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Type of Offences from the Perspective of Indian Criminal Law

There are many offences coded under the Indian Penal Code or otherwise. Some of the offences are serious in nature while others are less serious in nature like for example murder, sedition, rape, robbery etc are all serious in nature. These offences will fall into the category of Cognizable Offence, Non-Bailable Offence and Non-Compoundable Offence. On the other hand example of less serious in nature offences are Adultery, Defamation, Bribery, Public Nuisance, Simple Hurt etc are often categorized into Non-Cognizable Offence, Bailable Offence and Compoundable Offence.

It will be helpful that before going into the detail of these categories we need to go through the Schedule � 1 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The CrPc Schedule � 1 elaborates the category of offences as enumerated in IPC or other codes as to its compoundable or non-compoundable or bailable or non bailable.

Now let us understand the basic differences between Cognizable and Non-Cognizable Offences!

  1. Cognizable Offences are referred to serious nature of offences like murder, sedition, Rape, Dowry death etc. Non-Cognizable Offences are less serious in nature like Simple Hurt, Assault, Criminal Defamation, etc.
  2. Section 2 (c) of the CrPc defines Cognizable Offence. Section 2 (l) defines Non-Cognizable Offence.
  3. In Cognizable Offence Police can arrest the offender without arrest warrant issued by the Judge or Magistrate. In Non-Cognizable Offence Police need arrest warrant to arrest the Offender.
  4. FIR can be lodged in case of Cognizable Offence whereas in case of Non-Cognizable Offence FIR cannot be lodged. Generally Police register the Non-Cognizable Offences complaints under their NCR (Non Cognizable Register).
  5. Under Cognizable Offence, Police can start investigation without taking permission of the Court, as if the time taken for obtaining permission for investigation may help the offender to fly away whereas under Non-Cognizable Offence, Police need to take permission to initiate investigation of the Offence.

Now let us understand the difference between Bailable and Non-Bailable Offence!

  1. Bailable Offences are less serious in nature where the Accused gets bail very easily but Non-Bailable Offences are serious in nature just like Cognizable Offences and the Accused often does not get bail easily.
  2. Both the Bailable and Non-Bailable Offence are defined under section 2(a) of the CrPc.
  3. In Bailable Offence the Accused gets bail as a matter of right whereas the Accused cannot demand bail as a matter of right because Court exercise its discretionary power on whether to grant bail or not.
  4. Section 436 of the CrPc laid the condition in respect to Bailable Offence whereas Section 437 of the CrPc guides the condition of Non-Bailable Offences.

Now let us get into the prospective of Compoundable and Non-Compoundable Offences!

  1. In Compoundable Offence the Victim generally enters into a compromise with the Accused Person whereas no compromise can be entered with the Accused Person in case of Non-Compoundable Offence as those offences are serious in nature and if the charges are dropped in lieu of compromise with the Accused, it may turn into more risk to the Society.
  2. Compoundable Offence is stated under section 320 of CrPc. This by naturally means that those offences provided other than in Section 320 of CrPc will be Non-Compoundable in nature!
  3. In few of the cases the Victim and Accused need permission from the Court to enter into compromise like theft, voluntary causing grievous hurt etc. Otherwise in few cases like criminal defamation or criminal trespass permission of Court is not required to enter into compromise. But in case of Non-Compoundable offences even the Court does not have the power to provide permission for compounding of the offences.

Nevertheless it has to be borne in mind that there is no straight cut jacket formula that every cognizable offence is non bailable as cognizable offence are often serious in nature because some cognizable offences are bailable too and some non- cognizable offences are non-bailable too. Therefore we need to always refer Schedule � 1 of the CrPc for it being codified by the legislatures.

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