to Police officers about occurrence of cognizable offence.






Preliminary Inquiry or FIR:

Furthermore, the sub-section 3 of Section 173 of BNSS remains the most misunderstood Section. Most people think that it provides the power to the Police to conduct the preliminary inquiry rather than registering the FIR.

But it is not so. The Section provides that preliminary inquiry may be conducted only if no “prima facie” case is made out.

The section reads as on receipt of information relating to the commission of any cognizable offence, which is made punishable for three years or more but less than seven years, the officer in charge of the police station may with the prior permission from an officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. Therefore, the incharge of the Police Station has to seek prior permission from his senior official if he chooses to conduct the preliminary investigation than registration of FIR.

The section further provides that after considering the nature and gravity of the alleged offence, the police may proceed to conduct preliminary enquiry to ascertain whether there exists a “prima facie case” for proceeding in the matter within a period of fourteen days; or proceed with investigation when there exists a prima facie case.

Any person aggrieved by a refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to register an FIR may send the substance of such information, in writing and by post, to the Superintendent of Police.

If the Superintendent of Police is satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, he is bound to either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him.

Aggrieved by the refusal by SP, such aggrieved persons may make an application to the Magistrate.




What does prima facie exactly mean? 

Prima facie means ‘on the face’ or ‘at first glance’. In law, it can refer to either evidence that is regarded plausible but susceptible to refutation or a stage in a pre-trial proceeding in which it is assessed whether the plaintiff/complainant has a sufficiently plausible case to go to trial.

According to the prima facie standard of proof, a party must produce adequate evidence that a certain claim is true at the surface level. The subject is still being debated and even refuted. As a result, the prima facie standard of proof is low.


Key Highlights of Changes With Respect to FIR

Sec. 173 (1) BNSS: FIR can be registered at any Police station irrespective of the area, where the offence is committed.

Sec.173 (1) (ii) BNSS: FIR can be registered through electronic means (E-FIR). However the same has to be signed by the informant within 3 days.



Conditions for conducting Preliminary enquiry

Sec.173 (3) BNSS: In offences punishable with imprisonment between 3 to 7 years, the Officer in-charge of the police station may with the permission of Deputy Superintendent of Police

  • conduct preliminary enquiry to ascertain whether there is any prima facie case, for
  • proceeding in the matter.
  • Such preliminary enquiry must be completed in 14 days.


Forwarding Daily Diary Reports to Magistrate once in 14 days

Sec. 174 BNSS: Officer in charge shall forward the daily diary reports of information regarding non-cognizable cases once in 14 days to the Magistrate.

Recording of rape victim statement at her residence:

Sec.176 BNSS: In relation to the offence of rape, the recording of the statement of victim shall be conducted at the residence of victim or at the place of her choice by a woman police officer in the presence of her parent or guardian or near relative or social worker of the locality. Such statements may also be recorded by audio-video electronic means including mobile phones.

No arrest of aged or infirm person in offences punishable with less than 3 years imprisonment

Sec. 35 BNSS: In case of offences punishable with less than 3 years of imprisonment no arrest of a person, who is  infirm or  above 60 years of age shall be made without the prior permission of DSP.

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