By : Pavni Dada|Symbiosis Law School|Hyderabad 


Section 2(d) of the CRPC 1973 defines the Complaint. According to this section, "any allegation made orally or in having written to a Magistrate, to act decisively under this Crpc, that certain person, regardless of whether known or unfamiliar, has broken a law, but does not involve a police statement or record." 

Essentials of a Legitimate Complaint: 

  1. A complaint must include an allegation that the offender committed an offence.
  2. The complaint can be made either written or verbal.
  3. A complaint should be filed with a Magistrate.
  4. The complaint must be designed in order for the Magistrate to take action.

Cognizance By Magistrate (Section 190): 

Cognizance is defined as "knowledge or notice" in general, and taking cognizance of criminal acts  as "taking note of, or becoming aware of, the suspected conduct of an infraction." The definition of cognizance in the dictionary is "judicial hearing of a subject." Before proceeding with the trial, the judicial official must take cognizance of the offence. Taking cognizance is not a formal activity, but occurs when a magistrate applies his attention to the alleged conduct of a crime for legal proceedings. Taking cognizance is thus considered to involve the application of judicial intellect.

It involves the purpose to initiate a judicial proceeding in connection with an offence or taking efforts to determine if there is a basis for initiating the judicial proceeding. It is self-evident that even before taking notice, the court must determine whether the elements of the offence accused are present or not. A court can only take cognizance once before becoming functus officio.

If a magistrate tends to involve his mind not for the purpose of proceeding as described above, but for taking some other action, such as ordering an investigation under Section 156(3) or issuing a warrant to search for the intent to investigate, he could not be said to have taken cognizance of said offence.

The phrase "cognizance of offence" is not described with in the CRPC. Sections 190-199 deal with the techniques and constraints under which different criminal courts are constituted to take cognizance of crimes. The meaning of the phrase, however, is very well determined by the Courts. Taking notice is perhaps the most important step on the path. Before proceeding with the conduct or trial, the judicial official must take cognizance of the offence.

According to Sec. 190, any Magistrate of first class or Second Class might take account of any offence: When a complaint of facts pertaining to offences is received; according to police reports. On the basis of information obtained from an individual (besides a police officer) or even his own expertise. Sections 200-203 discuss filing a complaint with a magistrate.

In the CRPC 1973, Sections 200–203 deal with complaint to the magistrate.

Section 200 Complainant Examination: 

When a Magistrate takes cognizance of an offence based on a complaint, the very first step is to analyze the complainant and any witnesses present, and the matter will be reduced to writing the investigation and having to sign this by the complainant, witness, as well as the Magistrate.

In “Gurudas Balkrishna v. Chief Judicial Magistrate Goa”, the applicant submitted a complaint on July 31, 1992, and the Magistrate did not even register his statement for the claimant's authentication over several months. It was decided that Magistrate must record the evidence for both the claimant and any witness, if any; in less than a week of the order's date, and also that the magistrate cannot postpone the verification for months.

Operation By Magistrate Ineligible To Take Cognizance Of Case (Section201):

If a written complaint is made to a Magistrate who is not qualified to hear the case, he shall,

  • Return the complaint about the demonstration to the regular Court with authorization to that conclusion.
  • If indeed the complaint wasn't in writing, the Magistrate would then refer the claimant to the appropriate Court.

If such an offence occurs while the Magistrate is present, the Magistrate does have the authority to take Cognizance of the crime directly by submitting a complaint or designate his subordinate to record a formal complaint against accused, as indicated in Section 153(3) of the CRPC.

The court released the accused in “Rajendra Singh v. State Of Bihar” on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to react on the complaint. As a result, the court determined that the acquittal order was unconstitutional since the court had the option of returning the complaints about the presentations to the competent court rather than acquitting the accused.

Section 202 Postponement of Issue of Process:

If the complainant genuinely deems to have an issue with having to travel, living in the place apart from the area of jurisdiction, he may apply to the magistrate for postponement the issue of the process. The magistrate can investigate it himself or set an inquiry for the police to decide whether this is a legitimate ground for postponement. 

