Cognizable and Non- Cognizable Offences

Introduction

The Criminal Procedure Code 1973 talks about two categories of offences –  Cognizable offences and Non-Cognizable offences which are given under section 2(C) and 2 (L) of the code respectively , They are defined as-

Cognizable Offence

Cognizable offence which defines under section 2(C) means “an offence for which, and cognizable case means a case in which a police officer may in accordance with the First Schedule or under any other law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant”.

Non- Cognizable Offence

Section 2(L) defines non-cognizable offence as “an offence for which and non cognizable case means a case in which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant”.

After reading section 2(C) and Section 2(L) there is a two points vent out-

  •  Cognizable Offence and  Non-Cognizable offence is a single offence or a single incident.
  •  Cognizable Case and Non- Cognizable case consist of many offences and the moment when offence related proceeding starts, it become a case.

For Example X killed Y, it is an offence but when the FIR lodged and criminal proceeding starts against X, now the same offence becomes a case.

 

  • Cognizable and Non- Cognizable offences has not been define under section 2(C) and Section 2(L) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 it only provides  the characteristics of Cognizable and Non Cognizable offences that is whether the accused can be arrested without warrant or not.
  • Column 4th of First Schedule of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 classify the offences as Cognizable or Non Cognizable.
  •  The Second Schedule of the Code, provides offences against other laws where the criteria of 3 years imprisonment is follow. Therefore, if offence is punishable with 3 years imprisonment or more then the offence will be a cognizable offence and if offence is punishable with less than 3 years imprisonment then it will be a non cognizable offence.
  •  The Indian Penal Code, 1860 does not follow the criteria provided in Second Schedule of the Criminal procedure Code 1973, the Indian penal Code only follows the 4th column of first Schedule which provides that which offence is cognizable and which offence is non-cognizable.
  • There are many sections in Indian Penal Code where the offences are punishable with imprisonment of 3 years or more but still it is a non cognizable offence for example-
    • Section 474 IPC para II punishment imprisonment for life, or imprisonment upto 7 years and fine still it is non- cognizable offence.
    • Other section 475, 476, 493, 409, 494, 495 and 500 etc. Which are punishable with 3 years imprisonment or more but the offence is non-cognizable.
  • There are many sections in Indian Penal Code which are punishable with less than 3 years imprisonment still they are cognizable offence, for example –
    • Section 291 IPC punishment is 6 month but it is cognizable.
    • Other sections 294, 277, 284, 286, 267 etc. punishable with imprisonment of less than 3 years and the offence is cognizable.

Distinction Between Cognizable and Non -Cognizable Offences

 

Cognizable offenceNon – Cognizable offence
1.In Cognizable offences the police officer has power to arrest a person without  warrant.Whereas in case of Non- Cognizable offences the police officer has no authority to arrest  a person without warrant.
2.In case of cognizable offences the police officer after receiving  a complaint lodged FIR first and then proceed the investigation himself.In case of non – cognizable offences the police officer after receiving a complaint, lodged the NCR  first but can not investigate himself.
3.In cognizable offences  the police officer investigate the case without the order of the any MagistrateWhereas in non- cognizable offences, the police officer before investigation  must take  order of area Magistrate.
4.In cognizable cases the investigation without the Magistrate order is proper or legal investigation.Here the investigation without the Magistrate order will be an irregular investigation.
5.All serious offences are considered as cognizable offence.Non- cognizable offences are more trivial and less serious than cognizable ones.
6.Some examples of the cognizable offences are – Waging war against the Government of India, Murder, Culpable Homicide not amount to murder etc.Some examples of the non- cognizable offences are- Absconding to avoid service of summons, giving false information to a public servant, mischief etc.

 

Also Read:

Introduction of Civil Procedure Code

Arrest Complete Details

 

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