How to Withdraw an FIR in India


The First Information Report (FIR) is a vital first step in the criminal justice process. An FIR, which is filed with the police, initiates the criminal investigative process and starts the legal process. Nonetheless, there are times when the complainant may want to withdraw the FIR for a variety of reasons to put an end to the legal actions it has started. The decision could be because of a resolved disagreement, realizing that the complaint was baseless, or even other private reasons. In India, however, withdrawing a formal complaint is not simple; it involves complying with a complex network of legal requirements.

To help people who want to withdraw their complaints, this article offers step-by-step guidance that explains the procedure for doing so in India. It also explores the legal framework that supports the procedure as well as reveals different functions played by various parties, such as complainants, police officers, and judges, among others involved in this case.

Can FIR be Withdrawn?

In a very crisp answer, YES, the FIR can be withdrawn. Different things are to be considered in the process of withdrawing an FIR like an informant cannot withdraw an FIR. To explain better, once a charge sheet is submitted, the police station is not allowed to withdraw the FIR. The complainant is required to submit an affidavit, a withdrawal petition, and a request for withdrawal to the court.

Retraction of a complaint is not permitted unless it concerns offenses that are subject to private prosecution, such as libel or slander. A frivolous FIR may be quashed by the Supreme Court or High Court. The Supreme Court must carefully consider whether to dismiss a formal complaint (FIR) and must provide several justifications for doing so.

Methods to Withdraw an FIR

Different methods can help you withdraw FIR if needed:

Method 1: By Reaching out to the Police Station

In India, it is a delicate situation for one to withdraw an FIR because once the FIR has been lodged, it is technically in the hands of both the police and the judiciary. However, there may be situations when a complainant may want to withdraw FIR mostly because of misunderstanding, settlement among themselves, lack of evidence, or realization that the law was misused. Detailed below is how you should go about withdrawing an FIR from a police station:

Scenarios Where Withdrawal of FIR is Applicable

Misunderstandings or Disputes Resolved Amicably: Parties resolve issues among themselves through mediation or mutual agreement.

Settlement Between Parties: This happens mainly in non-cognizable offense cases where the accuser and accused have reached a decision together.

Lack of Evidence: Whenever there isn't enough proof to proceed with the case, then the complainant may decide to recall his/her FIR.

Misuse of Law: Situations where FIRs were filed based on falsehood or ill-will.

Considerations Before Opting for This Method

Nature of the Offense: Withdrawal is more feasible in cases of non-cognizable offenses. In cognizable and serious crimes, however, irrespective of what the complainant wishes for, police and judiciary should investigate and prosecute according to law.

Legal Advice: It's crucial to consult with a legal professional to understand the implications of withdrawing an FIR and the correct process to do so.

Requirement of Submitting an Application in Affidavit Form

The police station where the FIR was filed should receive a formal application from the complainant. This application must take the form of an affidavit, certifying that the decision to withdraw the FIR was taken voluntarily and providing a statement of the grounds for the withdrawal.

Procedure Followed by the Police

The police may look into the reasons for the withdrawal request when they receive the application. A closure report, often referred to as a "Final Report" under Section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), may be issued by the police if they are certain that the complaint was really filed as a result of a misunderstanding or has been settled peacefully. A magistrate receives this report, which outlines the grounds for ending the inquiry, and has the last say over whether to accept it, close the case, or order more research.

The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Section 173, specifies the steps involved in the filing of a police report after an inquiry. This part is important because the police may decide to close it since the complainant has sought withdrawal.

It should be noted that whether to close a case lies with the magistrate or judge and not the police or complainant. For example, if it involves crimes against the state or society at large, such as rape and murder, justice demands such cases proceed to further stages of prosecution.

Method 2: Compounding of Offenses in Trial Court under Section 320 CrPC

Compounding offenses is a process of resolving some criminal cases out-of-court in India under section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) Act,1973 between the accused person and victim through their mutual consent. In case the offense is compoundable, this method will result in the withdrawal of the FIR and subsequent quashing order if any charges are leveled afterward. Therefore, it is important to distinguish between compoundable offenses and those that are non-compoundable besides understanding how compounding takes place.

