FIR vs Chargesheet: Difference and Comparison

What is FIR?

FIR stands for First Information Report. It is a written document that a victim of any crime files in the police station. This initiates the investigation of the offense. However, it is not a legal document.

It is not necessary that only the victim can file this. A witness also has the right to do so. An FIR will have the date, time, and location of the crime, along with the description of the incident.

After the FIR is filed, the police must start their investigation. The information presented in an FIR is confidential during the process of the inquiry. FIR is defined in section 173 of the CrPC.

The police officer who filed the report is bound to provide a copy of the registered FIR to the person who filed it for free. FIR is necessary because it starts the legal process and criminal justice.

What is a Chargesheet?

A chargesheet is a legal document presented in court and composed by investigating agencies. This is the final report that comes after the investigation is completed.

A chargesheet is an elaborate report of the gathered evidence, statement of witness statements, forensic reports, and any other relevant information that came up during the investigation.

It legally accuses one or more people who have committed a crime. It summarizes the crimes they have committed. A chargesheet is legally bound.

The chargesheet also notifies the accused people of the allegations against them, which enables them to compose a defense. Once the chargesheet is filed in court, the case moves forward with further legal proceedings.

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Unlike FIR, the chargesheet is a public document. The concerned parties can scrutinize it. A chargesheet contains the names of the parties, the description of the crime, and whether the accused of the crime is under arrest or not.

It will also tell if the police have taken any steps against the accused or not. The chargesheet is defined in section 154 of the CrPC. This report is used during the trial of the case to prove the offences.

Difference Between FIR and Chargesheet

  1. FIR is the report of a criminal case to file the alleged offense for the first time, whereas a chargesheet is reported after the completion of the investigation. So, FIR is a preliminary report, and the chargesheet is the final report.
  2. FIR is not a legal document as it is only the initial stage of a criminal case. At the same time, a chargesheet is a formal legal document offered to the court.
  3. FIR can be filed for petty offenses, but filing chargesheet for petty crimes is not allowed.
  4. FIR is filed by the victim of the crime, and the chargesheet, on the other hand, is filed by the investigation Officer.
  5. FIR is filed in the police station, but the chargesheet is done in the court.

Comparison Between FIR and Chargesheet

Parameter of ComparisonFIRChargesheet
MeaningIt is the initial complaint or report of the crime.It is a detailed investigation report.
Time of filingIt is filed at the start of a criminal case.It is filed after the investigation is done.
Legal statusFIR is not a legal document, but it initiates inquiry.A chargesheet is a formal legal document us.
Filed byFIR is filed by the complainant.The chargesheet is filed by the investigating agency.
Witness statementIt may or may not contain the statements given by witnesses.A chargesheet will definitely include witness statements in it.
References
  1. https://www.academia.edu/download/52081926/PhD_Paper3.pdf
  2. http://www.csjournals.com/IJCSC/PDF11-1/3.%20Kanchan.pdf
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Last Updated : 28 February, 2024

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