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Cognizable and Non-Cognizable offence under Code of Criminal Procedure

Submitted by asandil on Tue, 01/05/2021 - 23:12

The cognizable offense is discussed under Section 154. Section 2(c) of the Criminal Procedure Code,1973 defines a Cognizable offense. It means an offense for which a police officer may, in accordance with the 1st schedule or under any other law for the time being in force, arrest the convict without any warrant and a cognizable case means a case relating to an offense in which the police officer may, in accordance with the 1st schedule or under any other law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant.

According to section 2 (n) of the code, "offense" means any act or omission made punishable by any law for the time being in force and includes any act in respect of which a complaint may be made under Section 20 of the cattle trespass Act, 1871

In order to be a cognizable case, it is enough if one or more offenses are cognizable offenses.  The examples of cognizable are murder, rape, dowry death, theft, kidnapping, waging war, culpable homicide, unnatural offenses, etc.

Key features of cognizable offenses

1.Cognizable offenses are those where a police officer can arrest without a warrant.

2. And such cases, after an arrest has been made, the accused will be produced before a magistrate, and he may require the police officer to investigate the matter.

3. After investigation, if the case is made out, i.e., the charge sheet filed goes against the accused, the magistrate can order for arrest.

4. During the pendency of the trial, bail application can be moved before the concerned magistrate.

Cognizable offenses are both bailable, and non-bailable.

Steps to be followed in cognizable offenses

  1. Information received
  2. Entered in the general diary
  3. Registration of FIR
  4. Arrest of accused
  5. Presenting accused in the court
  6. Remand
  7. Investigation under section 156
  8. Charge-sheet under section 173
  9. Inquiry
  10. Trial
  11. Judgment


Non-Cognizable Offences

Non-cognizable offenses are those which have been defined under section 2 (I) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. It means an offense for which the police have no authority to arrest without a warrant. Unlike the cognizable offenses, non-cognizable offenses are less serious in nature. The police in charge of the police station can record the F.I.R only with prior permission from the Magistrate.

Examples of non-cognizable offenses are assault, simple hurt, cheating, forgery. Section 155 of the Criminal Procedure code, 1973 provides that in a non-cognizable offense it’s important for the police to obtain permission from the magistrate to start the investigation.

In these offenses, a criminal complaint is lodged with the metropolitan magistrate who is supposed to order the concerned police station to initiate an investigation. The police officer is supposed to file the charge sheet with the court which is followed by a trial. After the trial, if the accused is found guilty, the court passes the order to issue the warrant to arrest the accused.

In such offenses following steps are followed

  1. Filing of complaint/ FIR
  2. Investigation
  3. Charge Sheet
  4. Charge sheet to be filed in court
  5. Trial
  6. A final order of the arrest if the case has been made out.

Contact our expert criminal lawyers for more help.