What is offence? Meaning and definition of offence -


       Dictionary meaning of offence is a crime, the modern tendency is to refer to crimes as offences.
According to Section 40 of the Indian penal Code, "offence" denotes a thing made punishable by the Indian penal Code.

        According to Section 2 (n) of The Criminal Procedure Code 1973, "offence" 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( 1 of 1871);
Offence contains two ingredients -

(a) the act or omission made punishable by any law;

(b) the law must be in force in the territory.

Classification of offences - 


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

1) Cognizable and non cognizable offences -


       All offences are divided into two categories - cognizable offences and non cognizable offences.

A) Cognizable offence -

         According to section 2 (c) of the code of Criminal Procedure 1973, (c)"Cognizable offence" means an offence for which, and "cognizable case" means a case in which, a police officer may, in accordance with the First Schedule of the Code or under any other law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant.

B) Non cognizable offences -

      According to Section 2(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 Non-Cognizable offence means an offence for which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant.
The Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 has not given any guideline to determine whether a particular offence is cognizable or non cognizable.
However the code contains the schedule I which refers to all the offences under the Indian Penal Code and puts them into cognizable and non cognizable categories.

2) Bailable and Non-Bailable offence -


           Bail means guarantee or sum of money demanded by a law Court, paid by or for a person accused of wrongdoing or arrested on a criminal charges as security that he will appear for his trial for examination when duly required, if he is temporary released until which time he is allowed to go free.
   Section 2(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code defines  Bailable and non bailable offences.

A) Bailable offence -

         According to Section 2 a of the code of criminal procedure - "bailable offence" means an offence 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 offence -

      And "non-bailable offence" means any other offence;

Bailable offence are less serious than non bailable offences.

3) Compoundable and non Compoundable offences -


 A) Compoundable offences - 

          The compounding of an offence denotes that the dispute between the parties has been settled or adjusted by agreement, the person against whom the office has been committed having received some consideration or gratification not to prosecute the accused.
Section 320 of the code of criminal procedure provides list of offences punishable under different sections of the Indian Penal Code which may be compounded by the persons mentioned in the table.

B) Non-Compoundable offences -

     Offences other than those mentioned in Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are not compoundable. Section 320 of the Code is exhaustive of the circumstances and conditions under which composition can be effected.


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