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Todays Date
23 October 2017

HOW TO TAKE COGNIZANCE “OF ANY OFFENCE”?

“Cognizance of Any Offence” : Sections 190 and 193 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1972 are in Chapter XIV.  This Chapter contains the title “Conditions requisite for initiation of proceedings”.

Section 190 deals with cognizance of offence by Magistrates. It empowers any Magistrate of the First Class, and any Magistrate of the Second Class which are specially empowered to take cognizance “of any offence” under three circumstances mentioned therein. These three circumstances include taking of cognizance upon a Police report of such facts which may constitute an offence.

It is trite law that even when Police report is filed stating that no offence is made out, the Magistrate can ignore the conclusion arrived at by the Investigating Officer and is competent to apply its independent mind to the facts emerging from the investigation and take cognizance of the case if it thinks that the facts emerging from the investigation do lead to prima facie view that commission of an offence is made out. In such a situation, the Magistrate is not bound to follow the procedure laid down in Sections 200 and 202 of the Code for taking cognizance of the case under Section 190(1)(a) though it is open for him to act under Section 200 or Section 202 as well. (related case law: Minu Kumari & Anr. v. State of Bihar & Ors., (2006) 4 SCC 359 ).

Thus, when a complaint is received by the Magistrate under Section 190(1)(a) of the Act, the Magistrate is empowered to resort to procedure laid down in Section 200 or 202 of the Code and then take cognizance. If Police report is filed, he would take cognizance upon such a report, as provided under Section 190(1)(b) of the Code in the manner mentioned above as highlighted in the case of Minu Kumari.

Likewise, Section 193 of the Code empowers Court of Session to take cognizance of offences and states that the Court of Session shall not take cognizance of any offence as the Court of original jurisdiction unless the case has been committed to it by the Magistrate under this Code. As per this Section, the Court of Session can take cognizance only after the case has been committed to it by the Magistrate. However, once the case is committed to it by the Magistrate, the Court of Session is empowered to take cognizance acting ‘as a Court of original jurisdiction’.

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