Difference between FIR and Police Complaint
Key Difference: FIR is a First Information Report. It is related only to cognizable (criminal) offences. On the other hand, police complaint can be cognizable or non-cognizable offences.
FIR and Police complaint are two different terms with different meanings. Though they are related to complaints, they have different offenses and complaints where FIR and police complaints are registered accordingly.
FIR is a First Information Report, a complainant who is aware of the offense, as an eye witness and as hearsay account, lodges an FIR. It is information given to the Police Officer. FIR is a very serious registration that one can make. It should not be gossip and that should be traceble, and after the complete investigation the source takes the responsibility. An irresponsible rumor should not result in the registration of a FIR. It is mandatory to give a copy of the first information report (as recorded by police) to the complainant or the informant free of cost.
A cognizable case means a case in which a police officer may arrest without warrant, in accordance with the First Schedule of Cr.P.C. (1973), or under any other law for the time being in force. Whereas, non-cognizable offence means in which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant.
Legally, a case may not be registered as there is always a doubt about its authenticity and if it does not satisfy the tests of Section 154 Criminal Procedure Code being not 'an oral statement clear and reduce in writing', it will be considered as a wrong or fake statement.
On the contrary, a Police Complaint can be a cognizable or non-cognizable offences complaint. Complaint means any allegation made orally or in writing to a Magistrate, with a view to his taking action under the code of criminal procedure (1973), that some person (whether known or unknown), has committed an offence. It can be related to a robbery, accident, murder, etc. Thus, it is quiet possible that a police complaint can also be converted into FIR, if the investigation proves to be a serious matter.
Who can make a complaint? Anyone can make a complaint. If you have,
- Experienced inappropriate behavior from a police officer or member of police staff.
- Witnessed an incident – for example, you were present when an incident took place.
A person can complain anytime he wants. There is no limit on making a complaint, but it is best to do it as quickly as possible after the incident. Under the Indian Penal Code, it is said that if more than 12 months have passed between the incident and the date when the complaint is made, then the appropriate authority may not register it. There should be a valid reason for not making a complaint. However, it does not guarantee that the complaint will be investigated.
Thus, one needs to be very clear about the two terms, FIR and Police complaint, that for what reason and on which basis they both can be used.
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