Private Complaint vs FIR: Difference, Section Procedure and Withdrawal

Man is believed to have evolved from an ape-like ancestor. With evolution of man, he has evolved his mind and thinking. Man has not only started using the raw leaves fruits but later insects and animals as for the survival. Later, on discovery of fire, they learnt that food was tastier when cooked. they used animal skin to cover their body. stayed in caves to protect themself from the extremities of Natural Calamities. From raw leaves to pizzas, from fire to gas, microwave, from animal skin to leather jackets, clothing’s from caves to skyscrapers human mind and thinking capacity has evolved and which has led to many comfortable and easy life. But humans are the most selfish creature in world, these evolving has not only taken place in positive way but negative outlook also. In order to fulfill any basic necessity a man can reach to any step even if it’s against the moral of society. Thus, crime displays the need of law for protection of society.
Crime is a public law, an offence which is the violation of law. Crime is manifestation of countless complex factors. The causes of criminal behavior lie within the social forms and structures. Individuals commit crimes due to the method of socialization that does not create solid sense of right or off-base and due to the developing openings, the broadening wants that act as solid inspiration for taking to wrongdoing to fulfill these wants. The beginning of crimes can be followed to interaction of different social, financial, statistic, and other components. The assumption that crime happens since of the disappointments of police subsequently shows a total need of understanding of the theories of criminal behavior.
Further, these social factors besides other inactive and associated components vary significantly over diverse regions, states and societies. The differences in strategies over large geological regions and styles of working inherent between organizations moreover make wide changes which consequently effect people and forcing them to commit a crime.
Further, no weightage has been assigned to the gravity or nature of the crime. All crimes have thus been treated equal in counting the total crime for a State or City. As of 2019, a total of 51.5 lakh crimes were registered nationwide. With increase in the crime rate, there has been an amendment in laws as well. Informing of a commission of crime is one of the Important processes in Criminal Justice System. Thus, the framers of constitution have included FIR (First report information) and Private complaint as a way to file a case against the criminal.
First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. Cognizable Offence is an offence wherein the police may arrest a person without warrant. They are authorized to start an investigation into a cognizable case on their own and they do not require any orders from the court to do so. A police officer is bound to register the FIR in such cases and can even start an investigation without any FIR. These are heinous crimes generally and non-bailable offences. FIR 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. If the information given by the woman against whom an offence u/s 326A,326 B, 354, 354A-D,376,376A-E and 509 of Indian Penal Code is alleged then such information shall be recorded by a women police officer.
Section 154[1] of the Criminal Procedure Code (hereinafter referred to as CrPC), 1973, makes it clear that an FIR can be registered in cognizable offenses [2] only. Cognizable crimes are those offenses in which a police officer can arrest an accused without a warrant. Due to the nature of gravity involved in the offences, police authorities can arrest without a warrant under CrPC. The classification of cognizable and non-cognizable offences is furnished under the first schedule of CrPC.
How to lodge an FIR?
The process of filing an FIR is very simple. It is as simple as narrating a story to the police. The informant has to visit the police station (ideally near the crime scene) and furnish all the information he/she has pertaining to the commission of an offence. Section 154 of the CrPC gives a choice to the informant to furnish information orally or in writing. If the information is disclosed orally then, the report must be reduced to writing by the police officer himself or under his direction. The report must be read out to the informant. Every report whether reduced to writing or submitted in written form, shall be signed by the informant.
How to register non-cognizable offenses?
In non-cognizable offenses, when an informant approaches the officer in charge, the officer enters such information in his book (maintained as per the format prescribed by the State Government).
Secondly, a police officer can begin with the investigation for a non-cognizable offense, only after receiving an order from the magistrate under section 155(3) of the CrPC. The investigating powers of a police officer are the same in cognizable and non-cognizable offenses, except the power to arrest without a warrant.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court in State of West Bengal & Ors vs. Swapan Kumar Guha & Ors held that “there is no such thing like unfettered discretion in the realm of powers defined by statutes and indeed, unlimited discretion in that sphere can become a ruthless destroyer of personal freedom. The power to investigate into cognizable offenses must, therefore, be exercised strictly on the condition on which it is granted by the Code”.
