BlogCriminal Procedure Code

Difference between a Congnizable and Non-Cognizable Offence


Cognizable vs Non-Cognizable Offences

Offence- Cognizable vs Non-Cognizable


Cognizable Offence:

It is the Section 2(c) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 that details about the cognizable offences. These are the ones in which a law enforcement officer has the right to make an arrest without any warrant. The police also have the authority to begin the probe into the matter without any direction from the court. Such is the case because the Indian legal system rates a cognizable offence, heinous.

The quantum of punishment in case of a cognizable offence is imprisonment for a term not less than 3 years. Also, these offences are generally non-bailable in nature.

There’s no provision for a criminal booked under a non-bailable charge to claim the grant of bail. However, there’s a special consideration for the convict(s) if he is under sixteen, a woman or infirm.

Murder, kidnapping, dowry death, theft, unnatural offences and criminal breach of trust are some of the examples of cognizable offences.

NOTE: The Supreme Court of India, in Lalita Kumari vs Government of Uttar Pradesh, concluded that it was essential for the cops to record an FIR upon receiving a complaint if the informer discloses an offence which appears to be cognizable.


A non-cognizable is described under section 2(I) of the CrPC. In case of a non-cognizable crime, no police officer has the power to arrest without a warrant. This is because the Indian legal system does not consider a non-cognizable offence, much serious.

The police department cannot begin an investigation into the matter in case of a non-cognizable offence if it does not have the permission from the Judicial Magistrate. It is the section 155 of CrPC that defines the duty of a police officer to take note of the crime upon receiving information and then refer the informer to the Magistrate.

Non-cognizable offences include defamation, cheating, forgery and assault and they are mostly non-bailable in nature.

Key Points to Remember:

1.Defined UnderSection 2(c) of CrPCSection 2(I) of CrPC
2.Nature of CrimeExtremely SeriousNot so serious
3.PetitionComplaint and FIRComplaint only
4.Nature of PunishmentNon-BailableBailable
5.InvestigationPolice can begin investigation without the approval of court.Direction from the judicial court is essential to begin the investigation.
6.ArrestWith or without warrantRequires warrant
7.ExamplesMurder, criminal breach of trust, kidnapping, unnatural offences, theft, etc.Defamation, assault, forgery, cheating, etc.

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