The Magistrate taking cognizance of the offence on complaint at once examines the complainant and the witnesses present, if any, upon oath and reduces to writing the substance of the examination, which is to be signed by the complainant and the witnesses and the Magistrate.
Such examination shall, however, be not necessary where a complaint in writing is made by a public servant acting in the discharge of his official duties or a court has made the complaint; or when the case is transferred to another Magistrate under Section 192, Cr.P.C. after the complainant has been examined. (Section 200)
Procedure by Magistrate not competent to take cognizance of case:
If the complaint in writing has been made to a Magistrate not competent to take cognizance of the case, he shall return the complaint for presentation to the proper court with an endorsement to that effect; if the complaint is not in writing the Magistrate shall direct the complainant to the proper court. (Section 20)
Postponement of issue of process:
Any Magistrate on receipt of a complaint of an offence which he is authorized to take cognizance or which has been made over to him by any Chief Judicial Magistrate or any Magistrate of the first class empowered in this behalf by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, after taking cognizance of an offence under Section 192, may, if he thinks fit and shall, in a case where the accused is residing at a place beyond the area in which he exercises his jurisdiction, postpone the issue of process against the accused, and either inquire into the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by a police officer or by such other person as he thinks fit, for the purpose of deciding whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding provided that no such direction for investigation shall be made : (a) where it appears to the Magistrate that the offence complained of is triable exclusively by the court of session; or (b) where the complaint has not been made by a court unless the complainant and the witnesses present (if any) have been examined on oath under Section 200. [Section 202 (1)]
In an inquiry under sub-section (1) the Magistrate may, if he thinks fit, take evidence of witnesses on oath : provided that if it appears to the Magistrate that the offence complained of is triable exclusively by the court of session, he shall call upon the complainant to produce all his witnesses and examine them on oath. [Section 200 (2)]
If an investigation under sub-section (1) is made by a person, not being a police officer, he shall have for that investigation all the powers conferred by the Code on an officer in charge of a police station except the power to arrest without warrant. [Section 200 (3)]
Dismissals of complaint:
The Magistrate may, after recording his reasons, dismiss the complaint. If after considering the statements on oath of the complainant and the witnesses and the result of the investigation or inquiry under Section 202, there is, in his judgment, no sufficient ground for proceeding (Section 203)
Commencement of proceeding before Magistrate:
If the Magistrate is of the opinion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding, he shall issue a summons or a warrant, as the case may be, for the attendance of the accused and may permit him to appear by his pleader.
No summons or warrant shall, however, be issued against the accused until a list of the prosecution witnesses has been filed. Further, in a proceeding instituted upon a complaint made in writing every summons or warrant shall be accompanied by a copy of such complaint. (Ss. 204 and 205)