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Step-by-Step Guide: From FIR to Judgement Back

For a survivor of rape as well as her family, the journey towards justice is exhausting as well as daunting. Here, we present the various steps involved in this process in a simple manner.

Filing an FIR

  • A survivor, her family or anyone aware of the crime can file a First Information Report (FIR) with the police as the first and official account of the crime.
  • Police investigation can begin only after the FIR is filed.
  • A copy must be given to the survivor and her family for free.
  • If an FIR is filed at a police station outside the jurisdiction of the crime, it is called a zero number FIR.
  • The police station must transfer a zero number FIR to the police station in charge of the investigation.

Recording a witness' statement

  • At the beginning of the investigation process, the police obtains written statements from the witnesses (if any) of the incident.
  • These witnesses can then act as additional voices against the assailant and support the survivor's case in court.

Investigation of crime scene

  • Any evidence that can place the survivor, witnesses and perpetrators at the time and place of the crime is crucial.
  • The crime scene is surveyed for any forensic or material evidence supporting the survivor's account.

Medical examination of the survivor

  • The medical investigation is a part of the official police investigation.
  • It comprises the treatment of the survivor as well as the documentation of any signs indicating rape.
  • The absence of any signs doesn't mean that rape hasn't occurred.

Rehabilitation of survivor

  • Doctors at a hospital, public or private, can initiate the process of the mental healing of the survivor by speaking with her and assuring her that she is not alone in the fight for justice.
  • Subsequently, a counsellor should be put in touch with her who can help in the long run.

Signing the panchnama

  • All the material possessions of the survivor and accused (clothes and jewellery worn at the time of the assault, etc) should be sealed and submitted to the investigating officer.
  • A confirmation that the evidence has been collected, called a panchnama, should be signed by at least two panchas or persons the survivor trusts.

Arrest of the accused

  • The police can directly arrest the accused if his whereabouts and identity are known to the survivor.
  • If they are unknown, the police can use sketches drawn with the help of the survivor or witnesses to track down and arrest the accused.
  • In some cases, the police arrests a number of suspects out of which the accused is identified through an official identification parade.

Medical examination of the accused

  • The accused is sent for a thorough medical checkup to check for any signs that might validate the survivor's account of the incident.
  • Even if these signs are absent, it does not prove that rape hasn’t occurred.

Recording the statement of the survivor and any witnesses before a magistrate

  • The survivor and any witnesses give a detailed description of the crime in their own words.
  • This is the official statement that allows for the chargesheet to be filed and it is used as evidence in court.

Filing of the chargesheet

  • The police submits a detailed account of the criminal investigation to the Sessions Court, which includes the statements given by the survivor, witnesses and accused.
  • The FIR as well of the findings of the investigation are also a part of the chargesheet.
  • Once the chargesheet is submitted to the court, the trial can begin.


  • A rape case is fought by the state in which the survivor lives in and not the survivor herself.
  • The public prosecutor, who fights on behalf of the survivor, as well as the lawyers of the accused, put forth their arguments and the survivor, witnesses and accused give their testimony.
  • All rape trials are to be held in-camera and therefore, are not open to the general public and media.

Delivery of the judgement

  • If found guilty, the accused can be jailed for a minimum period of 7 years, but which may extend to life imprisonment, and fined, depending on the exact nature of the assault.
  • If the incident is termed as 'rarest of the rare', the accused can be sentenced to death.


Disclaimer:In case you are a victim/survivor or know a person who has been raped, or has been/being physical abused and/or been/being sexually assaulted, Star India Private Limited and Aamir Khan Productions Private Limited hereby advise and direct that in such case the victim should (if not done already) speak and discuss or confide in a trusted family member(s), visit the nearby hospital equipped to deal with such crimes and also lodge necessary complaint with the local police station. Your use of the website shall be subject to the terms and conditions of this website, the user generated content and the privacy policy, as available on this website

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