There shall be no order for investigation in case of non-presence of the witnesses (if any) and the complainant. The Magistrate may not address the complaint concerning the investigation if such complaint is solely trial able by Court of Sessions.

The Supreme Court held in D Lakshminarayan v. Narayana that a Magistrate who gets a claim revealing an offence only trial able in Court Of session is not prohibited from referring it to the police for inquiry under Section 202 CrPc 1973, sub-section (1).

Is it possible for a Magistrate to issue a summons depending on The Factual information and a Direct Police Investigation?

According to Section 202 CRPC, the Magistrate can grant action without the need for a police report based on the facts in the case. Process can be served in the form of a summon or an order, as well as the Magistrate has the authority to issue it after investigating the circumstances. With the 2006 modification to Sec 202 CRPC, it is now the duty of the Magistrate to conduct the investigation or inquiry because the defendant may be dwelling within the jurisdiction of the Magistrate.


Section 202 CRPC's Objective:

Section 202 of the Criminal procedure Code has the following objectives-

  • To establish the facts of said crime.
  • To ensure that the Court's time is not wasted.
  • To assist the Magistrate in determining if the case's grounds and proceedings are adequate.

Section 203 Dismissal of Complaint: 

If the Magistrate determines that there are insufficient grounds for proceedings after considering the complainant's and witnesses' statements under oath, as well as the results of the inquiry or investigation under S.202, he must therefore dismiss the complaint and register his explanations for dismissal.

The accused was discharged after evaluating all of the documents submitted by the complainant in Hansabai Payagude v. Ananda Payagude, and a new trial was brought based on the identical circumstances. According to these facts, the court may not examine this since there is no sufficient foundation for advancing with the complaint until he is convinced with some other proof.

Second Complaint: 

If the claimant's initial complaint was rejected by the Magistrate under Section 203, the complainant may submit a second complaint, but only under certain extraordinary cases involving the same fact.


'A' filed a complaint with a magistrate, but it was rejected under Section 203 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

And 'A' filed a second complaint with the same magistrate in same court, however the court ruled that the complaint can be heard here, but that if there is some unusual circumstances, such as:

  • The previous complaint disposal ruling was made based on an insufficient record.
  • The circumstances of the incident were misunderstood.
  • The decision was made in an unjust manner.
  • In relation to the prior procedures, actual information must be recorded.
  • As a result, the second complaint of 'A' in this image was similar to the first complaint, and it was dismissed.

Effect of Dismissal: The Magistrate does not hold any authority to reconsider the decision dismissing the initial complaint, which results into complaint's legal resolution. When a complaint is dismissed due to a default, it cannot be reinstated by a dismissing order.

How to contest the complaint: Once the Magistrate issues the procedure against the defendant, he cannot reverse it. Because the Criminal procedure Code does not grant the Magistrate the authority of review, he or she could not evaluate the proceedings or rescind the summons or warrant.

You cannot submit a recall application under section 203 CRPC if the court has issued the process. The Supreme Court stated in Adalat Prasad v. Rooplal Jinda that if the Magistrate did not dismiss the charge and issued process, the accused could not ask the courts under section 203 CRPC seeking discharge of the charge because of stage of section 203 had already passed. 

As a result, you are unable to defend the charge under section 203 of the CRPC. At the section 203 stage, the accused is not heard by the court. At this point, the accused plays no part. In the lack of a reviewing power, you may file a complaint per section 482 CRPC. You may seek justice in your case by invoking the High Court's inherent power under Section 482 CRPC .


  1.  Bindeshwari Prasad v. Kali Singh AIR 1967 SC 2432. 
  2.  Bholu Ram v. State of Punjab, (2008) 9 SCC 140
  3.  Iris Computers Ltd. v. Askari Infotech (P) Ltd., (2015) 14 SCC 399.