Difference Between FIR and Chargesheet

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: June 03, 2023


Difference Between FIR and Chargesheet

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We might have faced some situations in our life when we need to file a first information report. If not, we must have heard about it. Apart from this, we might not have needed to go through a charge sheet. But these two terms are quite confusing because we listen to them often. Police can make an F.I.R. at any time when they receive a call. But it is different from the charge sheet because the charge sheet is presented in court.

F.I.R. is free. These copies are sent to senior officers. Although there is a clear distinction between an FIR and a chargesheet, people who hear these terms still get confused while using them. F.I.R. is the first action taken, but the chargesheet is for further processing.

FIR. vs chargesheet

F.I.R. stands for "first information report." The F.I.R. is the most basic report. It is registered once the police receive the complaint. The difference between the F.I.R. and chargesheet is that the F.I.R. is the initial process, which means that the chargesheet is filed later once the F.I.R. filed. Its work is to facilitate the post-investigation findings. It also includes the affidavit and witness statement. The name on the chargesheet is that of the person against whom charges are submitted, and this may also consist of some additional individuals who were named in the F.I.R., and these persons may be some others as well.

When a case is filed, it starts an investigation. It is because the court summons the accused when a charge sheet is filed.

Difference between F.I.R. and Chargesheet in tabular form

Parameters of comparisonFIRChargesheet
CauseWhen an offense has committed, police have the power to arrest, and an F.I.R. is lodged.When an F.I.R. is filed, a charge sheet is made after.
Stages of the reportA first information report is the first step of any investigation.Once the investigation is over, the police can file the charge sheet.
MeaningF.I.R. is the initial report, which is transmitted to the police either in writing or orally.A charge sheet is an important document. It shows that some crime had committed.
Defined in SectionAn F.I.R. is defined in Section 173 of the CrPC.A charge sheet is defined in Section 154 of the CrPC.
The F.I.R. and chargesheet are filed byAn F.I.R. is filed by someone who is a victim of the crime.The charge sheet is filed by the investigating officer for the offense
Filed inThe first information report is made at the police station by the officer in charge.The charge sheet is filed in the courtroom.
Withdrawal of the investigationThe withdrawal of an investigation is permitted when the offense is petty.In the case of a charge sheet, withdrawal of the investigation is strictly not allowed.
PurposeThe purpose of a FIR is to initiate the investigation.The purpose of the charge sheet is for trial in court.

What is F.I.R.?

An FIR means the first information report. It is an initial report. Based on the information provided by the aggrieved party and made by the on-duty officer. As it is the initial report, which is made at the very moment when the incident takes place. If any delay occurs, then the F.I.R. should be justified. FIR is not defined directly in the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973. Section 154(1) of the code says that cognizable offenses must be recorded by an officer at the police station.

In simple terms, a first information report includes the complaint made by the person in a police station regarding the crime or a cognizable offense. Based on this information, the police started the investigation. As per the rules, after filing an F.I.R., the police or the official in charge has to give one copy of the F.I.R. to the person who has filed the complaint.

In addition to this, a judicial magistrate also has the power to file a FIR. Judicial magistrates can lodge an F.I.R. by providing directions to the jurisdiction area of their respective police stations.

What is a zero FIR?

A zero FIR is essential whenever the victim or any other aggrieved party cannot identify the correct police station for filing the complaint.

So, at any police station, an individual can file a complaint; it doesn't need to be in the correct jurisdiction. It is the responsibility of the police to take up the investigation and mention that area in the FIR report.

It’s very needed when the victim or other aggrieved people can’t find the right police station to file their complaint. Zero FIR keeps the truth in the report. The legal procedure remains the same for a zero FIR.

An important condition for filing FIR.

  • Any information about the offense conveyed by the victim to the police officer must be kept confidential.
  • Any information provided that must be associated with the cognizable offense

Who can file an FIR?

  • An FIR can be filed by the person who is the actual victim.
  • Any person who is regarded as the victim's friend
  • A witness to the crime can also file an FIR.
  • An officer can also make an FIR.
  • Anyone who has information that an offense has been committed by someone

What is not an FIR?

  • Any report or statement made once the investigation is started
  • When the information conveyed is recorded after a few days of the offense.
  • When the information that is recorded is not related to the occurrence of any offense but is a message that is recorded to request help,
  • when any complaint is directly made to the magistrate.
  • Information is conveyed to the magistrate or person in charge of the police station on the mobile phone.

