How to file a police complaint?

By Team Legal Helpline India, February 11, 2018

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Important tips on how to file a police complaint.

A police complaint can be filed by any aggrieved person reporting a criminal offense on which the police will take action in accordance with the law. Indian law contemplates that a police complaint can be filed orally as well but in practice, the police complaint is filed in writing. Nowadays, it can be filed through email, words app, or other electronic mediums. We have tried to explain in brief how to file a police complaint.

A police complaint is the first stage of initiation of any criminal proceedings. If the complaint is accepted, the police can lodge an FIR and commence the investigation in the matter and apprehend the accused person.

Now the landmark direction issued by the Supreme Court on mandatory registration of an FIR is contained in “Lalita Kumari vs Govt. Of U.P.& Ors on 12 November 2013, WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 68 OF 2008.”

Important tips by expert criminal lawyers on how to file a police complaint.

All the important ingredients of the offense giving all particulars in detail is required to be incorporated so that the police can take action on the complaint in accordance with the law. Otherwise, the police may close the said complaint without taking any action on the same.

“Who, when, where, how should be described very specifically in a police complaint.”

Police complaint ultimately leads to the prosecution of the offender or the accused person. It is very important that the complaint gives complete details of all the offenses and the actions are required to be mentioned specifically in the police complaint. As far as possible all the details of the offense may be given specifically. The police convert the complaint into FIR after making an assessment of the matter at its level.


Section 2(d) in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 defines a complaint as under:

(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 offense, 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 offense shall be deemed to be a complaint; and the police officer by whom such report is made shall be deemed to be the complainant;

Going by this definition it is very important to know and understand as to how to file a police complaint as it should be in accordance with the law and meets all the requirements.

Read AlsoSection 138 of Negotiable Instrument Act


  • The most important ingredient of a police complaint is “Who, When, Where, How”
  • Specific details of the accused persons should be given. The name and full particulars and the address with the contact number of the accused or suspect persons against whom the complaint is being made should be given. If several persons are involved whom the complainant does not know, the same may be mentioned in the police complaint.
  • The place of occurrence or the place where the incident took place is to be specified in the police complaint. All other details are available with the complainant. The place where the offense took place should be clearly identified with all details in the police complaint.
  • The date and time of the offense be also mentioned specifically in the police complaint.
  • The real incident describing the offense is also to be made specifically. It can be ascertained in very clear terms.
  • The police complaint should be written or typewritten for clarity.
  • The name, address of the complainant should be given. All other details are also specifically mentioned in the police complaint with complete details of the contact number.
  • The police complaint is to be submitted in the police stations concerned in hard copies against receipt. The complaint through mail or other forms is not sufficient proof and the police can deny the same at any stage.
  • If possible the police staff receiving the police complaint may be asked to give the DD number or the entry number from the daily diary of the police station for future reference.
  • The police complaint can be given through a recorded post if it is not possible to visit the police station or the police have refused to receive the police complaint.
  • If the police fail to take any action on the police complaint, a reminder giving the details of the previous complaint should be filed, and if possible a copy of the complaint is attached therein.
  • All possible supportive pieces of evidence may be attached which may be documented, call records, video clips, photographs, CCTV footage, etc.
  • A police complaint is filed under Section 154 of the CrPC which also mandates that a copy of the police complaint can be sent to the Superintendent of police who can also direct action on the complaint.
  • The complaint once accepted by the police is converted into an FIR and further action in accordance with Section 154 CrPC is taken by the police.
  • If the police refuse to register an FIR or undertake an investigation, the remedy before the complainant is to file an application under Section 156 (3) of CrPC before the Illaqa Magistrate is competent to give directions to the police to register FIR if the matter so requires.

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