What are the Differences between FIR And Complaint?


The key difference between a FIR and a police complaint is that an FIR relates to a cognizable offense whereas a police complaint can be filed for both cognizable and non-cognizable class A of offenses. Though the first information report is similar to a complaint, there are differences in terms of offenses they deal with, punishments, legal consequences, evidentiary value, etc. Further, the first information report is required to be lodged at the police station nearby the place of commission of the crime, while the complaint can be filed with a metropolitan magistrate or equivalent court as well, with a view to requesting action on it.

Also Read – How To Make Complaint Against Police?

First Information Report (FIR)

Section 154 of CrPC provides the definition clause for FIR, the bare provision reads FIR as “Every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offense, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be read Over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf”.

In general, terms when a victim, witness or person who has knowledge of the crime reports it to an Officer In Charge of the Police Station and thereafter the document which is prepared by the Police is known as FIR.


When Complainant makes an allegation to the Magistrate orally or in writing, with a view to providing him information regarding the crime committed by any person is termed as Complaint.

The complaint is defined under section 2(d) of CrPC and the bare provision reads as – “A complaint means any allegation made orally or in writing to a Magistrate, with a view to his taking action under this Code, that some person, whether known or unknown, has committed an offense, but does not include a police report”.

Differences between FIR and Complaint

1. It is given under Section 154 of CrPC It is given under Section 2(d) of CrPC
2. FIR is always made to Officer-In-Charge of  Police Station. The complaint is always made to the Magistrate.
3. In case of FIR request is made to register the incident report. In case a Complaint request is made to take Action.
4. After the FIR is lodged, the Police Officer conducts the investigation. On receipt of the Complaint, the Magistrate may conduct an inquiry.
5. The Magistrate can take cognizance of the case on the basis of the police report submitted after the investigation in the FIR. The Magistrate can directly take cognizance after inquiring on the Complaint.
6. FIR is always made in writing and in cases where information is given orally by the informer, it is recorded. Complaints can be made both ways either orally or in writing.
7. FIR is registered only in case of a cognizable offense. Complaints are made in case of both cognizable or non-cognizable offenses.


First Information Report is nothing but the information registered by the on-duty police officer, concerning an offense by any person. On the other hand, a complaint is a form of an appeal made to the magistrate, concerning an offense and making a request for justice.

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