In the case of Damodar v. State of Rajasthan, it was found that information conveyed to the charge of the police station was conveyed by telephone, and the entry was made. But it will not be an FIR as per Section 154 of the Cr.P.C.

Even if complete information is provided by the victim to the police officer, as per the rules of the Cr.P.C., this will not be acknowledged as an FIR.

Steps to file an FIR

  • Any person who has information about the offense can file a complaint at the police station.
  • The person conveying the information must discuss the incident with the in charge, provide him with complete information about the incident, and answer the question asked by the in charge.
  • The officers in charge will note down all the information as provided by the person conveying the information.
  • The individual who is conveying the information to the person in charge can request that they read out the complaint they have written.
  • Once the information is recorded by the person in charge at the police station, the FIR must be signed by the person who conveyed the information.
  • The information should be verified by the complainant.
  • The person who has filed the FIR is entitled to get a copy of the FIR.
  • It must be noted that the complainant should provide every detail of the incident without making any fabrications. If the information provided turns out to be false, then it will mislead the case.

What if the FIR is not registered?

In cases where the FIR is not registered,

A person can simply meet the superintendent of police and some other highly ranked officer, such as the DIG, and send a letter to the concerned officers.

The police can either order an investigation or investigate the case.

What is the charge sheet?

A comprehensive and fully-fledged report of the inquiry is prepared by the investigating officer or police officer once the investigation is completed against the one who is accused, which is called the chargesheet. Once the chargesheet is prepared, it should be forwarded to the magistrate. So, the magistrate must receive the chargesheet within the prescribed period, which is 60 to 90 days.

To frame charges, a magistrate possesses the right to take cognizance.

The chargesheet time frame

in case the investigation is related to any offense that is punishable along with the date, or for 10 years, then 90 days.

If the investigation is concerned with some other offense, then for 60 days.

As per Section 173 of the Code of Procedure, "after the examination of witnesses and the collection of evidence are completed," the investigation officer is required to present a comprehensive report on the magistrate's table.

The major contents of a charge sheet are:

  • The first piece of information required is the party name.
  • Name of that person who is regarded as being acquainted with the case.
  • Name of the person who appears to have committed the offense
  • Information about the accused, if arrested or not
  • Information about the accused Whether he is in custody under Section 170
  • The investigation may be ordered by the magistrate when the court is not satisfied. Further investigation can be done by the police as per Section 178(2) of the CrPC.

Difference between an FIR and a chargesheet (in points)

  • An FIR is lodged when some unlawful case happens, but when we talk about a chargesheet, it is not prepared at first but after the FIR.
  • A first information report is connected with the offense and recorded by the on-duty police officer. Based on the FIR, the officers gather information and evidence. Based on this investigation, a report is prepared, called the chargesheet.
  • In any offense where the police have the power to make a custody decision, an FIR is lodged by the police. But a chargesheet is prepared after the FIR is filed at the police station. So, a chargesheet is a further process.
  • There are various stages included in an investigation, and an FIR by its name indicates that it is the first information report for an inquiry, and a chargesheet is the next step and is prepared once the FIR is filed.
  • Both FIR and chargesheet have their uses in the police investigation, but FIR and chargesheet is filed by different individuals. An FIR is filed by the person who is the victim of an offense, but the chargesheet is filed by the officer who is involved in the investigation.
  • Although an FIR and a chargesheet are simply comprehensive reports of information, an FIR is initially filed at a police station. But a chargesheet is filed after an FIR is filed in the courtroom.
  • Different documents are required for the trial in the courtroom and the initial steps of any investigations. On that basis, an FIR is filed at the police station, but a chargesheet is prepared when the investigation reaches the court.
  • An FIR is an initial report, and it must be filed and noted down by the charge promptly without wasting time. But a charge sheet is prepared without the prescribed period.


A "first information report" is simple to understand because we have often heard this term from our childhood in movies and normal discourse. But it becomes complicated when we hear a new term called the chargesheet, and both are used in cases of offenses in which a report is to be presented. This confusion can be solved easily with the information we have given in this article.

This article has covered all the essential points that are required to know the difference between an FIR (first information report) and a chargesheet. Moreover, it will also help you understand what an FIR is, what a chargesheet is, how it is used, and why it is used. How to file an FIR; under what circumstances an FIR will not be called an FIR; etc. We hope you will get a fair idea about an FIR and a chargesheet after reading the article.



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"Difference Between FIR and Chargesheet." Diffzy.com, 2024. Thu. 11 Jul. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-fir-and-chargesheet>.

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