What are the types of offenses usually complained against?
Under the relevant laws (Criminal Procedure Code), offenses fall under two categories, namely, cognizable and non-cognizable.
“Cognizable offence” means an offence for which a police officer may, in accordance with the first schedule (of the Act) or under any other law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant.
“Non-cognizable offence” means an offence for which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant. “Offence” means an act or omission made punishable by any law for the time being in force. (Also refer to Section 40 of the IPC.)
Who can file a complaint before the Police?
An aggrieved person, his relatives or friends, or a person who has information or knowledge about the commission of a crime or offense may file a complaint before the police. Apart from the usual crimes against person and property, there are several other offenses such as demanding and accepting of dowry, matrimonial harassment, and cyber-crimes etc., which also entail filing of complaints.
How members of the public can file a complaint at a Police Station?
A complaint may be filed by one of the following methods:
- Personally visiting the police station.
- Dropping the complaint in the mailboxes placed at every police station.
- Writing to the SH concerned.
- By telephone call to the jurisdictional Police station or Police Control Room (Dial 100).
- By E-mail.
What is the procedure to register a complaint?
If a complaint made to the police discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, the police station concerned will issue a First Information Report (FIR). No fees or charges will be payable for the FIR. In case the complaint is made orally, the Station House Officer (SHO) in charge of the station will reduce the complaint into writing, and read it over to the complainant to attest its correctness, and get his signature / thumb impression in token of his acceptance. The complaint can be in Kannada or English.
In case the complaint does not disclose the occurrence of a cognizable offense, the SHO may decline to investigate further, and refer the complainant to the Court under section 155 of Cr.P.C. However, if such a complaint is made in writing, the SHO will issue an acknowledgement for the same in Form 76-A.
In case you are not satisfied with the above, you may approach the appropriate court for orders requiring the police to register and investigate the case. As such there is no bar to investigate non cognizable cases after obtaining permission from the court.
How is investigation conducted?
On registration of a case, the Police will visit the scene of occurrence and collect evidence both documentary and oral and continue the investigation further. During the course of the investigation, the Investigating Officer will keep the complainant informed of the progress of the investigation periodically or when requested for. After the completion of the investigation, a final report will be submitted to the appropriate court, under intimation to the complainant. In case charge sheet is not filed, the complainant can challenge the same in the appropriate Court of Law.
What is your recourse if the Police Station declines to register the complaint?
Normally, occasions for such refusals may be rare in the case of cognizable offenses. However, if it occurs, you may approach immediate senior officer like Police Inspector, Superintendent of Police who in turn will examine the matter and take necessary action, as required, and keep you informed.