top of page
  • Writer's pictureLLC

Student Assignment Feature 01 | by Zaina Asif

Question Posed : Write in brief about the the law of cognizance and complaint as if explaining it to a layman.

Author : Zaina Asif

The expression "cognizance" has not been defined in the Code. It merely means "become aware of". Cognizance is taken of an offence and not the offender. The underlying principle in law or aim of cognizance is to maintain a 'judicial check' on the police, as a judicial officer by taking cognizance examines whether or not the crimes have actually been committed. Any First class Magistrate and any Second Class Magistrate can take cognizance of any offence ( if specially empowered by Chief Judicial magistrate in this behalf) . Section 190-199 of the code defines the procedures by which various criminal courts are entitled to take cognizance of offences, and the restrictions under which they are entitled.

In (Supreme Court of India, Shri A. C. Aggarwal vs Mst. Ram Kali, Etc on 16 August, 1967 by a constitution bench of supreme court) Under s.190(1)(b), the magistrate is bound to take cognizance of any cognizable offence brought to his notice. The words "may take cognizance" in the context means "must take, cognizance". He has no discretion in the matter (if material on record shows sufficient material for taking cognizace), otherwise that section will be violative of Art. 14.

In section 191, when a Magistrate takes cognizance on information by another person , or upon his own knowledge, and proceeds with the trial without informing the accused of his right to get his case tried by another magistrate then this is an incurable irregularity and it cannot be cured by the virtue of section 465.

Section 192 deals with ‘Making over of cases to Magistrates’. Any Chief Judicial Magistrate can make over the case for inquiry or trial to any competent Magistrate subordinate to him. The Chief Judicial Magistrate can give general or specific order to any first-class magistrate to make over the case for inquiry or trial to another competent Judicial magistrate.

In (Supreme Court of India, Dharam Pal & Ors vs State Of Haryana & Anr on 18 July, 2013) under Section 193, Courts of Session are not permitted to take note of any crime (as a court of original jurisdiction) unless the case is committed by a Magistrate. If it is specifically established by this code or by any other statute, then only Courts of Session are permitted.

Sections 195-199 are exceptions to the general rule that any person having knowledge of the commission of an offence , may set the law in motion by a complaint even though he is not personally interested or affected by the offence .