History of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)

The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC ) is the main legislation on procedure for administration of substantive criminal law in India. It was enacted in 1973 and came into force on 1 April 1974. It provides the machinery for the investigation of crime, apprehension of suspected criminals, collection of evidence, determination of guilt or innocence of the accused person and the determination of punishment of the guilty. 

At present, the Act contains 484 Sections, 2 Schedules and 56 Forms. The Sections are divided into 37 Chapters.

Classification of Offences under the Code: Cognizable and Non-cognizable Offences

Cognizable offences are those offences for which a police officer may arrest without a court-mandated warrant in accordance with the first schedule of the code.

For non-cognizable cases the police officer may arrest only after being duly authorized by a warrant. Non-cognizable offences are, generally, relatively less serious offences than cognizable ones.

Cognizable Offences reported under section 154 Cr.P.C while Non-Cognizable Offences reported under section 155 Cr.P.C.

For Non-Cognizable Offences the Magistrate empowered to take cognizance under section 190 Cr.P.C. Under section 156(3) Cr.P.C the Magistrate is competent to direct the police to register the case, investigate the same and submit the challan/report for cancellation. (2003 P.Cr.L.J.1282)

1.It is an information which is given to police officer.
2.Information must relate to a cognizable offence.
3.It is an information of offence first in point of time.
4.The investigation starts immediately after recording the FIR.
5.The information may be given by orally or in writing (Even a relevant telephonic information is also sufficient to become FIR).
6.A copy of the FIR shall be given to the informant free of cost immediately.

Summons-Case and Warrant-Case 

Under Section 204 of the code, a Magistrate taking cognizance of an offence is to issue summons for the attendance of the accused if the case is a summons case. If the case appears to be a warrant case, he may issue a warrant or summons, as he sees fit. Section 2(w) of the Code defines summons-case as, a case relating to an Offence, and not being a warrant-case. Section 2(x) of the Code defines warrant-case as, a case relating to an Offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years.

Scope and Applicability 

The Criminal Procedure Code is applicable in the whole of India except in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Parliament's power to legislate in respect of Jammu & Kashmir is curtailed by Article 370 of the Constitution of India.

Provided that the provisions of this Code, other than those relating to Chapters VIII, X and XI thereof, shall not apply-

(a) to the State of Nagaland, (b) to the tribal areas,

However the concerned State Government may, by notification apply any or all of these provisions in these areas. Moreover, the Supreme Court of India has also ruled that even in these areas, the authorities are to be governed by the substance of these rules

Body of government that functions under this code

  • Supreme Court of India
  • High Courts
  • District and Session Judge and Additional District Judges
  • Judicial Magistrates
  • Executive Magistrates
  • Police
  • Public prosecutors
  • Defence Counsels
  • Correctional services personnel