Important Steps to be kept in mind while filing a Police Complaint
What is Complaint and its Importance
A complaint means a grievance expressed by a person to state certain things/facts. Any person who has a certain kind of grievance to some fact, condition, state of affairs etc. may put a complaint to Station House Officer within the local jurisdiction of whose police station that incident has occurred. A complaint can be public as well as private in nature. Any person can file a complaint and it is not necessary that only an aggrieved person can file a complaint. Many a times it is seen that in rape cases the victim is often not in a condition to file a complaint due to stress and fear. In such cases, any person having knowledge of incident like parents, relatives, friends etc. are allowed to file a complaint. A criminal case begins from the filing of a First Information Report (FIR). It is the first stage in criminal proceedings. Hence, the importance of a complaint throughout the case can never be under emphasized.
Many a times it is seen that a person is unable to get justice even after setting the criminal law in motion due to not properly mentioning/stating the relevant facts in their complaint. The same even leads to dismissal of the case by the Courts. There are various reasons associated with the fact that why sometimes even genuine complaints fail in the court of law. One such reason is that most of the times the police officials on duty at the time of registering complaint are not themselves vigilant. Second is generally the public misses out important and relevant facts and emphasize on overstating the true facts of the case.
Where to file the Complaint
The informant/ complainant should go to the police station having jurisdiction over the area (where the offence is committed) and report to officer in-charge/ station house officer. In case information is given on telephone, the informant / complainant should subsequently go to the police station for registration of F.I.R.
Who is the officer on duty?
If the officer on duty is not present, what are the alternatives to get the paperwork done (complaint, FIR)?
The senior most Police officer available in the Police Station at any point of time, (SHO or his subordinate above the rank of a constable) is the officer-in-charge, or the duty officer.
If the SHO / Inspector is not present, a Sub-Inspector or Head Constable will be the officer-in-charge, who will receive complaint or lodge FIRs.
What to do if the Police Station refuses to register the FIR?
In all cognizable offences it is mandatory on the part of the police station to register the FIR. However, if the Police Station refuses to register the FIR, a complaint shall be made to the senior police officer. The complaint can be made to the Concerned Circle Officer, Addl. SP or the Superintendent of Police of the concerned District. These officers will get the FIR registered and investigated
Are any kind of fee or charges to be paid to police for registration of FIR?
No, Police is not to be paid any fee or money for registering the FIR and subsequent investigation. If anybody in the police station makes such a demand, a complaint should immediately be made to the senior police officers.
Important things to be kept in mind while filing FIR
- It must be filed immediately. If there is any delay, mention it in the form.
- If given orally, it MUST be taken down in writing and explained to you by the officer in charge, at a Police Station within the jurisdiction of which the offence has taken place.
- Be very specific
- There should be four copies recorded simultaneously, with carbon sheets in place.
- It must be recorded in first person. Do check in which language this needs to be done.
- Avoid complicated, technical words, terminologies and unnecessary details.
- Try not to overwrite or score out words.
- Ensure that the arrival/departure time is mentioned in the F.I.R and in the Daily Diary (DD) Register at the Police Station
- It must contain authentic information, including these necessary bits of information:
- What information do you want to convey?
– In what capacity are you providing the information?
– Who is the perpetrator of the crime?
– Who has the crime been committed against – victim /complainant?
– When was it committed (time)?
– Where was it committed (specific place /locality/area)?
– Why do you think it was committed?
– Which way (actual process involved) was it committed?
– Were there any witnesses? (Names will be required here.)
– What were the losses? (Money /valuables/ possessions /physical damage etc.)
– What were the traces at the scene of the crime? (Weapons/evidence if any.)
- What information do you want to convey?
- After completion, you MUST carefully read the document and sign it.
- It must be recorded by the officer in the book maintained for this purpose by the State Government.
- You have the right to and must get a copy of it for your records. You are not required to pay for the same.
- You are not required by law to give an affidavit.
- Never file a false complaint or give wrong information to the police. You can be prosecuted under law for giving wrong information or for misleading the police.—[Section 203, Indian Penal Code 1860]
Having known all these facts, we can generally succeed in a court of law by simply putting in required information and get the accused behind the bars.
By Shweta Kaushik, Advocate Punjab and Haryana