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Definitions under The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

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Code of criminal procedure

Definitions under The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973


Bailable Offence 

  • An accused charged with a bailable offence has the right to be released on bail under section 436 of the Cr.P.C.
  • However, the Court is empowered to refuse the bail for a bailable offence if the accused fails to comply with the conditions of the bail bond.


  • Voluntarily causing hurt. (S.323)
  • Causing miscarriage. (S.312)
  • Attempt to commit suicide. (S.309)
  • Being a member of unlawful assembly.
  • Bribery in relation to elections.

Non – Bailable Offence

  • An accused charged with a non – bailable offence has no right to be released on bail, however, his release on bail rests on the discretion of the Court hearing his bail application.
  • The Court may refuse to grant bail in a non – bailable offence if the credential of the accused/applicant are doubtful.


  • Murder (S.302)
  • Dowry Death (S.304-B)
  • Rape (S.376)
  • Kidnapping (S.363)
  • Attempt to murder. (S.307)


Cognizable offence – S.2(c)

  • A police officer may arrest the accused charged with a cognizable offence without a warrant.
  • A police officer means only such particular class of officers as bestowed with unqualified power to arrest without warrant.
  • An offence which is only punishable with fine is never a cognizable one.

Non – Cognizable Offence – S.2(l)

  • An offence for which the Police Officer has no authority to arrest without a warrant.
  • Such offences are less serious in nature. 



  • Allegation made orally or in writing; 
  • To a Magistrate; 
  • Against a known or an unknown person.
  • *A complaint does not include a police report.

Any person can file a complaint 

  • No specific authorization is required to file a complaint.
  • A complaint may be filed in the name of Union or State.
  • Mere technicalities shall not hamper the ends of justice, when otherwise the accused is found guilty.

Essentials of a Complaint

  • An oral or written allegation; 
  • That some person known or unknown has committed an offence;
  • It must be made to the Magistrate;
  • It must be made with the object that he must take an action.

Exceptions – What does not constitute as a Complaint

  • First Information Report; 
  • Charge sheet;
  • Petition u/s. 125 Cr.P.C.

Orally or in Writing

  • No form of complaint has been prescribed under the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • A complaint may be made orally or in writing.

INQUIRY – S.2(g)


  • Inquiry u/s. 2(g) means every inquiry conducted by the Magistrate or Court.
  • Inquiry does not include a trial.

Inquiry vis-à-vis Trial 

  • Inquiry stops when the trial begins.
  • Inquiry includes application of mind for determination of any issue arising in a particular case.
  • Trial would mean determination of guilt or otherwise relating to an offence.
  • The expression inquiry is thus of wide import and includes every other proceeding than trial.

Inquiry vis-à-vis Investigation

  • Inquiry and investigation are different terms.
  • Investigation is carried out by the police and Inquiry is carried out by the Magistrate or the Court.


Meaning & Scope 

  • Proceeding for collection of evidence;
  • Conducted by a Police officer or by any person authorized by the Court.
  • Investigation falls under the domain of the investigating agency; while inquiry falls under the domain of the Court or the Magistrate.
  • Judiciary cannot interfere in the investigation by the Police.

Steps involved in investigation 

The following steps are involved in investigation of an offence:

  1. Proceedings to the spot;
  2. Ascertaining all the facts and circumstances;
  3. Discovery and arrest of suspected offender;
  4. Collection of evidence;
  5. Examination of various persons;
  6. Formation of opinion, followed by a charge sheet.

Illegality in investigation 

  • An illegality in the course of investigation does not vitiate the trial.
  • An investigation officer may go beyond the code, in order to collect evidence and further assist the Court to meet the ends of justice.


Meaning & Scope 

Judicial proceedings include:

  • Inquiry 
  • Trial 
  • Judicial proceedings do not include:
  • Investigation.

Presentation of Challan 

  • When the challan is presented in the Court, it takes form of a judicial proceeding.

Taking of Evidence 

  • It is not necessary that the Judge or Magistrate concerned must be actually recording evidence in order to amount to judicial proceedings.


Summons Case – S.2(w)

  • An offence for which the punishment is less than 2 years of imprisonment is called a summon case.
  • Therefore, the determining factor for deciding the character of a case as warrant or summons case would be the measure of punishment.

Warrant Case – S.2(x)

A warrant – case would be the one for which the following punishment is prescribed:

  • Death penalty; or
  • Imprisonment for life; or
  • Imprisonment for more than 2 years.
  • The division between summons – case and warrants – case marks off ordinary cases from serious ones and determines the mode of trial.



  • A Police report means a report forwarded by a police officer to a Magistrate under S.173(2).
  • No other kind of report has been contemplated u/s. 173(2).

Contents of a Police Report 

  • The name of the parties;
  • The nature of information;
  • The name of persons who appear to be acquainted with the circumstances of the case.
  • Whether any offence appears to have been committed;
  • Whether the accused has been arrested;
  • Whether the accused has been released on bond;
  • Whether the investigation relates to an offence u/s. 376.

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