This is an article on the basics of a Police Complaint, what to write, how to
write, do’s and don’ts while writing a Police Complaint by Advocate Gurmeet
Singh, who is an Advocate practicing in Hon’ble Supreme Court and Various High
Courts including Delhi High Court, Lucknow High Court, Nainital High Court,
Allahabad High Court and Delhi District Courts.
Basics of A Police Complaint
The thumb rule of writing a police complaint is to be “precise” and “to the
point”while being self-explanatory and effective at the same time. Before
writing the police complaint, we must bear in mind what is the complaint all
about, what is required to be done, what do we want and proceed accordingly.
Section 2(d) in Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 explains what is a complaint.
The same is reiterated herein for ready reference:-
(d) " complaint" means any allegation made orally or in writing to a Magistrate,
with a view to his taking action under this Code, that some person, whether
known or unknown, has committed an offence, but does not include a police
report. Explanation.- A report made by a police officer in a case which
discloses, after investigation, the commission of a non- cognizable offence
shall be deemed to be a complaint; and the police officer by whom such report is
made shall be deemed to be the complainant;
Format of The Complaint:-
There is no specific format for filing a complaint however these are the points
for consideration. To start with the complaint must bear a date and time on the
very top, extreme right hand side corner. This would help us later in stage when
we carry on our struggle to get a FIR registered and keep track of the
communication with the Police officials as there can be more than one complaint.
The very left hand side must disclose to whom the police complaint is to be
marked i.e. Station House Officer / SHO or the higher police officials as the
case may be. Later in the article various judgments would be discussed which
postulates the step by step process to be followed by a complainant. The
Complaint must be presented to a Police Officer with a view to his taking action
under the Criminal Procedure Code. A complaint need not necessarily be made by
the person aggrieved but may be made by any person aware of the offence. This
means that even a person who has knowledge that an offence has occurred to his
knowledge he is duty bound to disclose the same to the police officer concerned.
He need not be complainant; hence the word used is “Informant” in the First
Information Report (F.I.R.). A complaint need not necessarily be made by the
person injured but may be made by any person aware of the offence. In case of
the violation of general law, any person, whether he has suffered any particular
injury or not has a right to complain.
The complaint must have a brief heading for the police officials to determine
and understand the complaint in a nutshell. The brief headline should include
the name of the complainant, the name of the accused and the offences under
which act you are marking a complaint.
The complaint’s body contains three levels. The first level lays out the
initials of the story of the complainant i.e. complaint’s body in the first
level must bear the details of the incident in simple words, in a crisp manner
what all happened with the complainant. The complaint body must start from the
time and date from when the accused came in touch with the complaint, how the
accused transacted with the complainant etc. The second level contains the
series of events which transpired later on, after meeting with the complaint and
what went wrong which lead to the filing of the present complaint. It is
important to note that mention of a wrong section does not vitiate the character
of a complaint. The third level must contain the prayer clause and the complete
details of the complainant with its parentage, address and working mobile
number. The prayer clause should clearly establish your prayer to the Station
House Officer/ police official as to what action do you seek. Usually it is
prayed that the FIR may kindly be registered and accused be arrested and brought
to the books, in the interest of justice. The purpose of giving your details and
particulars is that once the police starts investigation on your complaint, the
complainant must be reachable in order for the police officials to get any
details of your complaint which might be missing or to inform you about the
update of your complaint. The draft format for filing your complaint is as
Police Station XXXX,
(Write the official Post of the Police Official – SHO (Station House Officer) ACP (Assistant Commissioner
of Police)/ DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police)/ CP
(Commissioner of Police))
Complaint on behalf of Sh. XXXX Aged XXXX, S/o Sh. XXXX, R/O XXXX against Sh.
XXXX, S/o Sh. XXXX, R/O XXXX for the offences of XXXX IPC
(Subject of the complaint which must contain your details and details of the
Accused and the offences as per your knowledge and complaint)
That the complainant’s name is Sh. XXXX and the present complaint is being filed
as XXXX(body of the complaint which would include details of the complaint)
It is prayed that an FIR may kindly be registered and the accused be arrested
and brought to the books and tried as per law.(prayer clause)
Sh. XXXX, Aged XXXX,
S/O Sh. XXXX,
Mobile No. XXXX
(Details of the complainant)
Mode of Communication:-
After you finalise your complaint, take two copies of your complaint. One copy
originally signed is for the Police officer and a second copy is for the
complainant. The complaint in an ideal manner be sent to the concerned Police
official as the case may beto SHO (Station House Officer) ACP (Assistant
Commissioner of Police)/ DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police)/ CP (Commissioner
of Police). The preferred mode of communication is that the Complaint be
received in person to the concerned office of the officer concerned. Any
complaint given to a Police Officer is duly received in their Daily Diary (D.D.)
Register and a formal receiving in the Second copy is given by endorsing the
Stamp of the Police officer concerned and also writing the DD Number. The same
will also include the name of the Investigating Officer, his mobile number and
time and date of receiving the complaint. The other mode of communication is by
Courier, Speed post and email. It may be surprising to note that a call to the
police station would also act as a police complaint and would be held to be
valid as per law. It would not be out of place to mention that on a specific
request made by me (Advocate Gurmeet Singh) to the commissioner of police vide
email dated 08.09.2017 it was requested that the working email id of every
official of Delhi Police be made available online in order to proceed, the said
request was taken in good spirits and welcomed by the Commissioner of Police and
an email id of every SHO / Station House Officer was made available online. Now
easily a person can mark a complaint while sitting back at home without worrying
about the hassles of going to the police station and waiting for a long time or
The telephone numbers of every police officer is available online. Therefore it
is suggested that after you file your complaint you follow up on the status of
your complaint and seek regular updates on the status of the complaint filed by
Here are certain important points to remember and consider while drafting your
# The Complaint must be crisp, clear and legible.
# The Complaint must be dated.
# The Complaint must bear to whom it is directed to, subject and body of
complaint, prayer clause and your details.
