Jan 19, 2018
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What is the difference between Cognizable offence and Non-cognizable offence?

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What is the difference between Cognizable offence and Non-cognizable offence?

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 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. They are punishable with less than three years or with fine only.

 They are usually offenses which are serious in nature. Examples offences.

  1. Waging or attempting to wage war, or abetting the waging of war against the government of India,
  2. Murder,
  3. Rape,
  4. Dowry Death,
  5. Kidnapping,
  6. Theft,
  7. Criminal Breach of Trust,
  8. 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 offence.

 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.

Examples of Non-Cognizable offenses. These offences are not much serious in nature.

  • Assault,
  • Cheating,
  • Forgery

Difference between Cognizable and non-cognizable offence

  1. The offence in which the police suo motu takes cognizance of crime and also does not need approval of court, known as a cognizable offence. While, in non-cognizable, police has no authority to arrest a person for crime on its own, without prior approval of court.
  2. In cognizable, the police can arrest a person without any warrant. While, in case of non-cognizable offence, a warrant must needed for arrest of person.
  3. In cognizable, court’s order is not required to start an investigation. Conversely, in the non-cognizable offence, first of all, court’s order should be obtained for undertaking an investigation.
  4. Cognizable are heinous crimes, whereas non-cognizable offences are not so serious.
  5. Cognizable encompasses murder, rape, theft, kidnapping, counterfeiting, etc. On the contrary, non-cognizable offences include offences like forgery, cheating, assault, defamation and so forth.
  6. For a cognizable, one can file FIR or make a complaint to the magistrate. Unlike, in case of non-cognizable offence one can only make a complaint to the magistrate.


Article Categories:
Criminal law

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