Compoundable vs. Non-Compoundable Offenses

Compoundable Offenses: These are less serious crimes that are subject to compounding, which is when the parties resolve the dispute among themselves either with or without the court's help.

Non-Compoundable Offenses: They cannot be resolved out of court and are regarded as more severe. In some situations, the state may charge someone, and the complainant cannot dismiss the charges at their own will. This concerns offenses like theft, rape, and murder, among others. For these types of cases, the court alone has the ultimate say regarding how it ends, while a legal process must be strictly followed to its finality.

Steps in Compounding Offenses

  1. Agreement: The first step is for both parties to agree to compound the offense.
  2. Lodging with Court: When this agreement is reached an application must be made before the trial court where it was filed seeking permission to compound the offense and expressly stating that parties have willingly arrived at a compromise without any form of forceful or alluring actions having been involved.
  3. Hearing in Court: A hearing shall then be scheduled by the court to consider whether or not such an application should be granted. This shall involve ascertaining that such an agreement is free will-based and promoting justice if the offense is compounded.
  4. Determination by Court: If satisfied, it can permit compounding of an offense leading to dropping proceedings against the accused person, thereby resulting in the withdrawal of an FIR lodged on account of that compoundable offense.

It's important to note that the court has the final say in the matter. Even for compoundable offenses, the court may refuse to allow compounding if it believes that the offense's nature warrants a trial.

Section 320(1) of CrPC: Lists offenses compoundable without the court's permission and Section 320(2) of CrPC: Lists offenses compoundable with the court's permission.

Method 3: Quashing under Section 482 CrPC by Approaching the High Court

There is a legal option in India to have an FIR under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) quashed by going to the High Court. This clause gives the High Court the inherent authority to issue any orders that may be required to uphold any orders made under the CrPC, to stop judicial abuse, or to further advance the goals of justice.

How FIR Can Be Quashed by Approaching the High Court?

To have the FIR against them quashed, a person may petition the High Court. For legal reasons, the petitioner must persuade the court that the FIR filed against them is not a prima facie case, that it was filed to harass them, or that it flagrantly violates the court's procedure.

The High Court, while considering a quashing petition, takes into account several factors such as:

  • Legal Merit of the Case: Whether the allegations in the FIR, even if taken at face value, do not constitute a criminal offense.
  • Malafide Intent: Whether the FIR has been filed with malicious intent to harass the accused.
  • Abuse of Legal Process: Whether the criminal prosecution is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive.
  • Possibility of Conviction: Whether it is improbable that a conviction will be returned based on the evidence, making a continuation of the prosecution unjust.

Types of Crimes for Which FIRs Can Be Quashed

Not all FIRs are eligible for quashing. Generally, the High Court considers quashing petitions in the following scenarios:

Private Disputes: Where the matter involves a private dispute between two parties, for example, certain family disputes, matrimonial disputes, etc.

Compoundable Offenses: These are offenses where the complainant can enter into a compromise, and the court can quash the FIR based on such a compromise.

Lack of Evidence: Where there is a clear lack of evidence linking the accused to the crime.

Cases with Ulterior Motive: Cases where it is clear that the FIR was lodged with an ulterior motive to harass or blackmail the accused.

Non-serious Offenses: Non-serious offenses where the court believes that justice would be served better by not proceeding with the criminal prosecution.


In India, it's quite easy to withdraw an FIR (First Information Report), which is a formal complaint filed with the police. This shows that our legal system can adapt and has protections against misuse while ensuring justice. Even though an FIR is crucial for starting criminal proceedings, the law considers the relationships and conflicts involved to decide when it's okay to withdraw or cancel it.

If you're considering withdrawing an FIR or need legal advice, don't hesitate to consult with a criminal lawyer at Rest The Case. They can guide you through the process and discuss your options thoroughly.