Can FIR be amended to add more names of accused persons later?

Can FIR be amended to add more names of accused persons later?


First Information Report (FIR)Question: I have filed an FIR with names of 3 persons who had committed the crime. Later on, I came to know that there were 2 other persons who also played a major role in committing crime. Is it possible for me to change or amend the FIR and to include the names of these 2 other persons by describing their roles in the crime?

Answer: FIR means “First Information Report”. It implies the report or complaint given, first in point of time, by the complainant to the police to register the offence. FIR, given to the police promptly after the offence takes place, has some sanctity attached to it. If the FIR is given promptly after the incident, it is usually felt that it is without premeditation and that it has been given in the natural way describing the incident as it happened. A delayed FIR is sometimes seen with suspicion. Thus, it is important that the FIR should be given in the natural way describing the incident as it happened and not with premeditation or afterthoughts.

Once an FIR has been lodged, it cannot be amended. An amended FIR implies premeditated complaint or a complaint lodged after having afterthoughts, which means that the details of the incident may be twisted. An amended FIR cannot be termed as “First Information Report”. An amended FIR is like a further statement of the complainant and not his first statement or report.

Having said that, it does not mean that even if names of more accused persons are revealed later, those names cannot be added to the list of accused persons. In fact, the very purpose of the police conducting detailed investigation is to ascertain the truth and to collect the evidence. Therefore, investigation also includes collection of evidence on the issue as to who all are involved in the offence as accused persons. If the investigating officer finds evidence about the involvement of some new accused persons in the offence, those persons can definitely be added as accused persons at a later stage. However, this is not done in the FIR. The FIR, as it is filed in the beginning, is final and it cannot be amended later. But, the names of new accused persons, if found during investigation, can be added as accused persons by police during its investigation by making a mention thereof in the case diary of that case. Later, on completion of the investigation, if the investigating officer finds sufficient evidence, he can file a charge sheet even against the newly added accused persons. The law does not require that the charge sheet can be filed only against those persons whose names were shown as accused persons in the FIR. Charge sheet is required to be filed against all those accused persons against whom evidence is available to prosecute them in a court of law, irrespective of whether or not their names were shown in the FIR.

In fact, I may point out that Section 319(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (Cr.P.C.), lays down that even during the trial stage the name of a new accused person can be added to the list of the accused persons if the evidence shows his involvement. Section 319(1) of Cr.P.C. is reproduced below:

319. Power to proceed against other persons appearing to be guilty of offence.—(1) Where, in the course of any inquiry into, or trial of, an offence, it appears from the evidence that any person not being the accused has committed any offence for which such person could be tried together with the accused, the Court may proceed against such person for the offence which he appears to have committed.”

Thus, it should be clear that, even after the registration of the FIR, the name of a person can be added as an accused person in a case at any stage of the investigation (or further investigation after filing of charge sheet) or even during trial if there is evidence to support his involvement in the offence. However, as I mentioned above, it cannot be done by amending the FIR. The law permits other methods of doing so, as described above.

Now, coming to the facts of your case, if you have later discovered that 2 more persons were involved in the offence committed against you, whose names were not shown in the FIR given by you, you can give a further statement to the investigating officer under Section 161 of the Cr.P.C. The police officer conducting investigation will examine that issue and if there is sufficient evidence against such persons, their names will be shown as accused persons during investigation and they may be charge sheeted by police, depending upon availability of evidence against them. There is no need to amend the FIR for that purpose, nor is it permissible to amend the FIR.

About Dr. Ashok Dhamija

Dr. Ashok DhamijaDr. Ashok Dhamija is a New Delhi based Supreme Court Advocate, holds Ph.D. in Constitutional Law, is author of 3 law books, and is an ex-IPS officer. He is the founder of this law portal. Read more by clicking here. List of his articles. List of his Forum Replies. List of his Quora Answers.

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