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Difference Between FIR & Complaint

Crime is a wrong against the society at large. It creates an alarming situation in the society. Therefore, any person can come up with a complaint or an information before the concerned authority. The motive of both the things is to attract the attention of the authorities and to punish the offender. Informing of a commission of crime is one of the important process in Criminal Justice System.

Basis of Difference




FIR is not defined in the code. However, it can be said to be an information given to the police first in point of time relating to a cognizable offence.

Complaint is defined u/s 2 (d), 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

Who may Apply?

First information report may be lodged by any person such as the aggrieved party or an eye witness

Whereas, Complaint can be filed by any person subject to certain exceptions.

Whom to Apply?

First information report is made to the competent police officer

Complaint is made to a magistrate

Nature of Offence

First Information Report must relate to a cognizable offence on the face of it.

A complaint may relate to a cognizable or non-cognizable offence.


When a FIR is lodged, a policer officer starts with investigating the matter.

Whereas, when complaint is filed no investigation is done by the police officer until directed by the competent authority.


At the first instance no cognizance is taken by the Magistrate until particular FIR is reported to him.

A Magistrate takes cognizance on the complaint made to him at the very first stage.


There is prescribed format by law for FIR

No prescribed format is given for filing a complaint. But some essential ingredients are to be satisfied.

Submitted by LP Team

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