Dismissal Of Complaint

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 A complaint is any formal legal document that sets out the facts and legal reasons that the filing party or parties believes are sufficient to support a claim against the party or parties against whom the claim is brought that entitles the plaintiff to a remedy.

According to section 2(d) of The Code Of Criminal Procedure,1973,  “complaint” means 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.

Explanation- 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 is directly registered by Magistrate. When an offence is exclusively triable by a court of session according to s.26 read with the first schedule the Magistrate taking cognizance of such offence is required to commit the case for trial to the court of session after completing certain preliminary formality. But an executive magistrate has no power under the Code of Criminal Procedure to direct the police to register an FIR on the basis of a private complaint lodged before him.

  When the complaint in writing is filed in the court, the Magistrate after perusal of the complaint, take cognizance under section 190(1)(a) and the Magistrate shall examine the complainant and the witnesses present. After that the statement of complaint u/s 200 Cr.P.C 1973 is recorded and the case is fixed for recording evidence of the witnesses under section 202 of the Code of  Criminal Procedure, 1973 for any other day.  After recording evidence u/s 202 Cr.P.C of the witness or witnesses, as the case may be, the case is fixed for arguments on summoning. If the Magistrate finds or satisfies that prima facie offence is made out against the accused and all essential ingredients of alleged offence are available in complaint as per evidence under sections 200 and 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the Magistrate issues process u/s 204 of the Cr.P.C. 1973 against the accused. On the other hand, if the Magistrate satisfied after perusal of evidence u/ss. 200 and 202 Cr.P.C, 1973 that no prima facie offence is made out and there is no sufficient ground for proceeding, he dismisses the complaint u/s 203 Cr.P.C. 1973.

Section 203 – Dismissal Of Complaint

If, after considering the statements on oath (if any) of the complainant and of the witnesses and the result of the inquiry or investigation (if any) under section 202,the Magistrate is of opinion that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding, he shall dismiss the complaint, and in every such case he shall briefly record his reasons for so doing. 

Whether the complaint is in the form of writing or oral, section 200 of CrPC made it legally mandatory to be examined by the Magistrate on oath. The mere objective is to establish there is any direct case against the person who is being accused of the offence in the complaint. It aims to the complaint made is true or is intended only to plague by accusing him of an offence.

When the complaint is dismissed under section 203 of the code at the stage of section 200 itself or on completion of inquiry by the Magistrate under section 202 or on receipt of the report from the police or from any person to whom the direction was issued by the Magistrate to investigate into the allegations in the complaint, effect of such dismissal is termination of complaint proceedings.

Second Complaint on same facts

 There is no bar to the entertainment of a second complaint on the same facts but it can be entertained in exceptional circumstances

  • Where previous order was passed on incomplete record
  • On a misunderstanding of the nature of the complaint
  • The order which was passed was manifestly absurd, unjust or foolish
  • Where new facts which could not, with reasonable diligence, have been brought on the record in the previous proceedings.

It has been held that the second complaint on the same facts could be entertained only in exceptional cases, namely, Where previous order was passed on incomplete record or on a misunderstanding of the nature of the complaint or it was manifestly absurd, unjust or foolish where new facts which could not, with reasonable diligence, have been brought on the record in the previous proceedings, have been adduced. (Mahesh Chand v. Janardhan Reddy, AIR 2003 SC 702)

Jagdish Chand v State, 1995 Cr LJ 2253 (Del), in this case it was held that where a private complaint under section 304A and 498A IPC was dismissed by the Magistrate mainly on the ground of unexplained delay of about 8 months, it was held that the unexplained delay cast serious doubts on the credibility and bona fides of the complainant, hence there was no infirmity in the dismissal order.

Food Inspector v Ch Qadir Wani, 1996 Cr LJ 1618 (J&K), it was held in this case that where the complainant was absent in a summons case on the date fixed, it was held that dismissal of the complaint was not illegal nor did it suffer on any count requiring interference of the Revisional Court.

Result of dismissal of complaint

Dismissal of complaint under this section does not entitle the accused to compensation under section 250. But he can prosecute the complainant for making a false charge under section 211 of the Indian Penal Code.Where a complaint case was dismissed in default, even at the evidence stage, a Magistrate cannot exercise any inherent jurisdiction to restore the case. Sita Ram v Shakuntla Devi, 1992 Cr LJ 2164 (P&H).

MN Meera v AC Mathew, 2002 Cr LJ 3845 (Ker), in this case it was held that merely because in the defamatory language alleged in the complaint, the accused had not mentioned the name of the complainant, the complaint was not to be dismissed in limine.


A Magistrate has power to dismiss a complaint. It can dismiss a complaint where after holding inquiry under section 202, he finds that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding with the complaint. He has to record his reasons for doing so, though he need not write an elaborate judgment. The complainant can present a second complaint if the decision under the first complaint was not on merits, or there was no discharge, acquittal or conviction.

(Author: Palak Jain, pursuing LLB from Faculty of law, Delhi University.)