How To File FIR For Missing Person?

Law
23-May-2024
blog-img

A crucial part of the legal framework for handling missing person cases is the filing of a formal police report (FIR). The filing of a formal complaint report (FIR) is essential for quick intervention and accountability in the criminal justice system because it records complaints, starts investigations and safeguards individuals' rights. Respect for legal requirements and court rulings emphasizes how important it is to file a missing persons report (FIR) as soon as possible to alleviate their situation.

  1. Legal Records: - The first formal record of a complaint regarding a person who has vanished is the First Information Report (FIR). It offers crucial details like the person's identity, the circumstances of their disappearance and any preliminary leads or suspicions. Maintaining a record of the complaint, assisting with follow-up investigations and guaranteeing accountability within the criminal justice system all depend on this legal paperwork.
  2. Starting the Inquiry: - Filing an FIR triggers the formal commencement of the investigation by law enforcement agencies. It causes prompt action to be taken in order to find the missing person, collect evidence and determine the cause of their disappearance. - Without an FIR, law enforcement may not have the authority or legal basis to initiate an investigation, potentially delaying crucial efforts to locate the missing individual.
  3. Protection of Rights:- The rights of the missing person and their family are protected by the filing of a missing person report (FIR). It makes it possible for the authorities to act quickly and possibly save the missing person from harm or danger. - The FIR also makes sure that the family members' rights are acknowledged and respected, including their ability to ask for help from the police.
  4. Public Support and Assistance: Making the community aware of missing person information via the FIR can encourage help. It increases the likelihood of finding a missing person by warning the public to be on the lookout and to report any pertinent sightings or information. Furthermore, filing a missing persons report (FIR) raises awareness of the problem and encourages advocacy for better laws and resources to deal with these kinds of cases.
    In the landmark judgment of Sakshi versus. Union of India (2004) The Indian Supreme Court underlined in this historic case how critical it is to file missing persons reports (FIRs) as soon as possible. The court ruled that the investigation could be hampered and the likelihood of finding the missing person compromised if an FIR was not filed in a timely manner.

Things to include filing a missing person report in India

In India, registering a missing person as a First Information Report (FIR) is a crucial first step in starting an investigation and guaranteeing prompt law enforcement action. This document includes pertinent case laws that emphasize the importance of swift action in such situations as well as the requirements and legal provisions governing the filing of a missing person report (FIR).

Name, Description, and Photo of the Unaccounted-for Individual

Give comprehensive details about the missing person such as name, age, gender, physical characteristics (such as height, build, complexion, and distinguishing features), and any marks that can be recognized (such as tattoos, or scars). If you have any, please attach a photograph of the missing person to help with identification.

Information About the Events That Led to the Disappearance

Give a brief description of the person's last known location, time and sighting. Provide details regarding any unusual or suspicious events that may have contributed to the disappearance, such as reasons or motives.

Contact details and personal information

Provide the name, address, phone number and, if relevant, the relationship between the person filing the FIR and the missing person. Provide contact details for any witnesses or people who might know something about the disappearance.

Any Suggestions or Leads Available: -

 Bring up any leads, hints or suspicions that might help find the missing individual. - Give specifics about any recent exchange letters or disputes that might be connected to the disappearance.

Solicitation for Quick Response and Support: - 

Insist that law enforcement take immediate action to find the missing person and stress the seriousness of the situation. - Ask for help conducting searches, obtaining data and organizing efforts to locate the missing person.
Haryana State v. Bhajan Lal (1992) - The Supreme Court reaffirmed that law enforcement organizations must diligently file First Information Reports (FIRs) particularly when there are missing persons involved. The court made clear that a delay in filing a formal complaint could be interpreted as official negligence.

Process of Filing First Information Report

In India, the initial step towards official law enforcement agencies intervening in a missing persons case is the filing of a First Information Report (FIR). Supported by pertinent case laws that highlight the significance of swift action in such cases, this section describes the procedural aspects of filing a missing person report in accordance with legal provisions.

Section 154 of India’s Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1973 governs the filing of a First Information Report (FIR) for a missing person. According to this section everyone who learns of a cognizable offense-including those involving missing persons-must notify the local police station which has jurisdiction over the area.

Check out the closest police station

The person filing a missing person report should go to the closest police station that oversees the area where the missing person was last seen or is known to be.
Give the officer-in-charge the following information: the person should go to the police station and report the missing person to the duty officer or Officer-in-Charge (OIC). Give specific details about the missing person such as name, age, physical characteristics, last known location and any pertinent circumstances surrounding their disappearance.

Get your grievance in writing

 The information supplied by the informant will be documented in writing by the OIC. The informant might be required to submit a formal complaint outlining the specifics of the missing person and the circumstances surrounding their disappearance.

