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An offence is something that offends one’s moral or bodily sensibilities. It refers to illegal conduct or crime that is punished by law and for which police or magistrate can file a complaint. The purpose of the Criminal Procedure Code is to establish a mechanism for punishing violators of substantive criminal law.
In layman’s terms, the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) establishes the rules for conducting criminal proceedings against anybody who has committed an offence under any criminal legislation, whether the IPC or another.
The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which is stated in the Indian Penal Code, covers offences. Murder, theft, kidnapping, rape, forgery, and other crimes are examples.
There are several sorts of offences, but we’ll concentrate on two of them:
- Cognizable Offences
- Non-cognizable Offences
Cognizable Offense is covered in Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The definition of cognizable offences is laid down in Section 2(c) of the Cr.P.C. as ‘when a police officer can arrest a suspect without a warrant and begin an investigation without the court’s approval. In the event of a cognizable offence, a police officer is required to file an FIR under section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Before filing the FIR, he can also perform some type of preliminary investigation. “Cognizable case” is a situation in which a police officer may arrest without a warrant under the First Schedule or any other legislation in effect at the time. In these cases, the prisoner is apprehended and brought before the magistrate within the time limit.
There are no rules in the Code of Criminal Procedure for determining whether an offence is cognizable or not. The Code also includes Schedule I, which lists all of the offences covered by the Indian Penal Code and categorizes them as cognizable or non-cognizable.
Cognizable crimes are crimes that are usually extremely serious and terrible in character. Rape, murder, abduction, dowry death, and so forth. Due to their serious and heinous character, all cognizable offences are non-bailable. Recognizable offences are serious in nature. Because of the gravity of the offence, the maximum penalty is imposed.
PROVISIONS UNDER CR.P.C
Section 154 of Cr.P.C:
Every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally to a police station officer in charge, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and read over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in the police station log.
The informant shall be given a free copy of the information recorded under subsection (1) as soon as possible.
Any person aggrieved by a refusal by a police station officer to record the information referred to in subsection (1) may send the substance of such information to the Superintendent of Police concerned, who, if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, shall either investigate the case himself or direct any police officer subject to him to conduct an investigation following this Code, and such officer shall have all the powers of a police officer in charge of the police station in respect to that offence.
According to this provision, an officer can file an F.I.R., take cognizance, and arrest a person without getting court approval. If she or he has “reason to suspect” that someone has committed the crime and believes that arrest is required.
The officer must then get the detention validated by the competent judicial magistrate within 24 hours after the arrest. The police officer has the option of conducting a preliminary inquiry before filing the F.I.R. to double-check the facts, but he is solely responsible for the outcome. This is because if a Police Officer does not file an F.I.R. when the information is obtained and anything goes wrong because he was unsure of a major crime like murder taking place and someone dies, it is a reckless error.
In the event of a cognizable offence, the following procedure must be followed:
Step 1: Filing an FIR:
The information supplied to the police indicating a person, known or unknown, has committed an offence classified as a cognizable crime in Schedule 1 of the Cr.P.C. is referred to as an F.I.R. The informant must sign the document. The informant must get a copy of the F.I.R., and the magistrate must receive a copy of the F.I.R. for his review and record. This is considered as the prosecution case’s base or foundation. F.I.R. is believed to be the original, unadulterated, and unguided version of the storey, and it is rarely wrong.
Step 2: Submit a report to the Magistrate.
When a cognizable offence is reported, the officer-in-charge notifies the competent judicial magistrate and assigns the investigation to himself or a junior officer.
Step 3: Investigation
The inquiry into a cognizable offence begins as soon as the information is received and documented. All of the formalities of the magistrate’s order and warrants came later. The assigned police officer searches for the culprit arrests him, and investigates the facts and circumstances of the case.
Although Section 468 of the Cr.P.C. does not provide a time limit for the completion of investigations for heinous crimes, one can always file a petition at the Supreme Court for an undue delay under Article 21, the Indian Constitution’s Right to Freedom.
Step 4: Document Retrieval and Production
For a cognizable offence, the police officer is permitted to conduct a search if he feels it is necessary during the investigation. He has the authority to issue or order the production of any papers that are pertinent to the case.
Steps 5: Arrest:
Arrest refers to the imposition of physical constraint on a person as a result of an allegation leveled against him for a cognizable offence. For a person to be arrested, three factors must be present:
- Intention to arrest under authority;
- Detention in a lawful way; and
- The individual who has been arrested understands why he has been arrested and is aware of his rights.
A warrant is not required for arrests in cognizable offences. It can be carried out when an accusation is made that is so hazardous or serious that it cannot be ignored. The police must get an arrest warrant for the individual in custody within 24 hours of the arrest. The police have a full 24 hours to investigate the crime and interrogate the suspect.
Step 6: Remand
When a person is arrested for a cognizable offence and the investigation takes longer than 24 hours, the police file a formal application with the magistrate requesting that the accused be held in police custody for a longer amount of time. Otherwise, the accused must be released. The request for remand can only be granted for a maximum of 14 days in police custody.
Step 7: Statement from the witnesses
During the investigation, the people involved in the case, namely the witnesses and the accused, are interrogated and their testimonies about what happened are documented.
Step 8: Examine your health
In cases of rape and molestation, or any other crime that necessitates a medical examination, the police officer’s responsibility is to arrange for one within 24 hours of the incident being reported.
Step 9: Chargesheet
When a police officer completes an investigation into a cognizable offence, he submits a report to the magistrate in which the I.O. finds sufficient evidence to prosecute the accused.
This report contains F.I.R., police-recorded witness statements, names of parties, and short facts and information obtained by the I.O. throughout the investigation, among other things.
Step 10: Inquiry
The judge does not make a decision during the inquiry stage. He or she makes a preliminary finding and then leaves it up to the parties to decide what to do next, such as plead guilty or not. At this point, witnesses are usually compelled to appear in court, take an oath, and then testify about what they saw and said to the police throughout the investigation.
Step 11: Trial
The characteristic of a trial is that every witness who presents evidence in court will now give the same testimony under oath. There are various types of trials:
- A magistrate hears a warrant case;
- a magistrate hears a summons case.
- The trial began with the taking of cognizance based on a police report; and
- Sessions trial is.
Because cognizable offences are more serious and terrible, the trial is generally held under Warrant Case or Sessions Case.
Step 12: Judgment
The judgment comprises the grounds for determination, the conclusion on those points, and the reasons for the same, based on the accused’s and witnesses’ examinations and cross-examinations.
Step 13: Punishment
Because they are terrible and horrific in nature, the punishment time in Cognizable instances is generally more than 3 years, with the possibility of life imprisonment or the death sentence.
To conclude we can say cognizable offences are:
- Ones that can be arrested without a warrant by a police officer.
- In such situations, the accused will be brought before a court after being arrested, and the magistrate may order the police officer to conduct an investigation.
- If the magistrate determines that the case is made out, i.e. the charge sheet submitted is against the accused, the magistrate can issue an arrest warrant.
- A bail application can be filed with the appropriate magistrate while the case is pending.
- Cognizable offences are bailable as well as non-bailable