Difference between FIR & Complaint

Crime is a wrong against the society at large. It creates an alarming situation in the society. Therefore, any person can come up with a complaint or an information before the concerned authority. The motive of both the things is to attract the attention of the authorities and to punish the offender. Informing of a commission of crime is one of the important process in Criminal Justice System.


Complaint is defined u/s 2 (d), which means any allegation made orally or in writing to a magistrate, with a view to his taking action under the code, that some person whether known or unknown has committed an offence. It, does not include a police report.

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.

Whereas, Complaint can be filed by any person subject to certain exceptions.

Complaint is made to a magistrate.

A complaint may relate to a cognizable or non-cognizable offence.

Whereas, when complaint is filed no investigation is done by the police officer until directed by the competent authority.

A Magistrate takes cognizance on the complaint made to him at the very first stage.

No prescribed format is given for filing a complaint. But some essential ingredients are to be satisfied.


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 not defined in the code. However, it can be said to be an information given to the police first in point of time relating to a cognizable offence.

First information report may be lodged by any person such as the aggrieved party or an eye witness.

First information report is made to the competent police officer.

First Information Report must relate to a cognizable offence on the face of it.

When a FIR is lodged, a policer officer starts with investigating the matter.

At the first instance no cognizance is taken by the Magistrate until particular FIR is reported to him.

There is prescribed format by law for FIR.

Aishwarya Says:

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