[Guest Post] Criminal Matters – Some Basics

The post has been contributed by Adv. Ms.Rachna Chauhan. She has done BALLB(Hons.) from L.L.R.Group of Institutes, Solan in 2012 and L.L.M from Himchal Pradesh University, Shimla in 2015.

1. What are the differences between a criminal complaint and an FIR?

Following are the main differences between a criminal complaint and FIR-

  • An application filed with the Magistrate that contains details about the commission of an offence and requests the Magistrate to take appropriate action is a criminal complaint. Whereas, FIR is a document prepared/recorded by the Police when the Police gets the information about the commission of an offence for the very first time.
  • A criminal complaint has no prescribed format and an FIR has a prescribed format.
  • A criminal complaint is made to the Magistrate concerned and an FIR is registered with the Police.
  • The criminal complaint is made for both cognizable and non-cognizabale offences. FIR covers only cognizable offences.
  • A criminal complaint may be filed by any person in most of the criminal cases. whereas an FIR may be regsitered at an instance only of the aggrieved person.

2. How action may be taken upon a criminal complaint?

A criminal complaint can be filed under Section 200, Cr.P.C. After it, the Magistrate has two alternatives –

  • If he does not take cognizance of the matter referred to in the complaint, then he directs the Police to investigate it under Section 156(3).
  • If he takes cognizance himself, he has to comply with requirements of Section 200, Cr.P.C. and record the evidence of the complainant and the witnesses. Next, he may issue process against the accused under Section 204, CrPC or he may postpone the issue of process and direct an inquiry by any other person or investigation by the police under Section 202, CrPC. He may dismiss the complaint if no sufficient grounds for proceedings are arrived at after considering the statements or after the investigation/inquiry.

3. How Police is involved in a criminal case and what is its primary role?

The role of police in a criminal case is the investigation of the offenses. It may be discussed as –

  • To respond to the scene of a crime  , protect & control the said location , search it and document it ;
  • To immediately apprehend a suspect, who is at hand, when there is probable cause to do so and interrogate that person as required;
  • To gather information from witnesses and victims etc. by identifying them ;
  • To locate and arrest suspects as per situation and nature of the case.

The role of police ends largely with the filing of a charge sheet/final report. The investigating officer who had been involved with the investigation of a criminal case is required to depose in Court as Prosecution Witness during the trial. He is then examined and cross-examined. He also assists the Public Prosecutor with the conduct of the trial.

4. What is the difference between a charge sheet and final report?

  • When after the completion of the investigation, the police obtains satisfactory evidences to proceed with the trial of the accused, a charge-sheet is filed by the police.
  • Where after the completion of the investigation, the police fails to obtain satisfactory evidences to proceed with the trial of the accused, they file a final report.

Image from here

L&P Editorial Team

The Law & Practice Blog's editorial team.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.