FIR, First Information Report can be understood under section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. It refers to the first information provided to the police officer regarding the happening of an event which has to be reported. The one who files the FIR is called the informant.
The informant can be a victim or a witness, as long as the person has knowledge of the Commission of the offence (cognizable), they can report to the police. It’s very important as the trial usually proceeds on the filing of an FIR only.
The main factor that separates FIR from a Zero FIR is the fact that an FIR can only be filed in a Police Station of competent territorial Jurisdiction. While a Zero FIR can be lodged at any police station irrespective of the place of commission of crime and jurisdiction.
This zero FIR would be then transferred to the police station of appropriate jurisdiction subsequent to a preliminary investigation. The object of zero FIR is to put a legal obligation on the police to begin an investigation and take quick action without the excuse of the absence of jurisdiction.
In the case of State of Andhra Pradesh v. Punati Ramulu and Others, the Supreme Court announced the act of not registering an FIR due to jurisdictional limitations as a violation of duty.
In the more famous case of the suicide of Actor Sushant Singh Rajput, the issue of zero FIR had arisen again. An initial FIR was filed at Mumbai and then the parents of Sushant filed an FIR in Bihar. Rhea Chakraborti challenged the jurisdiction of Bihar FIR.
The Supreme Court, however, validated the FIR filed in Bihar keeping it in the rightful category of Zero FIR. The court noted that the main aim of zero FIR is to enhance the jurisdictional power of the police to curb criminal acts in India; however, it does expand their duties too.