Meaning of Cognizable and Non Cognizable Offence

Meaning of Cognizable and Non Cognizable Offence


Cognizable offence (Meaning of Cognizable and Non Cognizable Offence)

Meaning of Cognizable and Non Cognizable Offence. Cognizable offence has defined in section 2(c) of the Criminal Procedure Code. Cognizable offence and cognizable case is the case in which a police officer may following the first schedule arrest without warrant. However, the classification of the offences have provided in the First Schedule, which includes sections, offences, punishments, cognizable or non- cognizable, bailable or non-bailable and by what court triable.

Meaning of Cognizable and Non Cognizable Offence

Non Cognizable offence

non-cognizable offence or non-cognizable case in which police have no authority to arrest without warrant. (Meaning of Cognizable and Non Cognizable Offence)

Bailable and non bailable offence

Bailable Offence means the offences which are shown as bailable in the first schedule. And offences which made bailable by any other law for the time being in force. And non-bailable offences means any other offences.

Complaint (Meaning of Cognizable and Non Cognizable Offence)

Complaint means any allegation made in orally or in writing to the magistrate for taking action against some persons known or unknown who has committed the offence. But it does not include a police report. Any person can set the law in motion and not the specific authorization is necessary to file the complaint. However, the complaint is made with the object that the magistrate should take action.

No specific form has prescribed which the complaint may take. There has no specific provision in the CrPC or in the rules framed thereunder, how a criminal complaint has to draft. The complainant need not the aggrieved person, any person knowing the offence can file the complaint. As a general rule, any person knowing the commission of an offence may set the criminal law in motion by complaint even though he has not directly interested or affected by the offence complained of.

Information to the Police and their powers to Investigate (FIR) (Section 154 CrPC)

If information relating to the commission of the cognizable offence given orally to an officer in charge or police station. He shall reduce in writing such information and read over to the informant. However,  every such information reduced in writing shall sign by the person giving it. And the substance of such information shall enter in a book kept by such officer.

Information of the Non-Cognizable Cases and Investigation of Non-Cognizable Cases (Section 155 CrPC)

  1. When any person gives the information to the officer-in-charge of police station relating to the commission of Non-Cognizable cases, the officer in charge of the police station shall enter the substance of such information in a book kept by such officer in such form prescribed by the state government.
  2. Police officers shall not investigate a non-cognizable case without the order of a Magistrate. If any police officer receives the order to investigate a non-cognizable case, he may exercise the same powers as he may exercise in a cognizable case.
  3. Where a case relates the more than offences of which one is cognizable, the case shall deem as a cognizable case.

Arrest in non-cognizable offence (Meaning of Cognizable and Non Cognizable Offence)

In non-cognizable offences, the police officer before arresting the accused, must obtain a warrant from the magistrate. In the absence of warrant remand of accused would be illegal and set aside.

Police report becomes complaint

Where the police investigates into a non-cognizable offence without obtaining an order of magistrate as required under this section and submit a report thereafter. The report submitted by the police shall treat as a complaint.

Police officers powers to investigate cognizable case (Section 156 CrPC)

  1. Any police officer may investigate any cognizable case without the order of the magistrate. In which a court is having jurisdiction over the local area within the limits of such police station.
  2. No proceeding of a police officer shall call in question on the ground that the case has one in which the police officer has not power to investigate.
  3. Any magistrate who has empowered under section 190 may order such investigation.

Section 190 of CrPC says Cognizance of Offence by Magistrate

Magistrate of the First Class and Magistrate of the Second Class specially empower and may take cognizance of any offence.

  1. When magistrate receives the complaint of facts which constitute such offence.
  2. Upon receipt of the police report of such facts
  3. Upon receipt of information from any person other than a police officer that such offence has committed.

