Cognizable offence means an offence for which a police officer may, in accordance with Schedule 1 or any other law currently in force, make an arrest without a warrant. These offences are generally of a serious nature and may be investigated by a police officer without an order from the magistrate. It is defined in article 2 (c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973. In such offences, the FIR (First Information Report) is filed. For example: – Murder Section 302 IPC, Rape Section 376 IPC, Kidnapping Section 363 IPC and Extortion Section 383 IPC. In the Lalita Kumari v Govt of UP case, the Supreme Court ruled that the police must register the FIR when they receive information about an Cognizable offence.
Non Cognizable Offence
Non Cognizable offence means an offence for which a police officer does not have the power to arrest without a warrant. These offences are less serious in nature, generally such offences for which the sentence is less than three years are Non Cognizable offences. To investigate these offences, the prior authorization of the magistrate is required. The Section 155 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that in the case of an Non Cognizable offence, the police officer cannot register the FIR without having obtained the prior authorization of the magistrate. It is defined in section 2 (l) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. In such offences, NCR (Not Criminally Responsible) is filed. For example: Defamation Section 500 IPC, Dishonest misappropriation of property Section 403 IPC, Punishment for wounds Section 323 IPC.
Several non-cognizable offences in the same transaction but one is cognizable, and then entire will be considered as cognizable.