Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) Gautam Sawang on Tuesday ordered all police stations across the state to implement the 'zero FIR' rule. The decision comes just days after the brutal rape and murder of a 27-year-old veterinarian doctor at the outskirts of Hyderabad, in the neighbouring state of Telangana.
A ‘Zero FIR’ is a document that can be registered by any police station when a complainant approaches them for a cognizable offence, whether the case is in their jurisdiction or not. In the case of the Hyderabad vet, her family alleged that the Shamsabad police delayed the filing of an FIR citing jurisdictional issues.
Three cops were later suspended for dereliction of duty as the incident came to light.
"It is observed that when public are approaching the police station for registration of their cases. Often, they are being directed to go to other police stations on point of territorial jurisdiction which is not correct," the Andhra Pradesh DGP said in the memo issued on Monday.
Stating that there were provisions in the law and High Court and Supreme Court judgements for registering a 'Zero FIR', Sawang said, "Even if the alleged offence has been committed outside the territorial jurisdiction of the police station, FIR shall still be registered and the same shall be transferred to the appropriate police station."
"The police officers should be clearly informed that failure to comply with the direction of registration of FIR and a receipt of information about cognizable offence may invite prosecution of the police officer under section 166-A (Public Servant disobeying direction under Law) of IPC and it may also invite departmental action against them," the memo added.
The Andhra Pradesh DGP ordered that the details of the memo should be communicated to all police personnel in the state.
"Disciplinary action will be initiated against erring officers for non-compliance," the memo said.
The brutal crime which took place near a toll gate on the Outer Ring Road at Shamshabad on November 27 has sparked outrage across the country. On November 29, the Cyberabad police arrested four accused, Mohammed Ali alias Arif, J. Naveen, J. Shiva and Chennakeshavulu.
They have since been shifted to Cherlapally jail and are kept in separate and high-security cells, meant to house those accused in terror cases.
The police said that the accused, who were lorry drivers and cleaners, trapped the woman by deflating a tyre of her Scooty and later offering to help her fix it. After killing the victim, they carried the body in their truck near Shadnagar town around 30 km away, and set it ablaze.