Complaint; Definition & Meaning Under Cr.P.C.

Section 2(d) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973┬ádefines “complaint” to mean any allegation made orally or in writing to a Magistrate, with a view to his taking action under this Code, that some person, whether known or unknown, has committed an offence, but does not include a police report.

A report made by a police officer in a case which discloses, after investigation, the commission of a non-cognizable offence shall be deemed to be a complaint; and the police officer by whom such report is made shall be deemed to be the complainant.


A complaint, as defined in Section 2(d), Cr.P.C., can be made even orally or in writing with a view to taking of action by a Magistrate.

Under Section 2(d), a complaint can be made either orally or in writing by any person. In so far as the complaints under the Cr.P.C. are concerned, criminal action can be set in motion by any person, even by a stranger.

In the strict sense there is no necessity to mention the name of person who has committed the offence in the complaint.

In order to constitute a complaint there should be an allegation made to a Magistrate that some person has committed an offence.

Under the Cr.P.C., acomplaint could be made at any time subject to the provisions of Chapter XXXVI : Limitation for taking cognizance of certain offences.

In the case of Mohd. Yousuf Vs. Smt. Afaq Jahan & Anr., 2006 Cr.L.J. 788 (SC), the Apex Court has laid down that there is no particular format for complaint.

A petition containing allegations that the offence has been committed and ending with a prayer that the culprits be suitably dealt with, can be treated as a complaint.

In the case reported as Bhimappa Basappa Bhau Sannavar Vs. Laxman Shivarayappa Samagouda and Ors., AIR 1970 SC 1153 the Apex Court has laid down that to come within the purview of section 2 (d) of Cr.P.C., thecomplaint is to fulfill following conditions.

  • (i) An allegation is made orally or in writing,
  • (ii) This allegation reveals that some person, known or unknown, has committed the offence,
  • (iii) Such allegation is made to Magistrate,
  • (iv) The purpose of allegation is that the Magistrate should take action under the law.