The offences for which police has no authority to arrest without warrant
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Section 2 (1) of CrPC, 1973 defines a “non-cognizable offences” in respect whereof a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant. The said definition defines the general rule since even under CrPC same offences, though non-cognizable” have been included in Part 1 of the first Schedule to CrPC as being non-cognizable. For example, section 194, 195, 466, 467, 477 and 505 deals with non-cognizable offences which are yet non-bailable.
From Part 1 of the First Schedule to CrPC, it is clear that as a general rule all non-cognizable offences are bailable, except those indicated hereinafter. The said provisions, which are excluded from the normal rule related to grave offences which are likely to affect the safety and security of nation or lead to consequence which amount to be revoked.
One example of such a case would be the evidence of a witness on whose false evidence a person may be sent to gallows.
The definition of non-cognizable offences in section 2 (1) CrPC makes it clear that a non-cognizable offence is an offence for which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant. The expression ‘cognizable offence’ in section 2 (c) CrPC means an offence for which a police officer may, in accordance with the first schedule to CrPC or under any other law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant. In other words, on a construction of definition of the different expression used in CrPC and also in connected enactment in respect of a non-cognizable offence, a police officer, and, in the instant case an Excise Officer, will have no authority to make an arrest without obtaining a warrant for the said purpose. The same provision is contained in section 41 CrPC, 1973 which specifies when a police officer may arrest without order from a Magistrate or without warrant. (Para 4)
Om Prakash v. Union of India, (2011) 14 SCC 1; (2012) 3 SCC (cri) 1249; AIR 2012 SC 545