Registration of FIR

Following the recording of the information, the OIC is required by Section 154 of the CrPC to file a First Information Report (FIR). The formal start of the investigation should be the filing of the First Information Report (FIR) which should accurately record the complaint about the missing person.

Acceptance of FIR Copy 

Copies of the FIR are to be sent by the police station to the person who reported the missing person. This copy can be utilized for future legal proceedings or as evidence of the complaint’s registration.

In India, submitting a missing person report requires going to the police station giving the OIC comprehensive information, drafting a written complaint and making sure the FIR is registered. Effective handling of missing person cases depends on law enforcement agencies acting quickly and adhering to the letter of the law. Legal precedents emphasize the need for prompt FIR filing and preventative actions to guarantee the security and welfare of persons who go missing.

Advisory to file FIR in case of missing children: Insights from the Ministry of Home 

Affairs

A major concern that presents enormous obstacles for law enforcement organizations and society at large is the disappearance of children. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in India has responded to this urgent matter by releasing extensive advisories that describe the steps involved in filing First Information Reports (FIRs) in cases of missing children. This paper examines the principal findings from the MHA's advisory, highlighting the significance of swift action and cooperation in handling cases of missing children.

Background

Abduction trafficking, runaway cases and displacement as a result of natural disasters or conflicts are just a few of the many scenarios that fall under the broad category of missing children phenomena. To protect the child who has gone missing and to ensure their safety, each case calls for a prompt and well-coordinated response. Understanding the urgency of the situation, the MHA has released advisories to help government agencies, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders who are involved in handling cases involving missing children.

Principal Takeaways from the Advisory:

  • Quick registration of FIRs Information Report (FIR): An urgent filing of First Information Reports (FIRs) in cases of missing children is stressed in the advisory. Law enforcement organizations are instructed to register First Information Reports (FIRs) as soon as possible and to handle reports of missing children with the utmost urgency.
  • Carefully Handling Cases: Recognizing the vulnerability of the impacted children and their families, law enforcement agencies are trained to handle cases of missing children with compassion and understanding. Throughout the course of the investigation, extra precautions should be taken to guarantee that children receive the proper support and counseling as well as dignified treatment.
  • Collaborative Approach: The advisory emphasizes the value of a cooperative strategy involving a range of parties, such as public community organizations, NGOs, police and child welfare authorities.
  • Using Media and Technology: It is recommended that law enforcement agencies make use of media platforms and technology to swiftly and extensively distribute information regarding missing children. Social media, smartphone apps and online databases can be used to raise awareness about cases involving missing children, facilitate public outreach and produce leads.
  • Specialized Education and Building Capabilities: The advisory emphasizes how crucial it is to give law enforcement officials—such as police officers, detectives and child protection specialists—specialized training in order to improve their ability to handle cases involving missing children.

 

In the Union of India v. Bachpan Bachao Andolan case (Writ Petition (Civil) no. 75 of 2012), the Honble Supreme Court on May 10, 2013, issued a number of directives to address the problem of missing children. Listed below are these instructions:

  • FIR Filing: The Court ordered that any complaint about missing children filed at a police station be promptly downgraded to a First Information Report (FIR). To expedite the search for the missing child, an immediate follow-up investigation ought to be launched.
  • Presumption of Abduction or Trafficking: The Court order stipulated that, unless the investigation demonstrates otherwise, there must be an initial presumption of abduction or trafficking in all reported cases of missing children. This assumption would guarantee a proactive strategy to deal with the problem and improve the search for the missing child.
  • The Magistrates' Role: Even if they are not filed under Section 154 of the CrPC, complaints about missing children should be recorded in a special book in accordance with Section 155. It is imperative that the Magistrate takes prompt and appropriate action to safeguard the child’s rights, particularly if the complaint concerns a girl.
  • Appointment of Juvenile Welfare Officers:  The Juvenile Acts Section 63 mandates that at least one Juvenile Welfare Officer be trained and assigned to each police station. These officers must be available for shift work. Specialized in managing cases involving missing children, these officers would offer essential support and aid.
  • Application of Para-legal Volunteers: Legal Services Authorities should appoint para-legal volunteers to work in shifts at police stations overseeing the processing of complaints pertaining to missing children and other offenses involving children. Their presence would guarantee that reported cases receive the appropriate attention and follow-up.
  • NGOs Involvement: To help locate and reunite missing children with their families, a network of NGOs should be used at all levels. Search and rescue operations would be more effective if NGOs and law enforcement worked together.
  • Photographing of Recovered Children: The police are required to take an instant photo of each found or recovered child for promotional purposes. The purpose of this step is to help them find their guardians or relatives and make it easier for them to be reunited with their family.
  • Publication of Photographs: In order to aid in the identification and reunification of recovered children with their families, photographs of them should be posted on websites in newspapers and on television, among other platforms. The likelihood of finding missing children would rise with the public release of information.
  • Standard Operating Procedure (SOP): In order to handle missing child cases and apply relevant legal provisions SOPs must be established. Law enforcement organizations would be guided by these SOPs when handling different facets of cases involving missing children, such as trafficking, child labor kidnapping and exploitation.
  • Monitoring Protocol: To track down cases of missing children, local police should set up a protocol with State Legal Services Authorities, high courts and other relevant parties. In addressing cases of missing children, routine monitoring would guarantee accountability and efficient coordination.
  • Anti-Human Trafficking Unit: The case should be referred to the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit for a more thorough investigation if a missing child is not found within four months. The primary objectives of this specialized unit would be to locate missing children and combat human trafficking.
  • FIR filing: If an FIR has not been filed and the child is still missing, one should be filed as soon as possible, preferably within a month of the date the court's order was communicated. The purpose of this directive is to guarantee that every case involving missing children is formally documented and looked into.
  • Further Research: More research ought to be done to determine whether human trafficking played a role in a child’s disappearance once they have been found. This is an essential step in identifying trafficking networks and prosecuting those involved.
  • Shelter Homes: State governments should ensure that there are sufficient shelter homes available for reunited missing children in need of somewhere to stay. These homes should give the kids the support and rehabilitation they need while also abiding by the Juvenile Justice Acts provisions.

