A division bench of the Apex Court held as follows:
From Paras 41 and 42,
41. In the facts of this case, having regard to the nature of the allegations contained in the protest petition and the annexures which essentially consisted of affidavits, if the Magistrate was convinced on the basis of the consideration of the final report, the statements under Section 161 of the Code that no prima facie case is made out, certainly the Magistrate could not be compelled to take cognizance by treating the protest petition as a complaint. The fact that he may have jurisdiction in a case to treat the protest petition as a complaint, is a different matter. Undoubtedly, if he treats the protest petition as a complaint, he would have to follow the procedure prescribed under Section 200 and 202 of the Code if the latter Section also commends itself to the Magistrate. In other words, necessarily, the complainant and his witnesses would have to be examined. No doubt, depending upon the material which is made available to a Magistrate by the complainant in the protest petition, it may be capable of being relied on in a particular case having regard to its inherent nature and impact on the conclusions in the final report. That is, if the material is such that it persuades the court to disagree with the conclusions arrived at by the Investigating Officer, cognizance could be taken under Section 190(1)(b) of the Code for which there is no necessity to examine the witnesses under Section 200 of the Code. But as the Magistrate could not be compelled to treat the protest petition as a complaint, the remedy of the complainant would be to file a fresh complaint and invite the Magistrate to follow the procedure under Section 200 of the Code or Section 200 read with Section 202 of the Code. Therefore, we are of the view that in the facts of this case, we cannot support the decision of the High Court.
42. It is true that law mandates notice to the informant/complainant where the Magistrate contemplates accepting the final report. On receipt of notice, the informant may address the court ventilating his objections to the final report. This he usually does in the form of the protest petition.
From Para 45,
Vishnu Kumar Tiwari Vs State of Uttar Pradesh on 09 Jul 2019
45. If a protest petition fulfills the requirements of a complaint, the Magistrate may treat the protest petition as a complaint and deal with the same as required under Section 200 read with Section 202 of the Code. In this case, in fact, there is no list of witnesses as such in the protest petition. The prayer in the protest petition is to set aside the final report and to allow the application against the final report. While we are not suggesting that the form must entirely be decisive of the question whether it amounts to a complaint or liable to be treated as a complaint, we would think that essentially, the protest petition in this case, is summing up of the objections the second respondent against the final report.
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