In this article, we delve into the intricacies of Section 200 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Section 200 plays a crucial role in the Indian legal system, as it outlines the procedure for initiating criminal proceedings on a complaint before a Magistrate. By providing a detailed analysis of this section, we aim to equip readers with a comprehensive understanding of its provisions and implications.

Initiating Criminal Proceedings

Overview of Section 200

Section 200 of the CrPC establishes the requirement of examining the complainant and witnesses in criminal cases. It specifies that the Magistrate, upon receiving a complaint of an offense, shall examine the complainant and the witnesses present, if any, under oath or affirmation. This step is vital in determining the veracity of the complaint and ensuring fair proceedings.

Section 200

Procedure for Examination

The procedure prescribed under Section 200 involves the following key steps:

  1. Recording the Statement: The Magistrate must record the statement of the complainant and any witnesses present. This statement serves as crucial evidence during the trial process. It is imperative to note that the statement should be recorded in a manner that accurately reflects the facts and circumstances surrounding the offense.
  2. Oath or Affirmation: The complainant and witnesses must be administered an oath or affirmation before providing their statements. This solemn act ensures that they understand the importance of truthful testimony and encourages honesty in their statements.
  3. Cross-Examination: Following the recording of statements, the accused or their legal representative has the right to cross-examine the complainant and witnesses. Cross-examination plays a vital role in testing the credibility and reliability of the statements made.

Conditions for Examination

Section 200 also outlines certain conditions that need to be fulfilled before examination can take place. These conditions are as follows:

  1. Written Complaint: The complaint must be in writing, signed by the complainant, and disclose the essential facts constituting the offense. This requirement ensures that complaints are properly documented and authenticated.
  2. Jurisdiction: The Magistrate must have the jurisdiction to take cognizance of the offense. Jurisdiction determines the territorial limits within which a Magistrate can exercise their authority. Ensuring the proper jurisdiction guarantees a fair and lawful process.
  3. No Personal Knowledge: Section 200 stipulates that the Magistrate cannot proceed with examination if the complainant personally knows the facts of the offense. Instead, the Magistrate may direct the complainant to file a First Information Report (FIR) with the police. This provision ensures that the investigation is conducted by the appropriate authorities when the complainant is a direct witness.

Comparison with Other Sections

To gain a deeper understanding of Section 200, it is beneficial to compare it with other relevant sections of the CrPC. Let’s briefly explore these sections:

Section 190 – Cognizance of Offenses by Magistrates

Section 190 empowers Magistrates to take cognizance of offenses based on different circumstances, such as receiving a complaint, police report, or information from any other person. While Section 190 deals with the overall process of cognizance, Section 200 specifically focuses on the examination of the complainant and witnesses.

Section 202 – Postponement of Issue of Process

Section 202 allows a Magistrate to postpone the issue of process after receiving a complaint. This provision provides the Magistrate with the discretion to either proceed directly with the examination under Section 200 or postpone the process to conduct an inquiry or investigation. Section 202 complements Section 200 by offering flexibility in handling complaints.

Also Read Effective The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act 2007


Section 200 of the CrPC plays a pivotal role in the initiation of criminal proceedings. By mandating the examination of the complainant and witnesses, it ensures a fair and just legal process. This article aimed to provide a comprehensive understanding of Section 200, its procedural aspects, and its relationship with other relevant sections. By grasping the nuances of this section, one can navigate the Indian legal system with confidence and knowledge.

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