Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is meant by a cognizable offence? Non-cognizable offence? Can an FIR only be registered for a criminal/ cognizable case? Is every cognizable case a criminal case?
  A cognizable offence is a case where the Police can arrest without a warrant. All cognizable cases involve criminal offences. Murder, Robbery, Theft, Rioting, Counterfeiting etc. are some examples of cognizable offences. Non-cognizable offences are those criminal infractions, which are relatively less serious. Examples of non-cognizable offences include Public Nuisance, Causing Simple Hurt, Assault, Mischief etc. The Police cannot register criminal cases or cause arrests with regard to non-cognizable offences. In all such cases, the Police have to take permission from a magistrate for registration of a criminal case.
   
2. What is First Information Report (FIR)?
  The report pertaining to occurrence of a cognizable offence, received at the Police Station is called First Information Report, popularly known as FIR. Since it is the first information about the cognizable offence, it is called First Information report. On receipt of this information police registers the report in a FIR Register and begins the investigation of the crime. Is the complainant entitled to a free copy of the FIR? Yes, definitely. As per Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC) it is mandatory on the part of police to provide a copy of the FIR, free of cost to the complainant.
   
3. Is there a time frame for an FIR to be registered once the complaint is given?
  On receipt of a complaint disclosing a cognizable offence, the Police should draw up an FIR forthwith.
   
4. Who is the officer on duty? If the officer on duty is not present, what are the alternatives to get the paperwork done (complaint, FIR)?
  The senior most Police officer available in the Police Station at any point of time, (SHO or his subordinate above the rank of a constable) is the officer-in-charge, or the duty officer. If the SHO / Inspector is not present, a Sub-Inspector or Head Constable will be the officer-in-charge, who will receive complaint or lodge FIRs.
   
5. What about jurisdiction? Can a crime committed in certain area only be filed that area's station?
  A complaint can be lodged in any Police Station. After registration of the FIR, the Police Station registering the complaint can transfer the FIR to the jurisdictional Police Station / AWPS for investigation.
   
6. Can I have a receipt for my complaint?
  Copies of FIRs are given free of cost. FIR copy is given immediately after registration of a case. Where a case has not been registered, you are entitled to an acknowledgement from the Police Station for your complaint. This acknowledgement will carry a CSR number.
   
7. What to do if the Police Station refuses to register the FIR?
  Police can refuse to register the FIR only in non-cognizable offences. In all cognizable offences it is mandatory on the part of the police station to register the FIR. However, if the Police Station refuses to register the FIR, a complaint shall be made to the senior police officer. The complaint can be made to the Concerned Circle Officer, Addl. SP or the Superintendent of Police of the concerned District. These officers will get the FIR registered and investigated.
   
8. What the Police Station does with a complaint pertaining to Non-cognizable offence?
  As per Cr. PC, Police Station is required to record an abstract of such complaint in the General Diary and advise the complainant to file the complaint in the concerned court as police is not empowered to initiate action in such matters without the directions of the court.
   
9. Are any kind of fee or charges to be paid to police for registration of FIR?
  Absolutely not. Police is not to be paid any fee or money for registering the FIR and subsequent investigation. If anybody in the police station makes such a demand, a complaint should immediately be made to the senior police officer as mentioned above. Are any kind of fee or charges to be paid for getting the injured medically examined or for putting up challan in the court? No, the entire investigation of the case, including the medical examination of the injured and submitting challan in the court, is part of Government duty for which no charges are levied by the govt. If any demand for money is made at any stage of investigation, a complaint should immediately be made to the senior police officers.
   
10. What is the next step after a complaint is lodged?
  If the complaint indicates a cognizable offence, an FIR should be registered by the officer-on-duty of the Police Station and investigation taken up; if the facts do not prima facie indicate commission of a cognizable offence, a complaint should be registered in the CSR (Community Service Register) and an enquiry taken up.
   
11. What is a bailable offence?
  In bailable offences police is supposed to take the bail of the accused arrested in such offences.
   
12. What is a non-bailable offence?
  In non-bailable offence, police invariably does not take the bail of the accused and only the court grants bail. The list of bailable and non-bailable offences is given in one of the schedules of Criminal Procedure Code.
   
13. Can Police call someone for investigation even if granted anticipatory bail by the court?
  Yes, certainly. The court only forbids the arrest but does not prevent police from calling the accused for investigation. Infact, invariably it is one of the conditions of the anticipatory bail that the accused shall make himself available for investigation as and when required by the investigating officer. Refusal to do so may entitle the investigating officer to move the court for cancellation of anticipatory bail. In case the investigating officer finds that a criminal case is made out against an accused granted anticipatory bail by the court, he will not arrest him but will release him on bail, even if the offence is non-bailable. Is it an offence to register false FIR? Making any kind of false complaint including the FIR is a punishable offence in the Indian Penal Code. One should never resort to lodging a false complaint to the police in order to harass someone. This act is not only punishable but the complainant himself will have to undergo the harassment of facing a trial in the court.
   
