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How To File A Police Complaint?

A Criminal Complaint is of two types. One being FIR (First Information Report) and other being a private complaint (one given to a Magistrate).

Apart from these two types of complaints, an individual can also file a Police Complaint.

A Police Complaint is initial reporting of any crime or offence. It is a narration of facts about the incident in laymanís words. Whereas an FIR is the first report made by the police about the offence after you have filed a police complaint.

After the police complaint is filed, the police officer can start an investigation and file an FIR for the same. An FIR is only made for cognizable offences.

When can a police complaint be filed?

One should ideally file a police complaint immediately after the incident/crime have taken place. In certain cases of sexual harassment, domestic violence, rape, etc. women usually take time to come out and report the crime/incident due to mental trauma. In such cases, even if there is a delay one can file a police complaint.

Where can one file a police complaint?

One can file a police complaint in the nearest police station in whose jurisdiction the crime was committed. However, in case of an urgency, for a serious offence (cognizable offence), a police complaint can be filed in any police station. The Police Officer will have to register Zero FIR immediately.

Who can file a Police Complaint?

Anyone can file a police complaint. The victim of the crime, victimís family members, friends or any witness to the crime can file a police complaint.

Note: If you know someone who is a victim of any crime, you can file a police complaint on his/her behalf.

Can a police complaint be filed without going to a police station?

Yes. A complaint can be filed online and offline without going to the police station.

Offline
  • Type or Write a police complaint
  • Address it to the Senior Police officer of the concerned police station
  • It can also be addressed to the Commissioner of police or Dy. SP.
  • Send it to the police station through Registered Post Acknowledgment Due (RPAD).
  • The police will either lodge an FIR or conduct an investigation
  • The police may then come over to the residence of the victim/person giving the complaint and take their statement.

Online
  • Procedure for online complaint differs from state to state
  • If the respective state or city provides for such a service it can be done through internet
  • One must access the website and follow the Steps given on the website
  • A copy of complaint/FIR would be sent to the email address provided by the complainant.
  • Complainant must give their working email address and/or their WhatsApp contact when filing a complaint
Note: The states and cities which constitute online filing of complaints are Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, New Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha, Bengaluru, Patna & Kolkata.

How to file a Police Complaint?

Step 1 : Go to the police station and inform the police about the offence.

Step 2 : You can either write your complaint beforehand, take it to the police station directly and inform them you need to file a complaint or go to the police station and give the information orally, it will be written down by the police.

Note: If you donít know the name or details of the person against whom youíre filing the complaint just describe the accused as much as you remember.

Step 3: Before you submit the complaint, read it again to verify the facts and sign the complaint.

Note: No documents are necessary for filing a complaint. Oral information is enough.

Step 4: After stamping the complaint, police will give you a Complaint Number.

Note: Give details that you are 100% sure about. If you are not sure about any particular detail give an approximate figure.

Step 5: The police will provide you a xerox copy of your complaint which should also be signed and stamped (Section 154 of Criminal Procedure Code).

Note: If the complaint is for a non-cognizable offence, the police will direct you to file a complaint with the Magistrate.

Always Remember:
  1. Your police complaint can be used an evidence in a criminal trial. It will help to prove your case better.
  2. Your police complaint can be used to support or contradict your evidence in a trial in court. Therefore, make sure all details you give are accurate.
  3. You need not know the legal provisions pertaining to the incident/crime. You can just describe the whole incident to the police.
  4. You can file the police complaint in any language (Marathi, Hindi, etc).
  5. A police complaint can be filed against multiple people.

Written By: Anuja Waykar - A practicing Advocate in Bombay High Court.
Email: [email protected]

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