Cognizable Offence

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

There are many instances where police arrest the accused with or without a warrant. These come under the purview of cognizable offences. In this article, we will discuss what is cognizable and non-cognizable offences, their differences, is cognizable offences bailable, punishment for these offences, how an FIR is lodged in cognizable and non-cognizable offences, what are cognizable offences under Cr.P.C.

What are Cognizable Offences?

offences for which the police can arrest the accused without a warrant is called a cognizable offence. These offences are often serious in nature, and the police can immediately arrest the person without the Magistrate’s order as per First Schedule or any other law that is in force.
Some examples of cognizable offences are:

  • Murder (Section 302)
  • Dowry death (Section 304-B)
  • Kidnapping (Section 363)
  • Rape (Section 376)
  • Theft (Section 379),
  • Unnatural Offence (Section 377)
  • Waging/Attempting to wage war/ Abetting in the process of waging of war against the Government of India (Section 121)
  • Causing the death of a quick unborn child by an act amount to culpable homicide (Section 316).

Investigation in Cognizable offence

In Cognizable Offence, the police officer can conduct a preliminary inquiry, arrest, and produce the accused before registering an FIR. However, in Lalitakumarai Vs. Government of U.P., the Supreme Court had held that, on receiving a complaint of the cognizable offence, the police should compulsorily without any delay register an FIR and any preliminary inquiry is not permitted in such a situation.

As per Section 156(3), Code of Criminal Procedure, the Magistrate can order a respective police officer of the station to investigate the case, under Section 190 of Cr.P.C.

Are Cognizable offences bailable?

Cognizable offences are serious offences; therefore, they are primarily non-bailable.
However, some cognizable offences are also bailable, provided they are less severe.

Some examples of cognizable and bailable offences are:

  • Committing any act negligently that is likely to spread infection of any disease that is dangerous to life (Section 269)
  • Disclosing the identity of the victim of any offences, etc. publication or printing of a proceeding without any prior permission of Court (Section 228-A)
  • Riding or driving rashly or negligently on a public way to endanger human life, etc. (Section 279)
  • Disturbing any assembly engaged in religious worship (Section 296),
  • Attempting suicide (Section 309)

Some examples of cognizable and non-bailable offences are:

  • Abetting the commission of suicide (Section 306)
  • Causing hurt voluntarily by dangerous weapons or means (Section324)
  • Insulting the religion or the religious beliefs of any class with malicious intent (Section 295-A)
  • Murder (Section 302)
  • Causing grievous hurt voluntarily to a public servant to discharge his duties (Section 333)

Punishment for Cognizable offences

As Cognizable offences are grievous offences, the punishment for these offences is more than three years or with fine or both.

FIR in Cognizable Offences and Non-cognizable offences

First Information Report (FIR) means information of commission of a cognizable offence or non-cognizable offence given to the police officer. Usually, the information given by the complainant or informant is oral, which has to be reduced in writing by the police officer or anyone in charge on his behalf. Once written, it has to be read over and signed by the informant or complainant.

A FIR copy should be given to the informant and the Magistrate of that jurisdiction.

In the event of non-cognizable offences, the police officer may produce the informant to the Magistrate and, in the direction of the concerned Magistrate, start investigating the information.

If any police officer refuses to record the information, then the aggrieved person can refer the matter to the Superintendent of Police, who would then direct the police officer to look into the matter.

What are Non-Cognizable offences?

offences for which the police officer cannot arrest the accused without a warrant are called non-cognizable offences. These kinds of offences are not grave.

Some examples of non-cognizable offences are:

  • Assault (Section 352)
  • Voluntarily causing hurt (Section 323)
  • Cheating (Section 417)
  • Forgery (Section 465)

Investigation in Non-cognizable offence

In a Non-cognizable offence, the police officer cannot conduct any inquiry without the permission of the Magistrate in that jurisdiction. Once the police officer receives the Magistrate’s permission to investigate the case, it shall have the same power as in case of cognizable offences (except the power to arrest without warrant).

Punishment for non-cognizable offences

As non-cognizable offences are minor or petty offences, the punishment for these offences is less than three years or with fine or both.

What are the differences between Cognizable and Non-cognizable offences?

Cognizable and Non-cognizable offences can be understood more clearly with the following points of distinction:

Cognizable offences
 Non-cognizable offences
In Cognizable offences, the police can arrest the accused without a warrant.   In a non-cognizable offence, the police cannot arrest the accused without a warrant.
 Cognizable offences are serious offences. Non-cognizable offences are minor offences.
In cognizable offences, the courts’ approval is not required to investigate the case. In Non-cognizable offences, the court’s approval is necessary to investigate the case.
In cognizable offences, the victim can either file an FIR or make a complaint to the Magistrate. In non-cognizable offences, the victim has to file a complaint to the Magistrate only.


Cognizable offences are serious crimes wherein the police can arrest the accused without a warrant. Non-cognizable offences are minor crimes wherein the police cannot arrest the accused without a warrant. Cognizable offences are bailable or non-bailable depending on the intensity of the crime, and non-cognizable offences are mostly bailable.


Leave A Reply