Confused Between An FIR And A Complaint? Here’s The Exact Distinction.

There is a common confusion between a First Information Report (FIR) and a complaint. People often get puzzled as there lies a narrow difference between the two. In the Provision of CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure), the distinction is shown as below:

The complaint is made to a magistrate whereas an FIR is given to the Officer-In-Charge of a police station.

The complaint may relate to a cognizable or non-cognizable offence. On the other hand, an FIR only relates to the cognizable offence.

Women officers at a police station. (Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint via Getty Images)

What Happens After?

A magistrate may take cognizance of an offence directly on a complaint after examining the complainant and some witnesses. A magistrate cannot take cognizance directly upon the FIR, as on the basis of an FIR, there should be an investigation by the police.

A complainant lodges a complaint by going under oath. In the case of an FIR, no oath is administered to the informant. A complaint has been defined under Section 2(D), but FIR has not been defined in the code.

Can A Complaint Be Rejected?

In the case of a complaint, if there is no sufficient ground, the magistrate may dismiss the same, but an FIR can not be rejected by the officer in charge of the police station.

Am I Entitled To A Copy?

If the complaint is given in writing, it must be accompanied by a copy. When an FIR is in writing, it does not warrant a duplicate, rather the Officer-In-Charge is given a copy.

Do I Need To Pay Money?

A processing fee is required to be paid in the case of a complaint, but no fee is needed to file an FIR.

Featured image for representative purpose only.
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