Whether a Protest Petition filed U/s 200 Cr. P. C. after taking cognizance can be continued as a state case or it must be treated as a Private Complaint? 

A division bench of Apex Court in the case of Mukhtar Zaidi and Anr vs The State of UP and Anr 2024 INSC 316 held that if a Protest Petition fulfills the requirements of a complaint, then the Magistrate can deal with it as required U/S 200 R/W 202 Cr. P. C. 

Brief Background of the case:   

The 2nd Respondent had lodged a complaint based on which an FIR was filed against the Appellant U/S 147, 342, 323, 307, and 506 IPC. A police report was filed U/s Section 174(2) Cr.P.C after the investigation, that no evidence could be collected. The report was submitted before the Magistrate and notices were issued to the 2nd Respondent/Informant.  

The 2nd Respondent/Informant filed a Protest Petition along with an Affidavit stating that the Police did not conduct a fair investigation and the statements of witnesses were recorded by just sitting at the Police Station. Based on the Protest Petition filed, the Magistrate rejected the Police report and took cognizance of the offences mentioned above U/s 190 (1)(b) Cr. P. C and directed that the case would continue as a state case, after which the Appellant/Accused was also summoned. The orders of cognizance and summoning the Appellant/Accused was challenged before the High Court and the same was dismissed.  

Summary of submissions made by the Parties: 

Appellant’s arguments: 

The Magistrate court and the High Court made an error regarding taking cognizance upon the Protest Petition and Affidavit, whereas when additional evidence is being produced, then it should be treated as a Private Complaint U/s 200 Cr. P. C. It was contended that the said case could not have been continued as a state case and should have been treated as a private complaint. 

It was further contended that the Magistrate should have rejected the Final Report and should have treated the Protest Petition as a private complaint, as additional evidence was filed along with the Protest Petition. The Magistrate should have followed the procedure under Chapter XV of Cr. P. C (Complaint to Magistrate, Sections 200 to 203 Cr. P. C) and should have taken cognizance U/s 190(1)(a) Cr. P. C. 

Arguments made by the State: 

It was argued that the Magistrate did not consider the additional evidence filed in form of Affidavits and Protest Petitions but only relied upon the materials collected during the investigation, based on which the Magistrate rejected the Police Report and took cognizance u/s 190(1)(b) Cr. P. C. and therefore the orders does not suffer any infirmity.  

Summary of findings: 

It is seen that the Magistrate did not only consider the Protest Petition but also the Affidavit filed along with the Petition which stated that investigation was not a fair, that led to a case for which cognizance was taken and the Appellant/Accused was summoned.  

Referring various decisions of Apex Court including Vishnu Kumar Tiwari vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, through Secretary Home, Civil Secretariat, Lucknow & Anr, in the present case the Magistrate ought to have treated the Protest Petition as a Complaint in accordance with Chapter XV Cr. P. C. The Apex Court also referred to the Judgment in Abhinandan Jha [Abhinandan Jha v. Dinesh Mishra, AIR 1968 SC 117 : 1968 Cri LJ 97 : (1967) 3 SCR 668] where it was observed that it was not very clear as to whether the Magistrate has chosen to treat the Protest Petition as complaint and held that it cannot be held that simply because there is a Protest Petition the case is to become a complaint case.” 

The Karnataka High Court’s decision in Veerappa v. Bhimareddappa [Veerappa v. B himareddappa, 2001 SCC OnLine Kar 447 : 2002 Cri LJ 2150] was referred where it was held that a Protest Petition should satisfy the requirements as defined under Section 2 (d) Cr. P. C. and should contain all those necessary particulars that a normal complaint has to contain, until then, it cannot be construed as a complaint for the purpose of proceeding under Section 200 Cr. P. C.  

Therefore, a Protest Petition fulfill the requirements of a Complaint, then the Magistrate may treat it as a Complaint U/s 200 Cr. P. C. 


From the above, it is reflected that the Magistrate has a liberty to reject the Protest Petition along with all other materials. Also, the right of Complainant to file a Complaint u/s 200 Cr. P.C. is not taken away even if the Magistrate does not direct that such a Protest Petition be treated as a complaint.  

Also, in the present case, as the Magistrate had already recorded his satisfaction regarding rejecting the Police Report and taking cognizance, he ought to have followed the procedure under Chapter XV Cr. P. C. Therefore, the Appeal is allowed. However, it was left open to the Magistrate to treat a Protest Petition itself as a Complaint according to Chapter XV Cr. P. C. 


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