Difference Between Cognizable Offence and Non Cognizable Offence

We are living in a world where frauds and offenses are very common. Daily we read news of some offense that happened in a place. The reason could be anything, technology, or irresponsibility.

But the main one is bad intentions or lack of morals. No one learns from birth. Therefore, they can be avoided by giving a proper upbringing to the child.

Not all offenses are the same or get the same punishment. They are mainly categorized as Cognizable Offence and Non-Cognizable Offence. Most people are not aware of this and what they mean. Hence, in this article, definitions and differences have been cleared.

Cognizable Offence vs Non Cognizable Offence

The main difference between Cognizable Offence and Non Cognizable Offence is that cognizable offense includes the crimes which are heinous and the convict can be arrest without a warrant and FIR, and even he is not granted any bail while Non Cognizable offense includes less heinous crime for which to arrest a convict a complaint and warrant is a must also he can have bailed.

Cognizable Offence vs Non Cognizable Offence

Cognizable is the type of offense that is very serious in nature for making the arrest no warrant, no permission is required, and also investigation can be started as soon as the information of the crime is learned. Section 2(c) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 defines this type of offense.

Non Cognizable Offence is the type of offense that is not serious in nature, and proper procedure is required before making any arrest that includes getting a warrant and permission from the court and is defined under 2(I) under the Criminal Procedure Code 1973.

Comparison Table Between Cognizable Offence and Non Cognizable Offence

Parameters of ComparisonCognizable OffenceNon Cognizable Offence
WarrantNot required for arrestEssential for arresting
Starting of investigationA preliminary investigation can be started without the permission of the court.No investigation can be done without the permission of the court.
Magistrate involvementPermission of magistrate is not required for filling the FIRPermission is required for filing FIR.
Defined under SectionSection 2(c) under Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.Section 2(I) under Criminal Procedure Code 1973.
Crimes exampleMurder, rape, dowry death, etc.Forgery, cheating, defamation, etc.

What is Cognizable Offence?

It is a type of offense in which a police officer can arrest the convict for investigation; he does not require a court’s permission for the purpose. It is defined under Section 2 (c) of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973. They are heinous crimes that include rapes, murder, human trafficking, etc.

The police officer can arrest the convict as soon as the offense is committed. For example: if someone has come to the police station or even police got news of rape happened, he can make the arrest of the convict without filling any complaint or the FIR and soon start the investigation.

For this, he does not even have to ask for permission from the magistrate. Under this, the convict does not get bail.

Although most people are in favor of this but sometimes, as there is no guarantee that the convict accused has actually committed the offense, therefore sometimes, an error can be made, which further results in hatred of the population towards the government and system.

Several amendments have been made to prevent this and make sure the real convicted gets the punishment as soon as possible.

What is Non Cognizable Offence?

It is a type of offense opposite to the cognizable offense or the offense that is not heinous. They are not very serious in nature. In this type of offense, a proper procedure of making a complaint and filing an FIR is required. This is defined under Section 2(I) under the Criminal Procedure Code 1973.

For example, if someone has done fraud or cheating, a complaint or FIR has to be filed against the convict, and for filing the FIR, permission from the magistrate is required. After getting the warrant, the police can start the investigation also before the arrest. Permission from the court is required.

This type of offense includes minor crimes, such as fraud, cheating, and defamation, etc. the convict can have bail under this offense.

Therefore the punishment is not very harsh under this type of offense. Although police can take some serious action in case of emergency but cannot make any arrest.

All the rules it has sometimes create disadvantages for the police as the convict can get help or rush as nothing can be done before getting a warrant or permission.

Main Differences Between Cognizable Offence and Non Cognizable Offence

  1. Under cognizable offense warrant is not required for arresting the convict; police can arrest him even without it, while in the case of a Non-cognizable offense, a warrant is a must. No one can be arrest without a warrant against him.
  2. Like warrant registration of FIR is not important of starting a preliminary investigation, even there is no need of permission of a court of the same purpose while in Non-Cognizable Investigation permission of the court is must, no investigation could be done without it.
  3. If some have done a Cognizable offense, a complaint or Fir can be filled to a magistrate, while in the case of a non-cognizable offense, only a complaint can be filled to a magistrate.
  4. Cognizable offenses are defined under the section 2(c) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, while Non-Cognizable Offense is defined under 2(10 of the criminal procedure code 1973.
  5. The permission of the magistrate is not required for filing an FIR. In fact, the officer is bound to file FIR in case of Cognizable Offense, while permission is required before filing an FIR in case of Non Cognizable Offense.
  6. The cognizable offense is a non-bailable offense. Therefore, the convict cannot be granted bail, while under non-cognizable offense, the convict can get bail as it is a bailable offense.
  7. The cognizable offense includes heinous crimes such as murder and rape, while the non-cognizable offense includes crimes such as fraud and cheating, i.e., not very serious.


Therefore, there should not be any confusion between the two terms. And they are very important to understand as the punishment of the offense depends upon whether it’s a cognizable or non-cognizable offense. Punishment may vary, but that does not mean that any one of them is acceptable.

The government is trying to be stricter about every offense committed so that the population of the country could live freely without any threat. And this is not their responsibility only to terminate the offenses.

It is the responsibility of every citizen to make sure they don’t pass down any negative morals to their children and make them understand the difference between right and wrong.


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/43953675
  2. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1989629
  3. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1989181
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