How To File Criminal Complaint Case?


India has a well established and constitutional framework for criminal trials. Criminal law is basically ruled by

1) Indian Penal Code, 1960

2) The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973(Cr.P.C

3) The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (IFA)

Criminal Procedure Code is the main legislation on procedure for the management of substantive criminal law in India. The essential purpose of criminal law is to defend society against criminals and lawbreakers. In a wider sense, the criminal law includes Substantive criminal law and procedural law both. But Indian citizens are not well aware of their legal rights and most importantly when it comes about women, India has a poor reputation on this. Because violation against women in India increasing day by day and many cases against women violations are pending in our country. In Criminal Law there are several procedures are there to file a criminal complaint case. Here the author is going to give a proper description on filing a criminal complaint case.

What is a Complaint?

The word “Complaint” which has been used in Section 2(d) of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973[1] is any allegation made orally or in writing to the magistrate that any known or unknown person has committed an offence and which is made with a view to his taking action under Criminal Procedure Code, and which does not include a police report.

But Complaint doesn’t include any kind of offence relating to marriage, defamation and offences mentioned in respective Sections as Section 195 which deals with Giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of an offence, Section 196 which deals with Using in judicial proceeding evidence known to be false or fabricated. Section 197 which deal with knowingly issuing or signing a false certificate relating to any fact of which such certificate is by law admissible in evidence. The complaint is one of the modes in which a Magistrate can take cognizance of an offence.

Essential Requisites of the Complaint:

1) In Complaint, the allegation can be oral allegation or written allegation.
2) It must be made to a magistrate
3) The complaint must be made with a view to taking action by the magistrate
4) Complaint Contains an allegation of some person known or unknown who has committed an offence.

No Specific Form is prescribed:

There is no such significant format is pre-arranged which the complaint may take. A complaint need only state the facts of the commission of an offence that addressed to a magistrate and ending with a prayer. No such specific provision is required where the offence is to be stated.

Examination of the Statement:

It is one of the essential things of complaint when the magistrate takes cognizance of the offence. It has been stated in Section 200 of the Criminal Procedure Act that the magistrate must examine the complaint on oath however the complaint is in written or otherwise. The main object of the examination is to find out whether the complaint is justified or whether it is vexatious or intended only to harass such a person. A magistrate must not refer the complaint to the police officer. He is bound to receive the complaint and after examining the complaint he should proceed according to the law.

In the case of Abhayeswari Debi vs. Kishori Mohan Banerjee[2] the High Court has held that if the complaint is presented on behalf of any Pardanashin lady, the magistrate may issue a commission to examine her.
In any situation, the magistrate cannot send the complaint to the police officer for investigation later on u/s 156(3) as he took cognizance on the complaint.

When Magistrate not competent to take cognizance of the case:

Section 201 of Cr.P.C states that if the complaint made to the Magistrate who is not competent to take cognizance of the offence, he shall return it for presentation to the proper Court with support to that effect if the complaint is written complaint. And if the complaint is not written then he directs the complaint to the proper court. If the court acquitted the accused on the ground that there is no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the offence, then the acquisition would be illegal. Because the court ought to have returned the complaint to present to the proper court instead of giving acquisition to the accused person.
In Brij Kishore Singh vs. Nutan Singh case[3] where the magistrate ordered an investigation by police in a complaint. The High Court directed the magistrate to consider the matter afresh whether he had jurisdiction where any investigation is pending in respect of similar accusation in some other police station or in respect of enquiry before any other court.

Postpone of issue of the process:

Section 202 of Cr.P.C states that after receiving the complaint of an offence for which the magistrate was allowed to take cognizance of the case if he thinks he can postpone the issue of the process. If the accused resides at the place which is beyond the areas in which he is exercising his jurisdiction. Instead of directing investigation by such police officer, the magistrate may inquire into the case himself or direct investigation by another person as he thinks fit.
The scope of the inquiry under section 202 of Cr.P.C is limited – only to the ascertainment to the truth or falsehood of the allegation made in the complaint :
1) on the material placed by the complainant before the court
2) for the limited purpose of finding out whether a prima facie case for the issue of the process has been made out.

Through the case Mariam Bee vs. The Commissioner of Police, Madras[4]it has been held that when the magistrate orders an investigation under the section 200 of Cr.P.C, the police cannot say that the commission of Judicial Enquiry appointed by the Government had held an enquiry into the matter. They must submit the report of their investigation.

Dismissal of the Complaint :

After considering the statements on oath of the complaint and of the witness or after investigating the whole matter as per the section 202 of the Cr.P.C, if the magistrate comes on the opinion that there is no such reason or there is no sufficient ground for the proceeding. The magistrate may dismiss the complaint but he shall briefly record his reason for doing so.
In the case Chandra Deo Singh vs. Prokash Chandra Bose[5]where the dismissal of a complaint by the magistrate at the stage of inquiry under Section 202 was set aside.

The word “complaint” and “informant” are not the same words or cannot be used interchangeably. Under section 154 of the code, the state is the prosecutor and the person whose information is cause for lodging the report is the informant. Section 154 of the criminal procedure code deals with FIR.

What is FIR?

FIR is a written document relating to the commission of a cognizable offence. A person can give information to the police, Section 154 of the code provides for the manner in which such information is to be recorded. Section 154 states that:
1) The information is to be given to the officer in charge of a police station who has the jurisdiction for investigating the case
2) The oral information is given to such an officer, the officer himself will be reduced to writing by himself or under his direction.
3) The written information shall be read over to the informant.
4) The informant then shall forthwith be given a copy of the information as recorded in an aforesaid manner.

Who can file FIR?

Anyone can file FIR. Who has been victimized of the crime or who has witnessed a crime or has information regarding the crime?

Evidentiary value and state of mind of the person lodging FIR:

The Supreme court has spoken on this
The FIR gives information of the commission of a cognizable offence is required to be reduced to writing by the officer in charge of the police station and the FIR has to be signed by the person who has filled the FIR. It cannot be used as evidence against the maker if he himself becomes an accused nor to corroborate another witness. The fact of the state of mental agony of the person associates of the deceased victim apparently under the shock of the occurrence reported has always to keep in mind.

Next step of filing FIR:

After filing FIR, the police starts investigating that may include arrest. After finishing the investigation the police will record all the information in a charge sheet. If there is enough information on the charge sheet the case will go to the court. After finishing the investigation if the police don’t find enough proof that the crime has been committed then they can close the case. The police officer is bound to inform the person who has filled the FIR that they decided to close the case.


FIR and Complaint are not the same words. There is a huge difference between the Complaint and FIR. FIR is a formal registration of a cognizable offence to the officer in charge of the police officer who has the jurisdiction to deal with this and complaint is a technical way to complain to the magistrate. Though FIR is another mode of Criminal Complaint. A criminal complaint is an exact procedure. People should know about their legal rights and the process through which they can get remedies.


[1] The Code of Criminal Procedure,R.V.Kelkar’s

[2] (1915) ILR 42 Cal 19.

[3] 1995,CrLJ 1486

[4] 1971 CrLJ 180

[5] (1963)2 Cri LJ 397, 400:AIR 1963 Sc 1430

This article is written by Farheen Sultana student of 4th year, B.A.LL.B at Haldia Law College.

Also Read: How To Make Complaint Against Police?

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