What can you do if the police refuse to file an FIR ?

Navigating Legal Remedies When Police Refuse to File an FIR

In India, the First Information Report (FIR) is a critical first step in the criminal justice process, documenting the commission of a cognizable offense. However, there may be instances when the police refuse to file an FIR or conduct an investigation. Here’s what you can do in such situations:

Understanding Your Rights

  • Cognizable Offenses: FIRs are lodged for cognizable offenses, where the police can make arrests without a warrant. These include serious crimes like murder, rape, and theft.
  • Non-Cognizable Offenses: For less serious offenses, such as forgery or cheating, a complaint is submitted to a magistrate who directs the police to take action.

Police may refuse to file an FIR (First Information Report) for several reasons, which can include:

  • Bribe issue: Most Common issues is police want some bribe from the victim and they will register FIR after that.
  • Jurisdiction Issues: If the crime did not occur within their territorial jurisdiction, police might refuse to file an FIR.
  • Nature of the Offense: Police can refuse to file an FIR if the offense is non-cognizable, meaning it’s less serious and usually requires a warrant for an arrest. FIRs are typically filed for cognizable offenses like murder or theft.
  • Perceived Triviality: Sometimes, if the police consider the case to be of a petty nature, they may not file an FIR.
  • Influence and Intimidation: There can be instances where the accused are influential, and the police may refuse to file an FIR due to pressure or intimidation.
  • Lack of Clarity or Evidence: If the information provided is vague, unclear, or lacks substantial evidence, the police may hesitate to file an FIR.

Steps to Take if FIR is Refused

  1. Contact Lawyer: A Qualified lawyer can get the FIR registered from Court in no time.
  2. Approach a Higher Authority: If the police refuse to file your FIR, you can make a complaint to a higher-ranking officer. If this doesn’t work, you can approach the Superintendent of Police with a written complaint.
  3. Judicial Intervention: Should higher police officials also refuse, you have the option to make a formal complaint to the nearest judicial magistrate. The magistrate has the authority to direct the police to register the FIR if necessary.
  4. E-Complaints: Many states and the National Human Rights Commission offer e-complaint services where grievances against non-compliant police officials can be filed online.

Legal Provisions

  • CRPC 156 (3): Under this section of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, a magistrate is empowered to order an investigation into the matter.
  • Session Court Appeal: If the magistrate’s court refuses to take cognizance of your complaint, you can approach the Session Judge. Acting as Ex-officio justice of the peace, the judge can direct the police to register the case and investigate.


It’s important to know your rights and the remedies available to you if the police refuse to file an FIR. By following the legal avenues outlined above, you can ensure that your complaint is registered and investigated. Remember, persistence and knowledge of the legal system are key in such scenarios.

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