What is a Cognizable and Non-Cognizable offence in India?

हिंदी में पढ़ें
November 27, 2019
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty

Cognizable offences are those in which the police can arrest without any warrant. These are more serious in nature. Non-cognizable offences on the other hand are those for which a police officer has no authority to arrest, unless with a warrant.

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Difference between Cognizable and Non Cognizable offences

Cognizable and Non-Cognizable offences have been defined in Criminal Procedure Code as follows;

Cognizable Offence

  1. Cognizable offence means an offence for which a police officer may, in accordance with the First Schedule or under any other law for the time being in force, arrest without a warrant.

  2. Cognizable offences are those offences which are serious in nature. Example- Murder, Rape, Dowry Death, Kidnapping, Theft, Criminal Breach of Trust, Unnatural Offences.

  3. Section 154 of CrPc provides that under a Cognizable offence or case, the Police Officer has to receive the First Information Report (FIR) relating to the cognizable offence, which can be obtained without the Magistrate’s permission and enter it in the General Diary to immediately start the investigation. An FIR sets the criminal law in motion.

  4. If a Cognizable offence has been committed, a Police Officer can investigate without the Magistrate’s permission.

    Consult: Top Criminal Lawyers in India

Non-Cognizable Offence

  1. A non-cognizable offence or a non-cognizable case has been defined in the Criminal Procedure Code as an offence for which the police have no authority to arrest without a warrant. 

  2. Non-Cognizable offences are those which are less serious in nature. Example- Assault, Cheating, Forgery, Defamation, etc.

  3. Section 155 of CrPc provides that if a police officer receives information regarding the commission of a non-cognizable offence, he is supposed to enter the substance of the case in the station diary and refer the informant to approach the concerned Magistrate.  

  4. Under a Non-Cognizable offence/case, in order to start the investigation, it is important for the police officer to obtain the permission from the Magistrate.

How can a lawyer help you in your criminal case?

A lawyer having substantial experience in handling criminal cases can guide you through the court procedure and can help you prepare a solid defense for your case. He can prepare you for cross-examinations and guide you on how to answer prosecution’s questions. A criminal lawyer is an expert in dealing with criminal cases knows how to tackle a particular case owing to his years of experience. Having a good criminal lawyer by your side you can ensure a successful result in your case in the minimum time possible.

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What happens if a criminal charge is not dismissed?

Being charged with a crime, whether major or minor, is a serious matter. A person facing criminal charges risks severe penalties and consequences, such as jail time, having a criminal record, and loss of relationships and future job prospects, among other things. While some legal matters can be handled alone, a criminal arrest of any nature warrants the legal advice of a qualified criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome for your case. Thus, it is crucial to have a good criminal lawyer by your side when charged with a crime who can guide you with the criminal case and can help get the charges dismissed.


These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.

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User Reviews

4.8 - 20 reviews

thank you for the information

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Ayesha on Nov 23, 2019