Cognizable and Non-Cognizable Offence

Is a police officer allowed to be able to arrest anyone? Does it come down to their sweet will to decide to take a person into custody or search private homes? NO!!

The procedure authorities follow in criminal cases is detailed in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1973. The laws in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) define what constitutes an offense and the corresponding punishment. The CrPC categorizes offenses according to the severity of the crime committed and, consequently, the procedure that must be adhered to.

The distinction between civil and criminal laws can be seen in the fact that for civil cases, parties must present the evidence themselves to support their claim without court interference. For criminal matters, specifically the most severe crimes, they are entrusted to the state authorities with the obligation to investigate, collect evidence, bring it before the court, and then proceed with an attorney for the prosecution. Because police officers must gather evidence before the evidence is destroyed or destroyed, keeping these locations out of the access of the accused is essential. However, not every crime grants Police officers the authority to investigate and arrest those they believe are connected to the crime. Certain offenses are deemed cognizable, while others are not. The distinction between the two terms is discussed in the blog that follows.

What are Cognizable Offences?

Cognitive ability can be described as the use of the mind. The matter is grave when the facts indicate the commission of a serious offense that is a deterrent to impact society. A list of cognizable crimes comprises acts considered severe and punishable by either the death penalty, life-long imprisonment, or imprisonment for a period not less than three years.

Cognizable offense examples include dacoity, murder, rape, etc. When you read these words, it sends an itch through the spine for the average person. In such instances, providing information to Police officers can initiate police officers to activate the police system for criminal prosecution. The Police must file a First Information Report (FIR) under section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

When the Police identify a crime considered cognizable, They are not required to obtain a Magistrate’s court’s approval to begin the investigation. The incident is noted in the general journal at the Police station. The inquiry could be initiated immediately with no warrant. In these cases, it is not the police officials’ right but their obligation, as per CrPC, to begin investigating the issue. Even if the problem is severe and an investigation by CBI is needed, it’s still initiated by local Police.

What are Non-Cognizable Offences?

It is not always easy to determine whether a crime is easy to identify and is serious. For instance, if you deal with a person in a business relationship, they are not a business organization but a fake group of criminals who loot victims in the name of a business. If you’ve cheated during business transactions, it’s an instance that you have breached trust and suffered financial losses, etc. Therefore, it’s a private offense for the person who was victimized. The penalty for this crime is less when compared to a prank, where a person’s life is in danger.

In such instances, Police officials are not authorized to investigate and detain the person the victim claims to have cheated without permission from the concerned Magistrate.

If someone files an FIR for a non-concise crime, The Police could deny the request and ask the complainant to go to the Magistrate. In these instances, criminal lawyers must be sought to help understand the following process. Police launching an investigation on their own for a crime that is not cognizable is against the law.

How to Distinguish Between Cognizable and Non-Cognizable Offences?

Understanding the differences between various types of crimes is crucial. If you’re an ordinary person who has witnessed an act of violence, knowing the difference can lead to making a complaint to the authorities. If you’re an undergraduate student studying law, this will assist you in understanding the various aspects of criminal law in place across India. If, however, you are an experienced attorney for criminals practicing in Kolkata or another Indian city and you have recently begun a trial, the need to know these principles is crucial. The table below offers an overview of the theoretical and procedural distinctions between offenses dealt with by Police or others.

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