It is often seen that once in a lifetime a person has to go to a police station to file a police complaint, also known as an FIR.
Generally, there are two kinds of criminal complaints. The first one is where the complaint is given privately to the magistrate and the second one is where the First information report (FIR) is filed in the police station.
In this article, we are going to read about how to file a police complaint in India?
What is a police complaint?
Section 2 (d) in the code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 defines a complaint as a “Complaint” which means any allegation made orally or in writing to a magistrate, with a view to his taking action under this code, that same person, whether known or unknown, has committed an offence, but does not include a police report.
Now, what is particularly a Police Complaint?
A Police Complaint is an official notification that is addressed to the police department requiring legal intervention. The need for a police complaint comes when a particular incident or event happens. Filing a police complaint is the first and foremost stage of initiation of any criminal proceedings. The police complaint ultimately leads to the prosecution of the accused person.
The details about the event or situation are extensively specified in the complaint which helps the police in taking the legal action which is necessary to rectify the situation. the complaint is documented for future references and it serves the purpose of an official document that helps support the investigation of the matter that has been reported.
You can file a police complaint in matters like
- Losing some important and valuable item
- Stalking by someone
- Assault by someone
- Disturbance of any kind
If the complaint is accepted and the investigation in the matter is commenced, the police then go ahead to lodge an FIR.
Who can file a police complaint?
According to the rule and the law, any person can file a police complaint provided that the person should have knowledge of the offence which has been committed and whether that offence might or might not personally interest or affects him/her.
Therefore it is not necessary that only the person who is aggrieved will have the right to complain. Any person who has knowledge of the offence or who is aware of the offence that occurred can file a police complaint at the nearby police station.
The complaint can be written by any person or an entity who wishes to report something that was in violation of the general law, regardless of whether the person who is complaining is the victim of the crime, friend of the victim, family member of the victim or any other person who has witnessed the crime being committed.
It is also to be noted that if a false complaint is being given by anyone to the police, then such a person can be prosecuted under section 203 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 for giving false information about the offence.
When can a police complaint be filed?
So the ideal time to file a police complaint is immediately after the crime or the incident has taken place.
But there are exceptions, in some cases such as rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, etc, the mental trauma is so high that the aggrieved person may take time to come out of that trauma and so there may be a delay in filing a complaint.
It is important to note that if the police refuse to file a complaint, refuse to register an FIR or undertake the investigation further, then in this, a situation the aggrieved can seek remedy under section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 by filing an application before the magistrate who is competent to give directions to the police to go ahead and register the FIR.
Where can a police complaint be filed?
A police complaint should be filed at the police station that has jurisdiction over the area in which the offence was committed and after that, the complaint should be reported to the Station house officer (SHO) or the officer in charge.
In case of an emergency or urgency for serious offences, any police station could be reached. This is known as zero FIR. Later the complaint can be transferred to the required jurisdiction.
If the police officer or the SHO who is on duty is unavailable, then the senior most police officer who is available at that time in the police station will help to file the complaint or the FIR.
How to file a police complaint in India?
So basically there are two ways to file a police complaint in India. One is the offline method and the other one is the online method. Let us discuss each one of them in detail.
The steps to file a police complaint in an offline method are explained below
The first step is to go to the police station and inform them about the crime or the incident that has happened.
The complaint can be informed in two types.
- The first one is that the complainant can write the complaint beforehand, and take it to the police station. Inform the police officer that a complaint needs to be filed.
- And the second way is that the complainant can go to the police station and tell the whole incident orally which will be written down by the police as a complaint.
You don’t need to worry about the documentation part as no documentation is required. The information given orally is enough and sufficient to register a complaint.
You also don’t need to worry if you don’t remember the face or the details of the accused against whom the complaint is filed. The complainant can describe as much as he/she remembers. Approximate figures of details should be given if the complainant is not sure about the specific details.
Before finally submitting the complaint, it must be read carefully by the complainant in order to verify the facts, and after that, he/she should sign the final complaint.
The Police will then stamp the complaint and provide the complainant with a ‘complaint number’
The Police will then provide a xerox copy of the complaint filed which must be stamped and signed.
The police will direct the complainant to file with the magistrate if the complaint is for a non-cognizable Offence.
The procedure to file an online complaint differs from state to state. If your city has this facility of registering complaints online, then it can be done through the internet.
The steps to file an online complaint are explained in the steps given below. These are a few basic steps that are easily present on the official website and follow the steps which are given three on the website itself.
Visit the official website of the concerned police station.
Select the ‘service’ option that is given somewhere on the home page.
Find the option of the list and select a suitable category and then register your complaint
After the above step, a new page will be displayed. On this page, you need to fill the all the details that are asked to fill in the registration form. The complainant must not forget to give the email id that is working and a WhatsApp number that is in use while filing a complaint.
Re-check all the details before finally submitting the form
After submission of the complaint, a copy of the complaint/FIR in PDF form would be sent to your email id provided by the complainant.
What should you include in a Police Complaint?
The body of a police complaint mainly has three components
This component consists the details of the incident. The complainant should describe the incident that has occurred or the one which was in his knowledge in simple and crisp words. This should mention the date on which the event took place as well as the time of its occurrence.
The second part consists of the series of events that emerged afterwards. Full details of the wrongful incident that happened with the complainant should be clearly told. All the loss that has occurred, whether the loss is monetary, physical damage, loss of valuable items or possession etc, all the things must also be included here. It is important to note that the nature of the complainant is not vitiated just because a wrong section was mentioned.
The third part consists of the prayer and the details of the complainant’s details. Here the prayer clause should be included wherein what action the complainant is seeking should be clearly established to the police officer or the Station house Officer. The Complete details of the complainants including his/her address, contact number, etc must be mentioned in this part.
Points to be kept in mind before filing a police complaint
Here are a few points that should be kept in mind before filing a police complaint.
- After any incident has happened, the filing of the complaint shouldn’t be delayed, it should be filed immediately.
- An oral complaint should be put in writing and must be read aloud and explained to the complainant by the officer.
- A police complaint can be filed in any language and can be filed against multiple persons
- The police complaint should be specific and to the point.
- The police complaint should be recorded in the first person.
- The time of arrival and departure of the complainant should be mentioned in the daily diary at the police station.
- Describing the incident to the police is enough, there is no requirement to give any legal provisions and laws by the complainant.
- Words that are complex, details and terminologies that are unnecessary should be avoided to include in a police complaint.
This was all about how to file a police complaint in India? I hope this article would have helped you in some or the other way. If you have any doubt regarding this topic, please feel free to ask in the comments section below.