# The Complaint must be unambiguous, direct and must bear dates and turn
/series of events in detail while being self-explanatory.
# The Complaint must reveal / cull out the ingredients of an offence. This
means that the offences and ingredients as explained in the Indian Penal Code or
other acts must be fulfilled.
# The Complaint must NOT be ambiguous.
# The Complaint must NOT be exhaustive.
# The Complaint must NOT be false.
# The Complaint must NOT be vague.
# The Complaint must NOT be misleading.
# The Complaint must NOT be confusing.
# The Complaint must NOT be cryptic.
Important Judgments :-
Priyanka Srivastava & Anr Vs. State Of U.P. & Ors.
In a judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India inPriyanka Srivastava & Anr
vs. State Of U.P. & Ors.decided on 19 March, 2015, by a Bench of Hon’ble
Justice Dipak Misra and Prafulla C. Pant held and described the procedure to be
followed for getting an FIR registered. In a nutshell the judgment held and
explained what steps a complainant has to take to get his FIR registered. It
held that“We have already indicated that there has to be prior applications
under Section 154(1) and 154(3) while filing a petition under Section
156(3)”.To explain Section 154 (1) CrPC, 154 (3) CrPC and 156 (3) CrPC we must
read carefully the said sections, however in a nutshell Section 154 (1) CrPC
says that if a complainant has any grievance or a complaint, he/ she must report
the same, either in written form or orally to the concerned Police Station/
Station House Officer/ SHO. In case the SHO refuses to register a F.I.R. or
refuses to act upon the complaint of the complainant, then as per Section 154
(3) CrPC, he/she must report to his higher officials i.e. ACP (Assistant
Commissioner of Police)/ DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police)/ CP (Commissioner
of Police), regarding his inaction. In case the concerned ACP/DCP/CP refuses to
act upon your complaint, or does not act upon your complaint, then the recourse
available to the complainant is to approach the concerned magistrate Section 156
(3) Cr.P.C. seeking intervention of the court to register an FIR and act upon
Amit Khera v/s Govt. of NCT of Delhi & Ors.
In a judgment passed in Writ Petition (Crl.) 804 of 2008 Amit Khera V Govt. of NCT
of Delhi & Ors. Hon’ble HIGH COURT OF DELHI vide a judgment dated August,
11th 2010 held and observed that an oral complaint made to the police officer
also comes within the purview of Section 2 d, Cr.P.C. and be registered as a
complaint. It also observed that there is no formal written complaint required
and a oral complaint made is also quite sufficient to ledge an investigation and
is well covered under the law and the contrary judgments passed by the Ld. Metropolitian Magistrate and the Ld. Sessions Judge were
overruled and further
the Police Official was directed to register and FIR forthwith.
Lalita Kumari v/s Govt of U.P. & Ors
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Lalita Kumari vs Govt of U.P. & Ors
on 12 November, 2013 by a Bench of Hon’ble Judges namely P Sathasivam, B.S.
Chauhan, Ranjana Prakash Desai, Ranjan Gogoi, S.A. Bobde held /observed inWRIT
PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 68 OF 2008 the directions as to how a complaint would be
entertained and disposed off. The directions are very important and the same are
reiterated herein below for ready reference:-
i) Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code, if the
information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary
inquiry is permissible in such a situation.
ii) If the information received does not disclose a cognizable offence but
indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted
only to ascertain whether cognizable offence is disclosed or not.
iii) If the inquiry discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, the FIR
must be registered. In cases where preliminary inquiry ends in closing the
complaint, a copy of the entry of such closure must be supplied to the first
informant forthwith and not later than one week. It must disclose reasons in
brief for closing the complaint and not proceeding further.
iv) The police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering offence if
cognizable offence is disclosed. Action must be taken against erring officers
who do not register the FIR if information received by him discloses a
v) The scope of preliminary inquiry is not to verify the veracity or otherwise
of the information received but only to ascertain whether the information
reveals any cognizable offence.
vi) As to what type and in which cases preliminary inquiry is to be conducted
will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. The category of cases
in which preliminary inquiry may be made are as under:
a) Matrimonial disputes/ family disputes b) Commercial offences c) Medical
negligence cases d) Corruption cases e) Cases where there is abnormal delay/laches
in initiating criminal prosecution, for example, over 3 months delay in
reporting the matter without satisfactorily explaining the reasons for delay.
The aforesaid are only illustrations and not exhaustive of all conditions which
may warrant preliminary inquiry.
vii) While ensuring and protecting the rights of the accused and the
complainant, a preliminary inquiry should be made time bound and in any case it
should not exceed 7 days. The fact of such delay and the causes of it must be
reflected in the General Diary entry.
viii) Since General Diary/Station Diary/Daily Diary is record of all information
received in a police station, we direct that all information relating to
cognizable offences, whether resulting in registration of FIR or leading to an
inquiry, must be mandatorily and meticulously reflected in said Diary and
decision to conduct a preliminary inquiry must also be reflected, as mentioned
Thank you for reading the present article.
Gurmeet Singh, Advocate,
Head Office :- D, 10, L.G.F., Green Park Main, New Delhi – 110016.
Mobile No.:- +91 8750002000.