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
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
- 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.
- Section 2 (c) of the CrPc defines Cognizable Offence. Section 2 (l) defines
- 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.
- 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
- 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
Now let us understand the difference between Bailable and Non-Bailable Offence!
- 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.
- Both the Bailable and Non-Bailable Offence are defined under section 2(a) of
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.