Thus, if a person wants to register a complaint regarding the commission of a non-cognizable offense, he/she has to first register a complaint with the magistrate having proper jurisdiction. There are no strict norms pertaining to the format of a complaint. A complaint can be in the form of an affidavit or a petition as the case may be. After receiving the complaint, the magistrate will decide upon the issue of cognizance. If the magistrate is satisfied that a non-cognizable offense has been committed, he will order for further investigations.
What are the remedies available if the police refuse to lodge our FIR?
It is not always illegal when the officer in charge refuses to lodge an FIR. As it all depends upon the reason because of which the police officer refuses to lodge an FIR. If the police officer refuses to lodge an FIR because the case does not fall within their jurisdiction, deals with an offense which is non-cognizable in nature or it is outside their legal capacity to take cognizance of such an offense, in such circumstances the refusal to lodge an FIR is legitimate and justified.
Although, if an FIR is refused on the ground of jurisdiction, it is mandatory for the police officer to record information about the commission of a cognizable offense and forward the same to the police station having proper jurisdiction. Otherwise, it would amount to dereliction of duty.
Statutory Remedies
Under section 154(3) CrPC, when an informant’s right to register an FIR is refused, he/she can approach the Superintendent of Police and submit the substance of such information in writing by post. If the Superintendent of Police is satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offense then, he might investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him.
Under section 156(3), read with section 190 CrPC – If an informant remains unsatisfied even after pursuing the remedy under section 154(3), he/she can further pursue the remedy mentioned under section 156(3) read with section 190 CrPC.
This is a different channel to get the FIR registered. This remedy is similar to the process of registering a complaint for non-cognizable offenses. As through this channel, a magistrate first takes cognizance of an offense under section 190 and then order for consequential investigations under section 156(3).
Judicial remedy- Mandamus is one of the prerogative writs issued by the superior Courts (High Court or Supreme Court), which is in the form of a command to the State, its instrumentality or its functionaries as the case may be, to compel them to perform their constitutional/statutory/public duty. Hence, a writ of mandamus can be filed under Article 226 or Article 32 of the Constitution of India, directing the police officials to perform their duty and register an FIR.
Cancellation or withdrawal of FIR?
Quashment is also used for the phrase quashing of FIR. In certain cases, if court find that it is not necessary to pursue the case further is needed court quash the proceedings and stop the frivolous proceedings. These Powers are imbibed in Section 482 of the code of Criminal Procedure. Section 482 is corresponding to section 151 of Civil Procedure Code, and proceeds to the same principles.
Supreme Court and High court have power to quash a FIR which is frivolous in nature and there is no need to pursue the case necessarily against the alleged person. The Apex court has to quash a FIR very cautiously and sparingly and has to see many reasons in the case for quashing an FIR. Inherent Powers are in Sec. 482 of Crpc, this section is to prevent abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.
In Manoj Sharma V. State & Ors. the Apex Court held that were continuing with the proceeding would be a futility, quashing of FIR should not be refused.
Private Complaint
Complaint is defined under section 2 (d) of Crpc, 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.
Under section 200 CrPC, a complaint can be submitted to the magistrate orally or in writing under section 200 of the CrPC. After the submission of a complaint, the magistrate will conduct a hearing, deciding upon the issue of cognizance. In this channel, the complainant and the witnesses thereof are examined on oath in front of the magistrate.
Withdrawal of Complaint? Section 257 of CPCR focuses on Withdrawal of complaint, if a complainant, at any time before a final order is passed in any case under this Chapter, satisfies the Magistrate that there are sufficient grounds for permitting him to withdraw his complaint against the accused, or if there be more than one accused, against all or any of them, the Magistrate may permit him to withdraw the same, and shall thereupon acquit the accused against whom the complaint is so withdrawn.
Thus, First Information Report is nothing but the information registered by the on-duty police officer, concerning an offence by any person. On the other hand, a complaint is a form of appeal made to the magistrate, concerning an offence and making a request for justice.