14. Explain sections 161, 162,173, CrPC
  These are provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code:- Sec.161 and 162 Cr.P.C. deal with recording of statements of witnesses by the Police. The statements of the witnesses are not to be signed. Sec.173 Cr.P.C. states that after completion of investigation, the investigation officer shall forward a Police report to the jurisdictional magistrate giving the result of the investigation and further action to be taken.
   
15. What is a charge sheet? Is there a time frame for a charge sheet to be framed?
  When a Police officer gives a Police report under section 173 Cr.P.C. recommending prosecution, it is called a charge sheet. After questioning the accused and hearing the arguments, the magistrate frames charges on the accused for which he is tried.
   
16. What is compoundable? Non compoundable?
  In certain offences, the parties involved can effect a compromise while the case is under trial in the court. This is called 'compounding', further action in trial is discontinued. Cases in which this is permissible are called compoundable offences. Examples of such offences are Hurt, Wrongful Confinement, Assault, Molestation, Cheating, Adultery etc.
   
17. Who is a magistrate?
  In the context of criminal matters, a magistrate is a judge empowered to try certain classes of offences in his jurisdiction. He can also issue warrants, order searches, grant or deny bail etc. An execute magistrate is a government servant of the revenue department who exercises powers of inquest, enquiry into allegations against Police and cases involving security proceedings.
   
18. My friend has borrowed a sum of Rs.10,000 from me after executing a promissory note. He has not returned the loan. The Police are refusing to arrest him when I complained about this. What can I do?
  This is a simple civil transaction. The Police will not be able to initiate any criminal action. You will have to file a civil suit in a civil court for recovering the loan.
   
19. "Slap" a charge
My brother was slapped by a neighbour. The Police have not arrested the neighbour. What is the reason?
  Causing a simple hurt is a non-cognizable offence. Police cannot register a First Information Report on a non-cognizable offence nor can they make an arrest.
   
20. What do you mean..."It was not a robbery?"
I was robbed of a music system. It was stolen from our house when we were away. The Inspector said it is not a robbery. Why?
  Robbery involves use of violence against a victim in the course of comitting a theft. Burglary involves house-breaking and theft. If a thief steals some articles from a house after breaking the lock or by opening the lock by using a false key or by scaling over the wall, etc., he is guilty of burglary. Dacoity is robbery by a gang of five or more persons.
   
21. Investigation in a burglary
If there is a burglary in my house, what steps will the police take?
  After registration of a case, the Investigating Officer will visit the scene of crime. Depending upon the availability of clues, he may be assisted by 1. a Finger Print Expert to look for finger prints. 2. a Police tracker dog 3. a Scientific Expert to help in collection of scientific clues.
   
22. Why did they take my finger prints?
There was a burglary in our house. The Police took finger prints of all the inmates of the house. Does this mean they suspect us?
  Not necessarily. At the scene, a lot of finger prints may be found - some belonging to those of the inmates and some belonging to the criminal. The finger prints of the inmates will be taken to eliminate their prints and identify any prints of strangers, which may be those of the criminal.
   
  COMMON TRICKS
23. Polishing of gold jewels
A stranger came home offering to clean and polish gold jewels. Is it safe to entrust jewellery to him?
 

Often such people use some kind of liquid/acid in which some of the gold will dissolve. Your jewels may glitter after the wash but you would have lost some of the precious metal.

   
24. Penny wise Pound foolish
What is theft by diversion of attention?
  This is a technique adopted by some gangs of thieves. When a customer is waiting at a bank counter, some one drops some coins and the innocent customer's attention is drawn to the scattered coins on the floor. When he is picking up the petty change, the criminals may take his bundle of currency on the bank counter. Another technique adopted by the gang is to squirt some substance on the dress of a passerby and draw his attention to the 'stain' on the shirt. A gang member may even pointout a convenient place nearby where the stain can be washed away. When the victim puts down his bag or suitcase and is engaged in cleaning up the stain, the bag or suitcase will vanish. Keeping up with the times, this gang has now taken to snatching laptops using the same technique.
   
25. Double your wealth (!)
Someone promised a friend of mine that he can double the amount of currency notes given to him. Is he likely to give counterfeit currency notes?
  Your friend will be lucky if he gets counterfeit currency notes. More likely, he will get a bundle of white paper cut to the size of currency notes and concealed between layers of genuine notes. If your friend is tempted by the offer of doubling of currency, he will end up losing his hard-earned money. If any one offers to double your currency, report to the Police.
   
26. Pay Rs.1,000/- Get goods worth Rs.2,000/-(!)
A new shop has appeared in our neighbourhood. The shopkeeper has advertised that if you pay Rs.1,000, you will get goods worth Rs.2,000 after one month. Some of my neighbours have paid money and got goods worth double the value after one month. Is it safe to invest in this?
  More often than not, you will get cheated. Some of the initial customers may get double the value but this is only a ploy to win the confidence of the public. Once the shopkeeper makes enough money, he will vanish leaving many of the investors in the lurch.
   
