File a criminal complaint in India

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File a criminal complaint under CRPC

In India, people often refer to verbal information given to the police as a complaint. However, it will be considered information and not a complaint. Let us understand this.

In Section 154 of the CrPC, information to the police is when anyone who witnesses or has knowledge of a cognizable offence reports such information to the police. On the other hand, a ‘complaint’ under Section 2(d) of the CrPC refers to an allegation brought to the knowledge of the Magistrate regarding an offence committed by a known or unknown person. However, people often refer to verbal information given to a police official as a complaint, and it will be considered information and not a complaint.

The legal criminal complaint process in the CrPC is designed to take action against a known or unknown person who has committed an offence. An individual with information about a crime or a victim can complain to Section 200, either orally or in writing.

Complaint in Case of Non-Cognizable Offence

A crime is classified as cognizable and non-cognizable. In common terms, a non-cognizable is a less serious offence where Police await a magistrate's order and a warrant to investigate or make an arrest, respectively. Some examples of non-cognizable offences are Cheating, Defamation, and public nuisance.

If such offences are reported to the police, they will record it in the books of the Police Station. Thereafter, you or the victim will be referred to the Magistrate under section 155 of CRPC.

Magistrate under Section 190 (1) (a) CrPC can also take notice of such complaint. The Magistrate can initiate proceedings against the accused by issuing a notice, compelling their presence before the court, if he finds that a crime has occurred. The Magistrate may also order further investigation before deciding on the course of action against the accused, under Section 156(3) CRPC.

Complaint in Case of Cognizable Offence

Cognizable offences are grave and require immediate attention. The police can investigate or arrest even without permission or a warrant. For example, Rape, Murder, Dowry Death, Theft, etc.

Here, the police must register the FIR u/s 154 of CRPC. If the police fail to do so, then such a complaint of a cognizable offence can be made to the Magistrate. In that case, he would still have the power to direct the concerned Police to lodge an FIR and investigate under Section 156(3) of CRPC.

The insight of an experienced lawyer who specialises in criminal law matters the most. LawRato helps you find professionals in your city who can help you make the right decision to serve your best interests.

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Filing an FIR and its underlying Procedure

LawRato can provide you with the top-rated lawyer in your city whose advice will help you reach the decision on whether you should file an FIR or not. You can consult an experienced lawyer and get all your doubts cleared with LawRato’s services, like Free Legal Advice and Ask a Free Question.

A brief description of the procedure for filing an FIR is as follows:

LawRato File a complaint by visiting the police station of your locality for a cognizable offence.

LawRato The police will then register an FIR and initiate an investigation immediately. This includes recording witness statements, searching and seizing of relevant documents and property, and examining or arresting the accused persons.

LawRato Upon completing the investigation, the police will submit either the charge sheet or a closure report to the competent court, depending on the availability of evidence, under section 173 of CRPC.

Understand the reporting process at How to File an FIR: Procedure, Format & Documents Required ( and learn about additional options like e-FIRs before choosing a lawyer through LawRato.

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