Complaint to Magistrate

Complaint to Magistrate

The Complaint is defined in Section 2(d) of CrPc 1973. As per this section, it states that any allegation made verbally or in writing to a Magistrate, to take action under this Criminal Procedure Code, that some person, whether known or unknown, has committed an offence, but it does not include a police report or statement.[i]

Essentials of a Valid Complaint:

The following are the essentials of a valid complaint;

  • A complaint requires an allegation of commission of an offence by offender.
  • The complaint can be orally or in writing.
  • The complaint must be made to a Magistrate.
  • The complaint should be made to take action by the Magistrate.

Section 200 – 203 deals with the complaint to the magistrate in Criminal Procedure Code 1973.

Section 200 Examination of Complainant:

A complaint is made to the Magistrate in a view with taking cognizance of the offence, where it the Magistrate takes cognizance of the offence on a complaint, the first step is to examine the complainant and the witnesses present and the matter of such shall reduce to the writing of the examination and signing it by the complainant and the witnesses and the Magistrate.[ii]

In the case Gurudas Balkrishna v. Chief Judicial Magistrate Goa[iii] , a complaint was filed by the applicant on 31st July 1992 here the Magistrate has not even recorded his statement for the verification of the complainant for several months. It was held that the Magistrate to record the evidence for the complainant and the witnesses, if any, within a week from the date of its order, and the magistrate is not permitted to delay the verification for months.

Procedure By Magistrate Not Competent To Take Cognizance Of The Case (Section201):

If the complaint in writing has been made to Magistrate not competent to take the cognizance of the offence, he shall;

  • The Magistrate can return the complaint about the presentation to the proper Court with approval to that conclusion.
  • If the complaint is not in writing then the Magistrate shall direct the complainant to the proper Court.[iv]

If an offence has occurred in the presence of the Magistrate, here the Magistrate has the power to take the Cognizance of offence directly by filing a complaint or he can appoint his subordinate to file a complaint against accused and it is clearly explained in Section 153(3) of CrPc.

In this case, Rajendra Singh v.  State Of Bihar,[v] the court acquitted the accused under the ground that the court has no jurisdiction to take action over the complaint. Hence it was held that the order of acquittal was illegal as the court can return the complaint about the presentation to the proper court instead of acquitting the accused.

Section 202 Postponement Of Issue of Process:

Any Magistrate on the acceptance of a complaint of an offence which he is authorized to take the cognizance may, if he thinks suitable, may in this case where the accused is residing at a place beyond the area of jurisdiction then the postponement of issue of process against the accused, and either investigate into the case himself or order an inquiry to be made by the police officer for the purpose of deciding whether there is sufficient ground for proceeding.

If the complainant is not made by a court, no such direction for investigation shall be made unless the complainant and the witness present (if any) have been examined under Section 200.[vi]If the complaint is exclusively trialable by the Court of Sessions then the Magistrate shall not direct the complaint about the investigation.

In D Lakshminarayan v. Narayana,[vii]the Supreme Court observed that the sub-section (1) of Section202 CrPc 1973, a Magistrate who receives a complaint disclosing offence exclusively trialable in Sessions Court is not debarred from sending it to the police for investigation.

Whether a Magistrate can issue process on the basis of Material Facts and Direct Investigation By Police?

The Magistrate can issue process without a police report under the material facts as per the Section 202 CrPc.The issue of process can be in summons or order and it is the power of the Magistrate to provide it by checking into the facts provided. With the 2006 amendment in Sec 202 CrPc, it is a duty of  Magistrate to hold the inquiry or the investigation as the accused may be residing not beyond the area where is exercises his jurisdiction.

Object of Section 202 CrPc:

The following are the objects of section 202 The Code of Criminal Procedure:

  • To determine the facts of the offence.
  • To prevent wastage of time of the Court.
  • To help the Magistrate to see whether there are sufficient ground and proceeding of the case.

Section 203 Dismissal Of Complaint:

The Magistrate after considering the statements on the oath of the complainant and the witnesses and the result of the investigation or inquiry under S.202, there in his judgement no sufficient grounds for proceedings then he shall dismiss the complaint, and record his reasons for dismissing the complaint.

In Hansabai Payagude v. Ananda Payagude,[viii]here the accused was discharged after considering all the documents produced by the complainant and thereafter a new prosecution was filed under the same facts. On these facts, the Court held that the court may not consider this as there is no sufficient ground for proceeding with the complaint unless he is satisfied with some additional evidence approaching.

Filing Of Second Complaint:

If the first complaint of the complainant was dismissed by the Magistrate under Section 203, a second complaint may be filed by the complainant, but it is allowed only under some exceptional circumstances on the same fact exist.


‘A’ filed a complaint before a magistrate, the complaint was dismissed under Section 203, CrPc.And ‘A’ again filed a second complaint to the same magistrate in the same court, but the court held that here the second complaint can be entertained, if it is allowed for the second complaint then there must be some exceptional circumstances such as:

  • The previous order of the complaint about dismissal was passed on an incomplete record.
  • On misunderstanding the nature of the case.
  • The order which was passed was unjust.
  • The new facts must be brought on record in comparison to the previous proceedings.

Hence in this illustration, the second complaint of ‘A’ was identical to the first complaint therefore it was rejected.

Effect Of Dismissal:

The Magistrate has no power to review the order of dismissal of the first complaint and it leads to the legal determination of complaint If the complaint is dismissed for the default it cannot be revived by order of dismissal.[ix]

Frequently Asked Question

What is a complaint?

A complaint is an allegation that made to the Magistrate with a view that he may take cognizance of the offence. The complaint should be made orally or in written and it should mention the offence committed by the accused.

What are the essentials of a complaint?

• A complaint requires an allegation of commission of an offence by offender.

• The complaint can be orally or in writing.

• The complaint must be made to a Magistrate.

• The complaint should be made with a view to taking action by the Magistrate.

“The views of the authors are personal


 i) The Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, Section 2(d)

 ii) The Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 Section 200

iii) 1994 Cr. C.J. 444 (Maharashtra)

iv) The Code of Criminal Procedure,1973, Section 201

v) 1989 Cr. L.j. 2277 (Pat).

vi) Section202, The Code of Criminal Procedure,1973.

vii) A.I.R. 1976 S.C.1672.

viii) (1949) 51 (Bombay) LR 585.

ix) Bindeshwari Prasad v. Kali Singh AIR 1967 SC 2432

x) S.N Misra, The Code Of Criminal Procedure,1973,350-59(Central Law Publications)

Malavika P
My name is Malavika P and I am from Nehru Academy of Law Kerala ,pursuing BBA LL.B(Hons.).I am interested in Criminal Laws,Constitutional Laws and Media Laws.During my free time I used to research on new topics and learn about it.I spend my time mostly watching thriller movies and also reading classic fictions.I would love to try new food and I am passionate about cooking, it is really a great experience that makes me happy always.