In criminal law, FIR or otherwise called as first information report is the report of information that the police receives first in point of time, regarding the commission of the cognizable offence. The term cognizable offence refers to the crime in which the police has the right to arrest the accused without any warrant and can start an investigation.
However, in case of a non-cognizable offence wherein, the police neither have the right to arrest any person without a warrant, nor investigate without prior approval of the court, a complaint is lodged with the magistrate. Both a complaint and FIR are extremely important, as they form the foundation of a lawsuit.
This article excerpt sheds light on the difference between FIR and complaint.
Content: Complaint Vs FIR
|Basis for Comparison
|FIR (First Information Report)
|Complaint refers to an appeal made to the magistrate, comprising an allegation that a crime has taken place.
|FIR implies the complaint registered with the police by the plaintiff or any other person having knowledge of the cognizable offence.
|No prescribed format
|Cognizable and Non-cognizable offence
|Cognizable offence only
|Who can submit?
|Any person subject to certain exceptions.
|Any person such as the aggrieved party or witness.
Definition of Complaint
The term ‘complaint’ can be defined as any type of accusation excluding a police report, made verbally to the Magistrate, to make him/her take action as per the Criminal Procedure Code, that a person has committed an offence.
Although, a police report in a case is also considered as a complaint when after investigation it is revealed that a non-cognizable offence is committed. In such a condition, the officer who prepares the report is deemed as the complainant. In a civil lawsuit, a complaint is termed as a plaint.
Any person is allowed to file a complaint, except in the case of marriage and defamation, where only aggrieved party can complain. In a complaint, the complainant requests to penalise the culprit appropriately.
Definition of FIR
First Information Report shortly known as FIR can be described as every information concerning the cognizable offence, verbally provided to the officer in charge of the police station by the victim or the witness or any person who is aware of the commission of the crime.
The officer may write down the information provided by the informant in the format prescribed after which the FIR made is read over by the officer and duly signed by the informant after completely verifying the details provided. A copy of FIR is given to the informant.
FIR is of great importance especially in case of the criminal offence because only after the lodging of FIR, the police can take action against the wrong doer. FIR may contain the date, time and place of the incidence or crime, name and address of the information provider, facts associated with the offences and similar other details. It can be lodged in the police station of the area where the offence took place.
Key Differences Between Complaint and FIR
The difference between complaint and FIR are given in the points hereunder:
- A written document prepared by the police, when the police get the information about the commission of a crime for the very first time, is known as FIR or first information report. Conversely, A petition filed with the magistrate that contains an accusation regarding the commission of an offence and a prayer is made that the accused should be penalized, is called complaint.
- While a complaint has no prescribed format, FIR can only be registered in the format prescribed by the law.
- One can make a complaint to the metropolitan magistrate, whereas an informant or plaintiff can lodge FIR to the police officer of the respective police station.
- The complaint is made for both cognizable and non-cognizable offences. Unlike, only cognizable offences are covered in case of FIR.
- Any person can make a complaint to the magistrate regarding the offence, except in the case of marriage and defamation wherein only aggrieved party can make a complaint. On the contrary, any person who is an aggrieved party, witness or is having the knowledge of the crime can file FIR.
First Information Report is nothing but the information registered by the on-duty police officer, concerning an offence by any person. On the other hand, a complaint is a form of appeal made to the magistrate, concerning an offence and making a request for justice.