My teacher beat me with the stick.I was bleeding in my left eye.I cannot see with my left eye.

Yours faithfully,


VI standard

It was the complaint made by a small boy, aged about 10 years, hailing from a remote rural village in Tamil Nadu.Based on his complaint, the teacher who beat the boy was immediately suspended.

So a complaint is essentially one’s grievances preferred against a person.Based on the complaint action is taken against the person on whom the complaint has been preferred.Hence, a complaint serves as the document to initiate civil or criminal action against an erring person.

However, a complaint may be either oral or in written form.Captious people by their fault finding nature used to complain frequently against anyone.But they are mostly oral and harmless.If the complaint is reduced into written form it becomes the basic record that sets the legal wheel into motion and into action.

Therefore a complaint being an important document, we should draft it more carefully.When a layman prefer an oral complaint against anybody, the verbatim account of the complaint is reduced to written format. When you complain against anybody, it should contain all the essential elements of a complaint as follows:

  • While complaining, you should address it to the proper person, who is capable of taking action against the complaint.For example, the student complaining about his teacher should address it to the headmaster or headmistress, who will take action against the complaint.A complaint pertaining to a revenue dispute should be addressed to the proper person at the revenue department.A complaint seeking redressal from the Municipality should be addressed to the Commissioner of your Municipality
  • Then your complaint should contain the details of your grievances and the reliefs you are seeking.
  • If the complaint is about the poor sanitary condition of your street or poor condition of your street road, it is always better to attach a photograph.If the complaint is about the defect in revenue records of your immovable property, your complaint should always be accompanied by proper records.
  • The complaint should contain the correct particulars of the address of the person against whom you prefer a complaint.

Complaints are generally civil or criminal in nature.A complaint is classified into civil or criminal on the basis of the contents of the complaint.When you prefer a complaint against your colleague in the office, or when a student prefers a complaint to his teacher against his classmate, when you prefer a complaint against a sanitary worker to the commissioner of Municipality or when you prefer a complaint to the commissioner of Corporation against water scarcity prevailing in your area or about the poor sanitary condition of your area or about the prevalence of mosquitoes and about the health hazards in your area or about the poor maintenance of street lights in your area or about the poor condition of the municipal roads in your area, they are complaints which are purely civil in nature requiring only the redressal of your grievance.Some complaints though purely civil in nature, for example, the complaint which you preferred against your colleague needs to be enquired into, call for an explanation from the concerned official and only after getting a reply from him or her, action will be taken against the erring official, provided it is proved on inquiry that the official has actually committed mistakes.On the other hand, if the reply given by the official is satisfactory not warranting any action, the complaint against him may be closed.In other words, it is known as the departmental inquiry, in which the duty of the inquiry officer is to see whether the concerned official against whom the complaint has been preferred violated any provisions of the department  rules and regulations.

When a complaint is preferred against any person, invariably he must be given a chance to submit his reply, in tune with the principles of natural justice.Otherwise, your inquiry proceedings against whom the complaint has been preferred are vitiated and it may not stand the scrutiny of law.

A complaint being complex in nature, especially if the complaint is criminal in nature or if the complaint is  civil but very complicated in nature involving a property dispute, it is better to engage a lawyer who is well versed in drafting.If you cannot afford to engage a lawyer, it is better to engage a document writer.


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