Dec 28, 2017
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How are offences classified under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973?

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Classification of Offences

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 came into force on  1st April, 1974. It also gives machinery for the investigation of crime,  harm of criminals, collection of evidence, determination of mens rea or innocence of the accused and the determination of punishment of the guilty. It also deals with public nuisance, prevention of offences and maintenance of wife, child and parents. The basic purpose of the Criminal Procedure Code to ensure a fair trial where no ones right infringed and also not unjustifiably favoured. The basic considerations of commission were that :

  1. there should fair trial proceeding for accused person and rule of natural justice should not infringed;
  2. Efforts  made to dispose of the trial expeditiously and to avoid delay in investigation and trial which is harmful
    not only to the individuals involved but also to society;
  3. the procedure should be simple and should also ensure fair justice to weaker section of community.

Types/ Classification of offences

Following are the types of offences:

1. Bailable Offence :

Section 2(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ,Bailable offence means an offence which is shown as bailable in the First Schedule, or which is made bailable by any other law for the time being in force; and “non-bailable offence” means any other offence. It consist two parts, first relates to offences under Indian Penal code and Second one relates to offences under other laws. The second part says that the offence punishable with imprisonment for less than three years or fine only, shall be bailable. Such offences tried by any Magistrate. Bail means the guarantee or sum of money demanded by a law court. Its paid by arrested person on a criminal charges, temporarily released until which time he allowed to go free.

2. Non-Bailable Offence:

The term ‘non-bailable offence’ does not means that an accused person cannot get bail under any circumstances. Section 437 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides the provisions for bail in non-bailable offences. Except on reasonable grounds that the offence committed by accused is punishable with death or imprisonment for life. As per Section 50(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure that where a police officer arrests without warrant any person other than a person accused of a non-bailable offence. Person arrested informed that he can get bail and arrange sureties on this behalf.

3. Cognizable Offence :

“cognizable offence” 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. The Code of Criminal Procedure has no guidelines to determine a particular offence is cognizable or non-cognizable. However, the Code also contains the Schedule I which refers to all the offences under the Indian Penal Code and puts them into cognizable and non-cognizable categories. Cognizable offence are serious offences. The seriousness of the offence leads for maximum punishment. The First Schedule contains offences under the laws other than the Indian Penal Code which are punishable with imprisonment for three years or more. Non-cognizable are punishable with less than three years or with fine only.

4. Non-Cognizable Offence :

“non-cognizable offence” means an offence for which, and “non-cognizable case” means a case in which, a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant. Such offences are minimal offences where the injury done to the society is comparatively small. The aggrieved party expected to file a complaint before criminal proceedings starts. The non-cognizable offences contains more private wrong. Therefore, initiative is taken by citizen to prosecute the offender and also collect the evidence. A police officer cannot arrest without a warrant and such an officer has neither the duty nor the power to investigate into such offences without the authority given by a Judicial Magistrate.

5. Compoundable Offence :

The compoundable offence means the disputes between parties settled by agreement. The aggrieved person receives some consideration or gratification for not prosecuting the accused. Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides a list of compoundable offences punishable under different sections of the Indian Penal Code. In cases mentioned in Section 320(1) of the Code, composition effected without the permission of the Court. In cases mentioned in Section 320(2) of the Code, composition effected with the permission of the Court. A composition means arrangement of settlement between the aggrieved party and accused person. If both the parties agreed to settle the dispute or compromise, then court disposes the case. Compromise and compounding cannot be equal.

6. Non-Compoundable Offence:

Offences other than those mentioned in Section 320 of the Code are not compoundable. Section 320 of the Code is ‘exhaustive’ of the circumstances and conditions under which composition can be effected. If a criminal case is declared to be non-compoundable, then it is against public policy to compound it, and agreement to that end is wholly void in law. The High Court in exercise of its inherent powers cannot permit compounding of non-compoundable offences, only in special cases the Supreme Court can grant such permission.

Article Categories:
Criminal law

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