In this article, we will discuss cognizable and non-cognizable offenses in a simple and easy way. Breaking the basic rules is called a crime. Since the nature of the rules is different, so are the offenses of different types.

Today we will understand cognizable and non-cognizable offences, so read the article till the end for better understanding, 💫 Key Differences

Cognizable and Non-Cognizable Offences
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Any such act for which there is a provision of punishment in any law is called a crime. There are laws made by Parliament or Legislature as well as court orders, any private institutional law, custom or tradition based law etc. There can be many such laws in which there is a provision of punishment for any act.

In such a situation, no matter how much you try to escape, it becomes a crime. That is why we must know some basic things about crime. So what is crime, we have already understood it, now let’s talk further.

Which act will be a crime and what will be its punishment, it is written in the Indian Penal Code i.e. IPC 1860. And what will be the process of verifying the crime, what will be the process of punishment, what will be the process of executing it, all this has been discussed in the Criminal Procedure Code i.e. CrPC 1973.

Classification of crime

On the basis of the nature and seriousness of the offense, it is mainly classified into three parts –

1. ️Compoundable and non-compoundable offenses
2. Cognizable crime and non-cognizable offenses
3. ️Bailable and non-bailable offenses offences

There are already articles available on two of these, in this article we will understand cognizable and non-cognizable offenses.

what is Cognizable offence?

According to Section 2(c) of CrPC, a cognizable offense is an offense in which the police can arrest an offender without warrant and initiate a preliminary inquiry without the permission of the court.

Now the question comes that for which offense the police can do this, then all the offenses registered in Schedule 1 of CrPC and all the offenses declared under any law are cognizable offences. Whenever the police find that the offense has been committed under Schedule 1 of the CrPC or any law, they can arrest the accused person and initiate investigation.

Cognizable offenses are very serious in nature and have a negative impact on the society. Such as – kidnapping, rape, murder, theft, dacoity, dowry death etc.

Which offenses are included in Schedule I, you can see through this ️ link .

Under section 154 of CrPC, the police have to register an FIR in this type of case. However, if he wants, he can do some preliminary investigation before registering the FIR. After that it is produced before the magistrate in the stipulated time. If it is found from the preliminary investigation that the accused person is really guilty, then the magistrate can arrest him and put him in jail.

Remember one thing here that cognizable offenses can be bailable as well as non-bailable. For example, under IPC section 509, if a person makes a wrong gesture or obscene remark on a girl or woman, then it is considered a cognizable offense. But in nature they are bailable.

Generally, cognizable offenses are of non-bailable nature. A general arrangement for this is that if an accused has committed an offense for which the accused may be punished with imprisonment for 7 years or more or with death, then such offenses are non-bailable and cognizable in nature.

Similarly, offenses punishable with punishment above 3 years and below 7 years are also cognizable and non-bailable. But if you look at Schedule 1, you will find that there are many cases in which these are non-cognizable and bailable. For example you can see IPC section 506(2).

But if the punishment for any offense is 3 years or less, then they can also be cognizable or non-cognizable. But there are bailable in nature. Like just seen above an example of IPC section 509 which is a cognizable offense but since the punishment given therein is 3 years hence it has been kept in the category of bailable.

Generally, offenses with punishment of less than 3 years are non-cognizable and bailable.

What are non-cognizable offences?

According to Section 2 (l) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC 1973), non-cognizable offenses are those offenses in which a warrant is required by the police to arrest a person. That is, such offenses in which the police cannot arrest the accused without a warrant are called non-cognizable offences.

To arrest someone in this type of crime, the police have to first register a complaint, then an FIR is registered, then investigation, then charge sheet, present the charge sheet in the court, trial run and then go somewhere to arrest. warrant is issued.

Non-cognizable offenses are generally bailable in nature. For example take section 465 of IPC which deals with forgery. This offense is a non-cognizable and bailable offence. Because the punishment under this is 2 years.

But it is not the case at all that all non-cognizable offenses are bailable. Take for example Section 274 of the IPC. This adulteration of the drug in such a way that its efficiency is reduced or it becomes toxic; It is a non-cognizable offense but it is non-bailable while the punishment for this is only 6 months.

Difference between Cognizable and Non-Cognizable Offenses

Cognizable Non – Cognizable
This is a crime in which the police can arrest someone without any warrant.This is a crime in which the police cannot arrest anyone without a warrant.
It is defined in CrPC section 2(c).It is defined in CrPC section 2 (L).
The police can initiate a preliminary inquiry against anyone without the order of the court or without registering an FIR.The police cannot initiate a preliminary inquiry against anyone without the order of the court or without registering an FIR.
Such crimes are of a very heinous nature. Such as murder, rape, dowry death etc.These types of offenses are not as serious as fraud, defamation etc.
The aggrieved person can register an FIR or can file a complaint or complaint with the Magistrate.The aggrieved person can file a complaint or complaint only with the Magistrate.
In such cases, the police is bound to register an FIR without the orders of the magistrate.In such cases, the police may not even register an FIR or register an FIR only on the orders of the magistrate.
Usually these are non-bailable.These are bailable offences.

Hope you have understood this whole article, below is a link to some other great articles, do visit it too.


Cognizable and Non-Cognizable Offences