The non-cognizable offence is not much serious. It is the offence listed under the first schedule of the Indian Penal Code and is bailable.
Section 2(n) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 defines offences that any act or omission made punishable by any law for the time in force and includes any act in respect of which a complaint may be made under Section 20 of the Cattle Trespass Act, 1871. Offences are further classified into the cognizable and non-cognizable offence. Non-cognizable offence means an offence for which, a police officer without any warrant has no authority to arrest where incognizable, the police has all authority to do so. The non-cognizable offence is not much serious. It is the offence listed under the first schedule of the Indian Penal Code and is bailable. The crimes of forgery, cheating, defamation, public nuisance etc., fall in the category of non-cognizable crimes.
Sec 155 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 provides that information as to non-cognizable cases and investigation of such cases. 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 by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in the behalf and refer the informant to the Magistrate. No police officer shall investigate a non-cognizable case without the order of the Magistrate having power to try such case or commit the case for trial. Any police officer receiving such order may exercise the same powers in respect of the investigation as an officer in charge of a police station may exercise in a cognizable case. 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 is non -cognizable. In the case of non-cognizable offence, the police officer needs to obtain permission from the Magistrate to start the investigation. In such cases, the steps are followed such as filing of complaint, investigation, charge sheet, charge sheet to be filed in court, trial and final order if arrest if the case has been made out. Now those NC complaints are also lodged online.
The landmark judgement is Kunjumuhammed v. the State of Kerala; the court held that the report of a police officer following an investigation contrary to section 155(2) could be treated as a complaint under section 2(d) and section 190(1)(a). It is necessary that at the commencement of the investigation the police officer is led to believe that the case involved the commission of a cognizable offence or has a doubt about the same and investigation establishes only commission of a non-cognizable offence. Ordinarily, a private citizen intending to initiate criminal proceedings in respect of an offence has two courses open to him. He may lodge FIR before the police if the offence is cognizable one or he may complain to the competent judicial Magistrate irrespective of whether the offence is cognizable or non-cognizable. In Chinnaswamy vs KuppuSwami, it was observed that the object of the code is to ensure the freedom and safety of the subject in that it has given him the right to come to the court provided he considers that a wrong has been done to the Republic or him and be a check upon police vagaries.
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