In India, criminal offences are also classified as cognizable or non-cognizable based on the seriousness of the crime and the level of discretion available to the police in taking action against the accused.
A cognizable offence is a serious offence in which the police have the authority to arrest the accused without a warrant and start the investigation without the need for the court’s permission. Examples of cognizable offences include murder, rape, kidnapping, and theft.
A non-cognizable offence, on the other hand, is a less serious offence in which the police do not have the authority to arrest the accused without a warrant, and the investigation can only be initiated with the court’s permission. Examples of non-cognizable offences include minor offences like assault, defamation, and public nuisance.
It is important to note that for non-cognizable offences, the police cannot take any action until the complainant obtains a court order or a warrant against the accused.
In contrast, for cognizable offences, the police can take immediate action against the accused based on the complaint filed by the victim or any other person with knowledge of the offence.