Section 2(c) and Section 2(l) of Criminal Procedure Code defines cognizable and non-cognizable offences as:
- Cognizable: Section 2 (c) The police, for a cognizable offence/cognizable case, may arrest without a warrant.
- Non-cog: Section 2 (l) Police has no authority to arrest without a warrant.
*Whether an offence is cognizable or not is provided in the First Schedule of the CrPC.
Under Section 154 and Section 156, what a police officer must do when the offence is cognizable is given.
- Under 154 -If information is received by the officer of a cognizable offence, then he will put the information down into writing, read it over to the informant and makes sure he signs the same.
- Under 156 – he now has the power to launch an investigation, without an order of a magistrate, into the cognizable case.
Under Section 155, what a police officer must do when he is approached with a non-cognizable offence is given. He is to enter the information of the case into a book and refer the informant to a Magistrate. He does not have the power to investigate without the approval of the Magistrate. If he receives the approval, he is to proceed with investigation as if he had powers under Section 156.
*If a case has two or more offences, in which on is cognizable, the entire case shall be deemed to be a cognizable one and the police can investigate without warrant.
Section 2(d) defines a complaint – allegation of an offence made to a Magistrate (does not include a police report)
Section 2(r) defines a police report – a report made a police officer to a magistrate under Section 173(2) of the Code – it is the report forwarded after the completion of the investigation.
What is ‘taking cognizance’ has not been defined in the Code, but it simply means to be aware and when taken in context of a judge it means “to take judicial notice”.
- The Magistrate takes cognizance when he applies his mind to a suspected commission of an offence with the purpose of proceeding to take steps under Sections 200, 202 or 204 towards inquiry or trial.
- The Magistrate does not take cognizance when he applies his mind for the purpose of some other kind eg. Ordering an investigation under Section 156(3)or issuing a search warrant for the purpose of investigation.
- The presumption under Section 156(3) is that the information of a cognizable case has come directly to the Magistrate. He can now do two things. He can send it for investigation by the police, the inference of which is that he has not taken cognizance of the complaint. If he chooses to apply his mind and go through the processes mentioned under Sections 200 -204e. dealing with examination of the complainant, postponement of the issue of process etc.
- Under Section 156(3) – the police will then submit a report to the Magistrate and he can THEN choose to take cognizance of the report, under Section 190 (1) (b) and issue directions for the process to begin. His conclusion does not depend on what the police have recommended. He can take cognizance of the information in the police report under Section 190 (1)(b) even if the police themselves recommend that there is no grounds for proceeding.
- The Magistrate can even decide not to take cognizance of the police report, but instead go back to the original complaint and initiate examinations under Section 200 etc (which can be tagged as direct cognizance by the Magistrate).
- Section 190 (1) (c) – purpose here is to not inhibit the Magistrate from delivering justice just because he has not seen the offence or has not been given a police report. He can act on any source of information.
|No cognizance can be taken by the Magistrate in the following offenses :||Unless :|
|Offences involving contempt of lawful authority of public servant (Sec. 172 – 188 of the IPC)||On the written complain of the concerned public servant (Section 195 of the CrPC)|
|Offences against public justice (Section 193- 196, 199, 200 205- 211 of IPC)||On the written complain of the concerned court (Section 195 of the CrPC)|
|Offences relating to documents produced in court (Section 463, 471, 475, 476 of IPC)||On the written complain of the concerned court (Section 195 of the CrPC)|
|Offences against State etc. (Section 121 – 130, 153 A, 153 B, 295 A, 505 of IPC)||With the previous sanction of the appropriate Governemnt or, in certain case, of the Dist. Magistrate (Section 196 of the CrPC)|
|Offences of criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with less than two years’ imprisonment 9Section 120 B of IPC_)||With the written consent of the State Govt. or in certain cases of the District Magistrate (Section 196 of the CrPC)|
|Offences committed by judge or public servants acting in the discharge of their official duties||With the previous sanction of the appropriate Government (Section 197 of the CrPC)|
|Offences committed by the members of the armed forces acting in the discharge of official duties||With the previous sanction of the appropriate Government (Section 197 of the CrPC)|
|Offences against marriage (Section 493- 498 of IPC)||On a complain of the person aggrieved (Section 198 of the CrPC)|
|Rape by husband against his minor wife (Section 376 of IPC)||When the complaint is filed within one year (Section 198(6) of the CrPC)|
|Offence of defamation etc (Section 499 – 502 of IPC)||Upon a complain of some person aggrieved (Section 199 of the CrPC)|