“Informant” and “Complainant” – Distinction Between

In many judgments, the person giving the report under Section 154 of CRPC is described as the “complainant” or the “de facto complainant” instead of “informant”, assuming that the State is the complainant. These are not words of literature. In a case registered under Section 154 of the Code, the State is the prosecutor and the person whose information is the cause for lodging the report is the informant. This is obvious from sub-section (2) of Section 154 of the Code which, inter alia, provides for giving a copy of the information to the “informant” and not to the “complainant”. However the complainant is the person who lodges the complaint. The word “complaint” is defined under Section 2(d) of the Code to mean any allegation made orally or in writing to a Magistrate and the person who makes the allegation is the complainant, which would be evident from Section 200 of the Code, which provides for examination of the complainant in a complaint case. Therefore, these words carry different meanings and are not interchangeable. In short, the person giving information, which leads to lodging of the report under Section 154 of the Code is the informant and the person who files the complaint is the complainant. Ganesha v. Sharanappa and another, (2014) 1 SCC 87.

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