How to file a criminal complaint case

हिंदी में पढ़ें
April 15, 2021
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty

The society is vulnerable to crime. Law protects the society and deters criminal approach. There is an established procedure of law to file a criminal case under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. Reporting of the crime is the first and the foremost step that sets the criminal law in motion.

What is a Criminal Complaint?

A complaint according to Section 2(d) of the CrPC is an allegation made to the Magistrate in writing or verbal form which mentions about the offence committed by a person (whether known or unknown), and does not include a police report.

In layman’s language, it is simply the written allegations of the complainant and contains a summary of facts of the matter/case that he/she seeks to present before the judges, and the relief that he/she seeks for the same. The person filing the complaint is called the “complainant”.

Connect with an expert lawyer for your legal issue

What is a Vakalatnama?

A Vakalatnama is a document that is submitted by the complainant thereby authorising an advocate/lawyer to argue the matter on his/her behalf. Even though an individual can file his/her own Vakalatnama, the terms used are extremely technical for a layman who does not belong to a legal background would not be able to prepare and fight a case on their own as well as an advocate who has legal knowledge can. A vakalatnama, thus, gives gives the advocate the authority to fight for justice and handle the court procedures on the complainant’s behalf.

It lists out the terms and conditions of authorisation and the rights of the advocate during the matter.

Consult:Top Criminal Lawyers in India

What is the Procedure for a Criminal Complaint Case?

There is a lengthy procedure for a criminal trial in India. The criminal proceedings, including the filing of a criminal complaint are essentially governed by the criminal procedural law of the country i.e. by the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

It is recommended to take the help of a criminal lawyer in order to understand the the full process of filing a criminal complaint. Given below is a typical procedure before, during and after the filing of a criminal complaint.

  1. Filing of a complaint by the informant / complainant at the police station.

  2. If the complaint relates to anon-cognizable offence i.e. where the police cannot arrest a person without a warrant, the police will not register the FIR (first information report) and will ask the informant to approach the court having jurisdiction over the area where the offence took place.

  3. However, if the complaint relates to the commission of acognizable offence i.e. where the police can arrest a person without a warrant, the police will register FIR under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.).

  4. Registration of FIR is followed by detailed investigation conducted by the police. This may include recording of statements of witnesses; search and seizure of documents and other property (if any, involved); collection of other evidence, if any (such as scientific evidence, medical evidence); examination and/or arrest of accused persons, and other processes of investigation.

  5. After the investigation has been completed, police will file either the charge sheet or a closure report before the competent court, depending upon availability of evidence. This is done under Section 173 of Cr.P.C.

  6. In case of a closure report having been filed, the informant / complainant may be given a chance by the court to oppose the closure of the case.

  7. In case of a charge sheet having been filed, cognizance of the offences committed is taken by the court (under Section 190 of Cr.P.C.).

  8. If the offence is triable exclusively by the Sessions Court, then the case will be committed to the Sessions Court. Otherwise, the Magistrate court will continue to handle the case.

  9. Next stage is the framing of charges if there is prima facie evidence against the accused person(s). However, if no prima facie case is made out, the accused will be discharged.

  10. If charges are framed, the next stage will be the recording of evidence of prosecution witnesses. This also includes their cross-examination by or on behalf of the accused persons.

  11. Next stage is the recording of statements of accused persons under Section 313 of Cr.P.C.

  12. Thereafter, recording of evidence of defence witnesses, if any, is done by or on behalf of the accused.

  13. In the next stage, final arguments take place (may be oral as well as written).

  14. Judgment delivered by the court. It may result in conviction or acquittal of accused persons, depending upon whether or not the charges are proved by evidence adduced by prosecution.

  15. In case of conviction of accused persons, sentence is awarded to the accused persons after hearing them on the question of sentence.

    Connect with an expert lawyer for your legal issue

Why do you need the help of a Lawyer?

Sometimes the law and the legal framework can get confusing and difficult to understand, especially when the issue is regarding criminal law and its vast procedure. In such a scenario, one may not realize how to determine the legal issue, the area to which the issue relates to, whether the issue requires going to court and, how the court procedure works. Seeing a lawyer and getting some legal advice can enable you to comprehend your choices and can give you the legal view for you to determine your legal recourse.

An experienced attorney can give you expert advice on how to handle your criminal issue owing to his/her years of experience in handling such cases. Acriminal lawyeris an expert on the laws and can help you avoid significant mistakes that may cause harm to reputation, cause you to be imprisoned for longer, or will require future legal proceedings to correct.You can alsoask a lawyer onlinea free legal question using LawRato's Ask a Free Question service.


These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.

Googling your legal issue online?

The internet is not a lawyer and neither are you.
Talk to a real lawyer about your legal issue.

Popular Criminal Lawyers

Advocate Pradeep Kumar
Rohini Court , Delhi
14 years Experience
Advocate Sunil Kumar Bakshi
Sector-16 , Faridabad
34 years Experience
Advocate J. P. Rinwa
Swej Farm, Sodala , Jaipur
20 years Experience
Advocate Rajesh Rai
Sector-19, Dwarka , Delhi
21 years Experience

Related Articles

Connect with top Criminal lawyers for your specific issue

Criminal Law Articles

How to Quash FIR?

Difference between Tort and Crime

Confession under the Indian Evidence Act

Harassment By Neighbours? Here's What You Can Do

User Reviews

4.7 - 24 reviews

Need a lawyer for my criminal case. Who to contact?

Shailendra on Jul 25, 2021

My parents illegally arrested in 498a case. Can they get bail?

Krishan on Jun 25, 2021

Can police arrest me for trespassing on my neighbor's property?

Madhu on Jun 14, 2021

can police investigate without warrant in a criminal case?

Sanjay on Jul 17, 2021

Police arrested my brother without FIR, what to do?

Syed on Jul 05, 2021

good advice. Who can I contact for my legal issue?

Manjeet on Jul 23, 2021

its very helpful on the subject

Bhavesh on Jun 18, 2021

it’s a very good article

Geeta on Jul 19, 2021

good article and easy to understand

Uday on Jul 06, 2021

nice one. Please share more info

Sandhya on Jun 17, 2021

informative with the law.

Anurag on Jun 26, 2021

how to contact a lawyer for my legal case?

Savita on Jun 30, 2021

nicely written. Great work

Shivani on Jun 20, 2021

more info needed on the law

Manpreet on Jul 02, 2021

Very nice article. English is very simple. Thank you for the information.

Sushant on Jul 02, 2021

Understood the subject with clarity.

Ranjeet on Jun 30, 2021

very well written

Rachna on Jun 29, 2021

nice article. Good legal advice

Anupam on Jun 27, 2021

Very nice article.

Tanu on Jun 24, 2021

needed a lawyer….what is the procedure?

Mandeep on Jul 01, 2021

Nice one.

Shivani on Jul 09, 2021

Tells all the legalities about the subject. Good work.

Ajay on Jul 15, 2021

Detailed and informative.

Saravanan on Jun 22, 2021

it’s a very nice legal article

Swetha on Jul 15, 2021