In order to effectively address this complicated issue, it is imperative that swift action, sensitive handling and teamwork be taken as stated in the Ministry of Home Affairs advice on filing First Information Reports (FIRs) in cases of missing children. Law enforcement agencies and stakeholders can collaborate to protect the rights and welfare of missing children and guarantee their safe return to their families and communities by following the recommendations in the advisory and putting best practices into action.

Next Steps After Filing of FIR

After a criminal offense—including cases involving missing persons or other incidents—is reported to the police through a First Information Report (FIR), specific legal processes and follow-up measures are commenced. According to applicable legal provisions, this document describes the next steps that must be taken after filing a formal complaint (FIR). It also offers insights from pertinent case laws that highlight the procedural nuances and importance of these steps.

In India, the procedural aspects of criminal investigations are governed by the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) 1973. The legal guidelines for what happens after a formal complaint is filed are outlined in a number of sections of the CrPC. These consist, among other things, of Sections 156, 157, 158 and 173.

Police inquiry

Upon receiving the FIR the police are duty-bound to investigate the matter promptly. To do this you must collect evidence ask questions document witness statements and take other appropriate actions to determine the case's facts. Officers in charge of the police station where the first information report was filed or Officers-in-Charge (OIC) oversee the investigation.

Recording of Statements

Statements from the complainant witnesses and anybody else with pertinent information regarding the case may be recorded by the police. In accordance with legal requirements, these statements are either documented in writing or via audio/video recording.

Gathering of Proof

 Physical evidence that could be relevant to the case is gathered and preserved by the police. Examples of this evidence include documents forensic samples and material objects. This evidence is essential for proving the accused’s guilt or innocence throughout the investigation and any ensuing legal actions.

Questioning and Arrest

 The police may call people for questioning if the investigation produces names of suspects or people of interest. According to the CrPC provisions the police may also make arrests in specific circumstances depending on the evidence they have gathered. Arrests have to be conducted in compliance with the legal procedural protections which include advising the arrested individual of their rights and bringing them before a magistrate within the allotted time.

Submission

Following the completion of the investigation, the police drafted a report outlining the results supporting documentation and inferences made. In accordance with Section 173 of the CrPC, this report is delivered to the proper authority, which is typically the magistrate or the court.

A methodical and comprehensive police investigation including taking statements, gathering evidence, questioning, and the filing of an investigation report follows the filing of a formal police report. Respecting the rights of all parties involved in the criminal justice system and ensuring the fair administration of justice depends on strict adherence to legal requirements and procedural safeguards as demonstrated by pertinent case laws.

Conclusion

A number of factors usually influence the decision to file a First Information Report (FIR) for a missing person. Generally speaking, it is advised to file a formal complaint as soon as possible if a person has been missing for a considerable period of time (typically 24-48 hours depending on the jurisdiction). The need for action grows if there are signs of possible harm or if the missing person is a vulnerable person (such as a child or an elderly person). It's critical to file a First Information Report (FIR) right away in order to start an investigation if there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding the disappearance such as signs of foul play or a history of threats. Although jurisdiction-specific laws differ law enforcement should normally look into any reliable report of a missing person right away.