  FAQs REGARDING CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN
27. Is there a need for the child to be present in the station when the offender is being questioned?
  No. In fact, the child need not be brought to the Police station at all.
   
28. Can the child's statement be recorded by a magistrate at the time of filing the complaint/FIR and the child never troubled again?
  Unfortunately, there are no such special provisions. The child, as per existing law, has to appear in the court for giving testimony at the time of trial. (except in the offences under JJ Act, where the child victim testifies before the Juvenile Justice Board.)
   
29. Is there a procedure for taking photographs? Who takes it (NGO or Police)
  No specific procedure is laid down.
   
30. In case of child victims, is it mandatory that the child himself/ herself has to lodge a complaint in the Police station?
  No. The offence can be reported either in writing (personally or through post) or by narrating orally to officer in-charge of Police station or even through telephone. Any person having information regarding the offence can report it.
   
31. When a victimised child comes to a Police station, what are the safeguards to minimise his trauma?
  In every Police station, officers designated as the 'Juvenile or the Child Welfare Officer' are available. They are expected to handle the matters relating to children in distress as well as juveniles. They work in association with approved NGOs. This is to ensure that the child is not insensitively handled by untrained uniformed officers.
   
32. Can a child kept in the Police station during enquiry?
  No. A child offender or child victim cannot be kept in a Police station. As an immediate measure, the care of the child victim should be entrusted to approved NGOs/ Childline volunteers. A child offender should be produced before the Juvenile Justice Board, as soon as possible.
   
33. Can a child be taken to the Police station for enquiry?
  No. A child witness can be examined by the Police only at his / her residence.
   
34. What is to be done when a juvenile offender is apprehended by the Police?
 

As soon as a Juvenile in conflict with law is apprehended by Police he / she shall be placed under the charge of the Juvenile Police Unit created for the purpose, or the designated Police officer, who shall immediately report the matter to a member of the Juvenile Justice Board. Further action will be taken on the directions of the Board.

Officer/ In-charge of Police station, after arrest of a Juvenile shall inform the parents or guardians of the Juvenile and direct them to be present at the board.

   
35. What is the role of the designated Police officer of a Police station?
  The designated Police officer the Police station, besides dealing with the cases involving Juveniles, is also the Nodal officer for attending the calls from 'Child Helpline' and for investigating cases relating to child abuse. It is the duty of the SHOs to ensure that the designated officers personally attend cases involving child victims.
   
36. When an abandoned child seen, what steps shall be taken by the public to rescue and what are the legal procedures involved?
 

When an abandoned child is seen by the public, immediately intimate to the nearest police station. Once handed over to the nearest Police station, case will be registered under Children's Act and the child will be produced before the court. Through court orders, the abandoned child will be handed over to the children home, namely, or else , intimate the child help line or women help line which will rescue the child and legal procedures will be followed.

Child Help line Phone No. : 1098 ( Toll free ).
Women Help line Phone No. : 1091 ( Toll free )

The following are the homes available in Tamilnadu.

a. Government special home for boys and girls = 2 homes
Boys : Vellore, Girls : Chennai.

b. Govt. children home for boys and girls - 10 homes
Chengalpet, Thattaparai, Ranipet, Thanjavur, Chennai - 13, Mallipudur, Panchapalli, Erode, Vilupuram and Karaikudi.

c. Children home for boys and girls run by NGOs - 20 homes
Chennai -21, Chennai - 130, Chennai -08, Chennai - 93, Chennai - 73, Chennai -17, Gandhigram, Chennai -107, Coimbatore, Darmapuri, Chennai -39, Salem, Madurai, Thiruvallur, Thirvannamali, Virudunagar, Myladudurai, Dindukal, Tutucorin, Chennai -10 ( 2 - institutions )

   
37. What are the rehabilitation measures for the victimized girls and women in prostitution?
  Such victimized women are provided with care treatment rehabilitation and self employment training at vigilance or protective homes. Even at "Abaya Nilayam" the same is provided. Through social welfare deparment the victimized women or girls can apply for the government aid in the self employment scheme were training are given for job opportunities as well as loans provided by the government for self employment.

There are six vigilance / Potective homes situated in the following place : Chennai -2 , madurai -1 , Trichy -1, Salem -1, Coimbatore -1

   
38. When insane persons are found wandering, What are the legal procedures to be followed?
  Intimation to be given to the nearest Police station. Police upon verification register case under Lunatic Act. and produce before the court. Once produced before the court, orders will be issued for the medical testing and admission in the Kilpauk Mental Hospital or Baniyan Or else, information can be given to the Baniyan and the Baniyan upon verification admit the insane person.

Women Help line phone No. - 1091 ( Toll free )

   
39. What are the rehabilitation measures for the alcoholic and drug addicts?
  Rehabilitation treatment is given at T.T.Krishnamachari Hospital, 4th Main Road, Indiranagar, Chennai.

 

 
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