Q1.What is meant by a cognizable offence? Non-cognizable offence? Can an FIR only be registered for a criminal/ cognizable case? Is every cognizable case a criminal case?
ANS.1. A cognizable offence is a case where the Police can arrest without a warrant. All cognizable cases involve criminal offences. Murder, Robbery, Theft, Rioting, Counterfeiting etc. are some examples of cognizable offences. Non-cognizable offences are those criminal infractions, which are relatively less serious. Examples of non-cognizable offences include Public Nuisance, Causing Simple Hurt, Assault, Mischief etc. The Police cannot register criminal cases or cause arrests with regard to non-cognizable offences. In all such cases, the Police have to take permission from a magistrate for registration of a criminal case.
Q2. Is there a time frame for an FIR to be registered once the complaint is given?
ANS.2.On receipt of a complaint disclosing a cognizable offence, the Police should draw up an FIR forthwith.
Q.3. Who is the officer on duty? If the officer on duty is not present, what are the alternatives to get the paperwork done?
ANS.3.The senior most Police officer available in the Police Station at any point of time, (SHO or his subordinate above the rank of a constable) is the officer-in-charge, or the duty officer. If the SHO / Inspector is not present, a Sub-Inspector or Head Constable will be the officer-in-charge, who will receive complaint or lodge FIRs.
Q.4.What about jurisdiction? Can a crime committed in certain area only be filed that area’s station?
ANS.4.A complaint can be lodged in any Police Station. After registration of the FIR, the Police Station registering the complaint can transfer the FIR to the jurisdictional Police Station / AWPS for investigation.
Q.5.Can I have a receipt for my complaint?
ANS.5.Copies of FIRs are given free of cost. FIR copy is given immediately after registration of a case. Where a case has not been registered, you are entitled to an acknowledgement from the Police Station for your complaint. This acknowledgement will carry a CSR number.
Q.6.What is the next step after a complaint is lodged?
ANS.6.If the complaint indicates a cognizable offence, an FIR should be registered by the officer-on-duty of the Police Station and investigation taken up; if the facts do not prima facie indicate commission of a cognizable offence, a complaint should be registered in the CSR (Community Service Register) and an enquiry taken up.
Q.7.What is a charge sheet? Is there a time frame for a charge sheet to be framed?
ANS.7.When a Police officer gives a Police report under section 173 Cr.P.C. recommending prosecution, it is called a charge sheet. After questioning the accused and hearing the arguments, the magistrate frames charges on the accused for which he is tried.
Q.8.What are compoundable and Non compoundable Offences?
ANS.8.In certain offences, the parties involved can effect a compromise while the case is under trial in the court. This is called ‘compounding’, further action in trial is discontinued.Cases in which this is permissible are called compoundable offences. Examples of such offences are Hurt, Wrongful Confinement, Assault, Molestation, Cheating, Adultery etc.
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