Magistrate’s order to police for investigation u/s 156(3) of CrPC

Sub Section 3 empowers a magistrate to order a police inquiry in a case where the magistrate does not himself issue the process at once. This sub-section enables a magistrate to order the investigation of an offence of which he may have taken cognizance under section 190. He may do so even before the examination of the complainant. Magistrate can direct investigation under section 156(3) CrPC only to the police station of the area and not to any other police station.

The power under section 156(3) can invoke by magistrate before he takes cognizance. On receiving complaint magistrate has to apply his mind to allegations in the complaint upon.

Mere allegations about the commission of the offence without any material in support does not justify an order for investigation u/s 156(3). Where allegations were that accused raided the house of the informant and looted articles. But no witness supported the informant’s version, no abrasion or contusion has caused on the person of the informant. Court properly rejected the application under section 156(3).

However, the magistrate would not direct investigation by the police where the complainant has initiated a case to harass the opposite party given the civil suit filed against them.

Pre and Post Cognizance stages (Meaning of Cognizable and Non Cognizable Offence)

The power to order police investigation under section 156(3) of CrPC is different from the powers to direct investigation conferred by section 202(1). The two operate in distinct role at different stages. The first has exercisable at the pre-cognizance state and the second at the post cognizance stage. Where a magistrate has not taken cognizance of the case, it can direct investigation under section 156(3) CrPC after registration of the case. The power under section 156(3) can exercise by the magistrate only at a pre cognizance stage. But once he takes cognizance. He has to order for the examination of the complainant and the witnesses under section 200 and 202. Hence, the investigation can not be ordered under section 156(3).

Procedure for investigation (Section 157 of CrPC)

  1. When police officer who has empowered to investigate, receive the information and has reason to suspect the commission of the offense. He shall send the report of the same to the magistrate, who has to empower to take cognizance of such offence upon police complaint. And shall proceed in person or shall depute his subordinate officer to proceed to the spot to investigate. And if necessary to take measures for the arrest and discovery of the offender.
  2. When information of the offence has given against any person by name and the case is not the serious nature. In that case the police officer shall not proceed in person or depute a subordinate officer to make an investigation on the spot.
  3.  Police officer shall not investigate the matter when it appears that there is no sufficient ground for entering on an investigation.
  4. When the police officer station shall not investigate the case in that case he has to state in his report the reasons for not fully complying with the requirement. And officer shall also notify the informant.

Shall forthwith send a report

The commencement of the investigation in a cognizable offence by a police officer is subject to two conditions. Firstly, the police officer shall have reason to suspect the commission of a cognizable offence. And secondly, the police officer shall satisfy himself as to whether there has sufficient ground for entering of an investigation even before he starts an investigation into the facts and circumstances of the case.

The provision is mandatory. The report has to send forthwith to the magistrate. This is designed to keep the magistrate informed of the investigation to able to control the investigation. And if necessary to give appropriate direction. But the mere fact of the delayed receipt of the report by the magistrate, if there be no prejudice caused to the accused, cannot by itself lead to the conclusion that the investigation is tainted.(Meaning of Cognizable and Non Cognizable Offence)

Delay in sending the FIR to the magistrate

Where delay in sending a copy of the first information report to the magistrate has not explained anywhere. Hence, such delay is certainly fatal for the prosecution.

Failure to send a copy of FIR to magistrate

Failure to send a copy of FIR to the magistrate is bound to cast a shadow on the case of the prosecution. Where no question has put to the IO during his cross-examination that the copy of FIR was not sent to the concerned magistrate. However, it shall presume that copy of FIR sent to the magistrate.

Power of arrest of Investigation Officer

Where the FIR discloses the commission of a cognizable offence. However, the investigation officer has power to arrest the person named as accused therein. Arrest can not stay merely on the ground that the accused is a respectable person. Hence, the discretion vested in the IO to arrest must be exercised by the principle laid down by the Supreme Court in Joginder Kumar vs. State of UP.


Q. Cognizable offence meaning in Tamil?

A. அறியக்கூடிய குற்றம்
Aṟiyakkūṭiya kuṟṟam




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