Q. Who can give complaint to police for an offence for registering FIR?

Ans. First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is a report of information that reaches the police first in point of time and that is why it is called the First Information Report. It is generally a complaint lodged with the police by the victim of a cognizable offence or by someone on his/her behalf.

Anyone can report the commission of a cognizable offence either orally or in writing to the police. Even a telephonic message can be treated as an FIR.

It is not necessary that only the victim of the crime should file an FIR. A police officer who comes to know about a cognizable offence can file an FIR himself/herself.

As a general rule, there is no mandatory requirement laid down in the Criminal Procedure Code that the complaint has to be given to police only by the victim or his relative. Any person having knowledge of the commission of a cognizable offence can give the complaint to police, whereupon police can register FIR.

Section 154 of the Cr.P.C., under which a complaint is lodged with police in respect of a cognizable offence for the purposes of registration of the FIR is silent in this regard. The main operative language of Section 154 is as under:

154. Information in cognizable cases.— (1) Every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be read over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf:

It can clearly be seen that this section talks only about “every information… given to…”. It does not talk about who is required to give this information (i.e., the complaint) about an offence.

Thus, as a general rule, any person can give complaint to police about the commission of a cognizable offence. He need not necessarily be the victim or his relative. Any stranger can also give such complaint, if he is aware of the commission of the offence.

This is the general rule which is applicable for most of the offences. Courts have also upheld this general rule.

Moreover S. 154(3) uses the word ‘Any person’ which also indicates that any person can give a complaint.

S 154(3)– Any person, aggrieved by a refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to record the information referred to in Sub-Section (1) may send the substance of such information, in writing and by post, to the Superintendent of Police concerned who, if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him, in the manner provided by this Code, and such officer shall have all the powers of an officer in charge of the police station in relation to that offence.

That said, there are certain offences for which law requires the complaint to be given only by certain specified persons.

For example, Section 198-A of Cr.P.C. requires that the Court can take cognizance of an offence punishable under Section 498-A of IPC only upon a police report or upon a complaint made by the person aggrieved by the offence or by her father, mother, brother, sister or by her father’s or mother’s brother or sister or, with the leave of the Court, by any other person related to her by blood, marriage or adoption.

Likewise, for offences relating to marriage under Chapter 20 of IPC (Section 493 to Section 498), Section 198 Cr.P.C. requires that the complaint has to be made by a person aggrieved by such offence or in certain situations by other persons mentioned in that section.