According to Section 2(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, "cognizable offense" means an offense in which a police officer may, in accordance with the first schedule or under any other law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant. According to section 2 (n) of the code, "offense" means any act or omission made punishable by any law for the time being in force and includes any act in respect of which a complaint may be made under Section 20 of the cattle trespass Act, 1871

          Any person aware of the commission of any cognizable offense shall give information to the officer in charge of the police station having jurisdiction to investigate the offense. Section 154 of The Criminal Procedure Code speaks about information in cognizable cases whereas Section 155 of the code speaks about information to the police in respect of non-cognizable offenses.


Information in cognizable cases (Section 154) -  


               (1) Every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offense, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be 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 a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf.

              (2) A copy of the information as recorded under sub-section (1) shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.

             (3) Any person, aggrieved by a refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to record the information referred to in sub-section (1) may send the substance of such information, in writing and by post, 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 an investigation to be made by any police officer Subordinate to him, in the manner provided by this Code, and such officer shall have all the powers of an officer in charge of the police station in relation to that offence.

    "Provided that if the information is given by the woman against whom an offence under section 376A, section 376AB, section 376B, section 376C, section 376D, section 376DA, section 376DB, section 376, section 376A, section 376B, section 376C, section 376D, section 376E or section 509 of the Indian Penal Code is alleged to have been committed or attempted, then such information shall be recorded, by a woman police officer or any woman officer: Provided further that
     
          (a) in the event that the person against whom an offence under section 354, section 354A, section 354B, section 354C, section 354D, section 376, [section 376A, section 376AB, section 376B, section 3760, section 376D, section 376DA, section 376DB], section 376E or section 509 of the Indian Penal Code is alleged to have been committed or attempted, is temporarily or permanently mentally or physically disabled, then such information shall be recorded by a police officer, at the residence of the person seeking to report such offence or at a convenient place of such person's choice, in the presence of an interpreter or a special educator, as the case may be;

         (b) the recording of such information shall be videographed;

         (c) the police officer shall get the statement of the person recorded by a Judicial Magistrate under clause (a) of sub-section (5A) of section 164 as soon as possible.".


Information to the police in respect of non-cognizable offenses (Section 155) - 


   According to Section 155 of the code of criminal procedure -
   
          (1) 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 offense, 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.

          (2) No police officer shall investigate a non-cognizable case without the order of a Magistrate having the power to try such case or commit the case for trial.

          (3) Any 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.

         (4) Where a case relates to two or more offenses of which at least one is cognizable, the case shall be deemed to be a cognizable case, notwithstanding that the other offenses are non-cognizable.


See also...


1. Procedure to be followed by a police Officer after arrest

2. Offenses: Meaning, Definition and Classification of Offenses

3. Distinction/Difference between Inquiry and Investigation

4. Distinction/Difference between Arrest and Custody

5.  Classes of Criminal Courts (Section 6 of The Criminal Procedure Code)


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