Difference between Cognizable & Non-Cognizable offenses

Difference between Cognizable & Non-Cognizable offenses {Updated}

 

COGNIZABLE AND NON COGNIZABLE OFFENCES

COGNIZABLE OFFENCES: 

Section 2 (c) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 defines Cognizable offences.

Cognizable offence/case means a case in which, a police officer may arrest without warrant, as per the First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 or under any other law for the time being in force.

Cognizable offenses are usually offenses which are serious in nature. Like for example:

  • Waging or attempting to wage war, or abetting the waging of war against the government of India,
  • Murder,
  • Rape,
  • Dowry Death,
  • Kidnapping,
  • Theft,
  • Criminal Breach of Trust,
  • Unnatural Offenses.

Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 provides that under a cognizable offence the Police Officer has to receive the First Information Report (FIR) relating to the cognizable offense.

Police Officer’s Power to Investigate Cognizable Cases

Any officer-in-charge of a Police Station, without the order of a magistrate, investigate any cognizable case which a court having jurisdiction over the local area within the limits of such station would have power to inquire into or try under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. 1973.

The Supreme Court of India, in Lalita Kumari vs. Govt. of UP on 12 November, 2013 held that ‘the police must compulsorily register the FIR on receiving a complaint if the information discloses a cognizable offence, and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation’.

The police cannot refuse to register the case on the ground that it is either not reliable or credible (Smt. Gurmito vs. State of Punjab And Ors 1996 CriLJ 1254 P&H). Further, refusal to record FIR on the ground that the place of crime does not fall within the territorial jurisdiction of the police station, amount to dereliction of duty. Information about cognizable offence would have to be recorded and forwarded to the police station having jurisdiction (State of Andhra Pradesh vs. Punati Ramulu And Others, AIR 1993 SC 2644).

It is the duty of the officer-in-charge of the police station to register an FIR when investigation under section 156(3) of CrPC is directed by the Magistrate, even when the Magistrate explicitly does not say so (Mohd. Yoysuf vs. Afaq Jahan, (2006), SCC 627).

 

NON COGNIZABLE OFFENCES:

A non-cognizable offence has been defined in Section 2(l) of Criminal Procedure Code 1973.

Non-cognizable offence means an offence for which, and `non-cognizable case’ means a case in which, a police officer without any warrant has no authority to arrest.

Non-Cognizable offenses are not much serious in nature. Example-

  • Assault,
  • Cheating,
  • Forgery,

Section 155 of Criminal Procedure Code 1973 provides that in a non-cognizable offense or case, the police officer cannot receive or record the FIR unless he obtains prior permission from the Magistrate.

In case of Non-Cognizable offence, it is important for the police officer to obtain the permission from the Magistrate to start the investigation.

In such offences for arrest, following steps have to be followed:

  1. Filing of complaint/F.I.R.
  2. Investigation
  3. Charge sheet,
  4. Charge sheet to be filed in court
  5. Trial
  6. Final order of arrest if case has been made out.
  7. Kunhumuhammed v. State of Kerala the court held that the report of a police officer following an investigation contrary to S. 155(2)[3] could be treated as complaint under S. 2(d) and S. 190(1)(a). It is necessary that at the commencement of the investigation the police officer is led to believe that the case involved the commission of a cognizable offence or has a doubt about the same and investigation establishes only commission of a non- cognizable offence.

Ordinarily a private citizen intending to initiate criminal proceedings in respect of an offence has two courses open to him. He may lodge an FIR before the police if the offence is cognizable one; or he may lodge a complaint before a competent judicial magistrate irrespective of whether the offence is cognizable or non-cognizable. In Chinnaswami v. Kuppuswami, it was observed that the object of the Code is to ensure the freedom and safety of the subject in that it gives him the right to come to court provided he considers that a wrong has been done to the Republic or him and be a check upon police vagaries.

 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COGNIZABLE AND NON COGNIZABLE OFFENCES

 

GROUNDS COGNIZABLE OFFENCES

 

NON COGNIZABLE OFFENCES

 

Arrest a police officer may arrest without warrant for such offences a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant for such offences
Nature of Crime Serious Not much serious
FIR registered FIR can be registered without magistrate’s permission FIR cannot be registered without magistrate’s permission
Examples ·        Murder,

·        Rape,

·        Dowry Death,

 

·        Assault,

·        Cheating,

·        Forgery,

 

 

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