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PROJECT REPORT

ON
Concept of Non Cognizable Offences and investigation
of Non Cognizable offences.
SUBMITTED TO:
Dr. Sangeeta Bhalla

SUBMITTED BY:
Pavni Lakhanpal
42/14, 5thsem
Section- A
B.A.LLB. (Hons.)

UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF LEGAL STUDIES, PANJAB


UNIVERSITY, CHANDIGARH.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

It is with profound gratitude and deep reverence that I have completed this project
today, as it would have not been possible for me to do so without the indispensable
guidance of my teacher, Dr. Sangeeta Bhalla who not only encouraged me to go
forward with this project report but also propagated all my ideologies and
interpretations about the same.

Im also grateful to the many authors whose books and articles I have used as a
valuable resource for my work. I hope this project meets everyones expectations.

Thank you

(Pavni Lakhanpal)
Table of cases

P.R. Venugopal Vs S.M. Krishna And Ors., ILR 2003 KAR 5019

Subodh Singh v. State 1974Cri LJ 185 (Cal)

Shyam Lal Sharma Vs King Emperor, AIR 1949 All 483

State of Orissa v. Sharat Chandra Sahu (1996)6 SCC 435


Non-cognizable Offence

Non cognizable offences are defined under section 2(L) of Criminal procedure
code, non cognizable offence means an offence for which, and non cognizable
case means case in which, a police officer has no authority to arrest without
warrant.

Generally speaking, a police officer cannot arrest without a warrant, and secondly,
such officer has neither the duty nor the power to investigate into such an offence
without the authority given by a Judicial magistrate. Exceptions apart, the non
cognizable offences are considered more in the nature of private wrongs and
therefore the collection of evidence and prosecution of the offender are left to the
initiative and efforts of private citizens. However, if a judicial magistrate considers
it desirable that a non cognizable case should be investigated into by the police, he
can order the police to do so. In that case the police officer will have all the powers
in respect of investigation (except the power to arrest without warrant ) as he
would have exercised if the case were a cognizable one.

The category of offences as per Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in which Police
can neither register the FIR nor can investigate or effect arrest without the express
permission or directions from the court are known as Non-cognizable offences.
These mostly include minor offences such as abusing each other, minor scuffles
without injuries, intimidation etc.
Difference between Cognizable offences and Non-Cognizable offences

Cognizable Offenses-

1. Section 2 (c) of The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 says, that cognizable
offenses or cognizable cases are those under which a police officer can arrest
without an arrest warrant.
2. Cognizable offenses are those offenses which are serious in nature.
Example- Murder, Rape, Dowry Death, Kidnapping, Theft, Criminal Breach
of Trust, Unnatural Offenses.
3. Section 154 of CrPc provides, that under a Cognizable offense or case, The
Police Officer has to receive the First Information Report (FIR) relating to
the cognizable offense, which can be without the Magistrates permission
and enter it in the General Diary and immediatly start the investigation.
4. If a Cognizable offense has been committed, a Police Officer can investigate
without the Magistrates permission.
5. By and large, offences punishable with imprisonment not less than three
years are said to be cognizable offences.

Non- Cognizable Offenses-

1. Section 2 (l) of CrPc says, that non-cognizable offenses or cases are those
under which a police officer cannot arrest without a warrant.
2. Non-Cognizable offenses are those which are not much serious in nature.
Example- Assault, Cheating, Forgery, Defamation.
3. Section 155 of CrPc provides that in a non-cognizable offense or case, the
police officer cannot receive or record the FIR unless he obtains prior
permission from the Magistrate.
4. Under a Non-Cognizable offense/case, in order to start the investigation, it is
important for the police officer to obtain the permission from the Magistrate.
5. Mostly , the offences punishable with imprisonment of less than three years
are said to be non cognizable offences.
What is investigation?
Section 2 (h) of the CRPC reads as under:
2.(h) investigation includes all the proceedings under this Code for the collection
of evidence conducted by a police officer or by any person (other than a
Magistrate) who is authorised by a Magistrate in this behalf;
Section 2(h) CrPC defines investigation and it includes all the proceedings under
the Code for the collection of evidence conducted by a police officer or by any
person (other than a Magistrate) who is authorised by a Magistrate in this behalf. It
ends with the formation of the opinion as to whether on the material collected,
there is a case to place the accused before a Magistrate for trial and if so, taking the
necessary steps for the same by filing of a charge-sheet under Section 173,CRPC.

Role of police as to non cognizable cases


Generally speaking, non cognizable offences are more or less considered as private
criminal wrongs. Therefore the investigation into such cases is not the
responsibility of the police unless otherwise ordered by a magistrate. The
aggrieved private individual can, however, approach a magistrate with a complaint
and the magistrate may take necessary necessary steps for the trial of the offender.

