Definition of offense - 


 The word offense is defined in Section 21 of the code of criminal procedure -

      According to Section 2(n) of the code of criminal procedure, "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.

     As per Section 40 Indian Penal code, 1860 " offense" denotes a thing made punishable by the Indian Penal Code (See... The offenses which are punishable with the death sentence under the Indian Penal Code 1860)

 Classification of offenses - 


There are three types of classification of offenses which are as follows -

1) Cognizable offenses and non-cognizable offenses

2)  Bailable offenses and non-bailable offenses

3) Compoundable offense and non-compoundable offenses



(1) Cognizable and non-cognizable Offences 

a) Cognizable offenses - 

        According to Section 2(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure "cognizable offense" means an offence for which, and "cognizable case" means a case 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.

b) Non-cognizable offense

             According to Section 2(1) of the said act, Non-cognizable offense means an offense for which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant. (See Also...When Police May Arrest Without Warrant )


(2) Bailable and Non-bailable offense - 



a) Bailable Offences - 

         Section 2(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that "Bailable Offence" means an offense which is shown as Bailable in the First Schedule, or which is made Bailable by any other law for the time being in force.


b) Non-Bailable Offences -

         Non-bailable offense means other than bailable offense.


(3) Compoundable Offence and Non-compoundable Offence



a) Compoundable Offence -

   The compounding of an offence denotes that the dispute between the parties has been settled or adjusted by agreement, the person against whom the offense has been committed having received some consideration or gratification not to prosecute the accused.

Section 320 of the code of criminal procedure 1973 provides that a list of offenses punishable under different sections of the Indian Penal Code which may be compounded by the person mentioned in the table.

b) Non-compoundable Offence - 

    Offenses other than those mentioned in Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, are not compoundable.



See also...


Consequences of Non-Compliance With The Provisions Relating to Arrest (Cr.P.C)

When search warrant may be issued | Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C)

Aid to the Magistrates and the Police by the Public (Section 37 to 40 Cr.P.C)

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

Legal Functions of Police | Law of Crime


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