A) Information to the police as to non cognizable offence

If any person gives information to an officer in charge of a police


station of the commission of a non- cognizable offence, the officer
shall enter or cause to be entered the substance of the information in a
book prescribed for this purpose. The office shall then refer the
informant to the magistrate according to Section 155(1),Crpc which
states When information is given to an officer in charge of a police
station of the commission within the limits of such station of a non-
cognizable offence, he shall enter or cause to be entered the substance
of the information in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as
the State Government may prescribe in this behalf, and refer, the
informant to the Magistrate. The police officer has no further duty
unless he is ordered by a magistrate to investigate the case.
B) Powers of the police to investigate a non cognizable case depend on
magistrates orders

The primary rule is that no police officer shall investigate a non


cognizable case without the order of a magistrate having power to try
such case or commit the case for trial according to section 155(2),
which states, No police officer shall investigate a non-cognizable
case without the order of a Magistrate having power to try such case
or commit the case for trial. The code does not expressly give power
to a magistrate to order investigate investigation into a non cognizable
case. Such a power, however can be implied from the wording of
section 155(2). The code does not give any direction or guidance to
magistrates as to how and in what circumstances the power to order
investigation is to be exercised. Certainly the power is not to be
exercised arbitrarily or capriciously. Probably the magistrate is to
consider the totality of the circumstances and consider whether it
would not be just and proper to ask the police to investigate the non-
cognizable case.

According to Section 460(b) , If a magistrate, who is not empowered,


erroneously orders in good faith an investigation under section 155(2),
the proceeding shall not be set aside merely on the ground of his not
being so empowered.

It was held in Subodh Singh v. State1,


If a police officer investigates a non cognizable case without the
order of a magistrate, such a non-conformance to the mandatory
provisions laid down in section 155(2) may be a material one vitiating
the ultimate proceedings and may also be considered as violative of
Article 21 of the Constitution .

1
1974Cri LJ 185 (Cal)
However, whether the non compliance with Section 155(2) is
material one vitiating the proceedings depends upon the facts and
circumstances in each case. When such a breach is brought to the
notice of the court at an early stage of the trial the court will have to
consider the nature and extent of the violation and pass appropriate
orders for such re- investigation as may be called for. However,
generally speaking , if such beach is not noticed at the early stage and
the trial is concluded the defect or illegality of investigation would not
vitiate trial, unless it caused prejudice to the accused and resulted in
miscarriage of justice in terms of Section 465, which states
(1)Subject to the provisions hereinbefore contained, on finding
sentence or order passed by a Court of competent jurisdiction shall be
reversed or altered by a Court of appeal, confirmation or revision on
account of any error, omission or irregularity in the complaint,
summons, warrant, proclamation, order, judgment or other
proceedings before or during trial or in any inquiry or other
proceedings under this Code, or any error, or irregularity in any
sanction for the prosecution unless in the opinion of that Court, a
failure of justice has in fact been occasioned thereby.
(2) In determining whether any error, omission or irregularity in any
proceeding under this Code, or any error, or irregularity in any
sanction for the prosecution has occasioned a failure of justice, the
Court shall have regard to the fact whether the objection could and
should have been raised at an earlier stage in the proceedings.

In P.R. Venugopal Vs S.M. Krishna And Ors.2, it was held


In the present case, the learned VIII Additional Chief Metropolitan
Magistrate, Bangalore City, after applying his mind held that there are
no sufficient, sustainable and substantial grounds made out by the
complainant to take cognizance or to refer the matter for investigation
It is time and again the Apex Court has held that before taking
cognizance or referring the matter for investigation either under
Section 155(2) Cr.P.C., that the Magistrate should satisfy himself

2
ILR 2003 KAR 5019
regarding the allegations in the complaint as to what the complainant
is alleging and it should be within his personal knowledge.

In Shyam Lal Sharma Vs King Emperor3, it was held

No police officer shall investigate a non-cognizable case without the


order of a Magistrate of the first or second class, having power to try
such case or commit the same for trial, or of a presidency Magistrate.

C) A case consisting of both cognizable and non cognizable offences-

In a situation where a criminal case consists of both cognizable and


non cognizable offences, a question may arise as to whether the case
is to be treated as a cognizable case or non- cognizable case. To meet
such a situation Section 155(4) provides that Where a case relates to
two or more offences of which at least one is cognizable, the case
shall be deemed to be a cognizable case, notwithstanding that the
other offences are non-cognizable..
In State of Orissa v. Sharat Chandra Sahu4,it was held,
A case alleging commission of offences under Sections 494 and 498-
A, IPC could be investigated by the police, though offence under
section 494 is a non- cognizable offence, by virtue of Section 155(4).

D) Powers to investigate a non cognizable case-

Where a magistrate under Section 155(2) gives an order to a police


officer to investigate a non cognizable case, the police officer
receiving such order may exercise the same powers in respect of the
investigation( except the power to arrest without warrant) as an officer
in charge of a police station may exercise in a cognizable case ,
according to Section 155(3)

3
AIR 1949 All 483
4
(1996)6 SCC 435
Index

Page Particulars
No.

1 Non cognizable offences


2 Difference between cognizable and non
cognizable offences
3-6 Investigation of Non Cognizable
offences
7 Bibliography
Bibliography

Books

K.N. Chandrashekaran Pillai, R. V. Kelkar (2008). Criminal Procedure. Lucknow:


Eastern Book Company.

Lal, Batuk. (2008). Criminal Procedure Code. Allahabad: Central Law Agency.

Websites

www.indiankanoon.org

www.scribd.com