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What is offenses

 What is offenses

1. Introduction

Generally the term offence very often used in criminal law , which means an act or omission punishable by law . Offence  comes from the Latin word ' offendere ', which means “strike against.” Any time you break a law or a rule it is an offence against that law or rule. Though the term offence has not been defined but it is interchangable used with the term crime , which is defined by various person such as John Gilin " crime is an act that has been shown to be actually harmful to society" 

2. Offence under crpc

Code of criminal procedure defined the term offence under section 2(n) in the words of "offence” means any act or omission made punishable by any law for the time being in force and includes any act in respect of which a complaint may be made under section 20 of the Cattle-trespass Act, 1871

From the the above definition following essential can be deduce .

(i) it is an act or omission punishable by law.

(ii) the law must be in force at the time of act or omission.

(iii) and also it include any act in respect of which a complaint may be made under section 20 pf cattle trespass act .

3. Mens rea and Offence

Menasrea is an essential ingredient of criminal offence . Doubtless a statute may exclude ,the element of mens rea but it is sound rule of construction adopted in England and also in India to construe a statutory provision creating offence in conformity with common law rather then against it unless a statute expressly or by necessary implications exclude mens rea.

Unless a statute clearly of by necessary implications rule out mens rea as a constituent part of the offence , an accused can not be held guilty of an offence under criminal law unless he has a guilty mind.

4. Types of Offence

On the besis of nature and gravity of the offence , it can be devided into following types 

a. Cognizable and non-cognizable 

b. Bailable and non- bailable

c. Compaundable and non- compaundable 

(i). Congizable and non-cognizable offence

cognizable case” means a case in which, a police officer take cognizance of the case or under a law for the time being in force or arrest a person without warrant. Cognizable offence are serious in nature then non congizable offence . Example murder,rape, robbery.

non-cognizable case” means a case in which, a police officer has no authority to take cognizance of the offence or to arrest without warrant. Non congizable offences are less serious in nature . Example forgery,cheat, defamation.

(ii) . Bailable and non-bailable offence

 Bailable offences are those offence in which bail is the matter of right . According to section 2(a) of cr.p.c as an offence which is shown as bailable in the 1st schedule, or which is made bailable by any other law for the time being in force are bailable offence . 

As a general rule offence for which punishment is provided for less then three year are bailable offence .Bailable offences are less seriousnature .Example of bailable offences are cheating ,affray, etc.


Non bailable offence are those offence whereas, bail cannot be claimed as right and court has discretion to grand bail after considering facts and circumstances. According to 2(a) of CrPC, as an any other offence other than bailable are non bailable offence. Non bailable offence are serious on nature . Example murder, rape ,etc.

(iii) Compaundable and non compaundable offence

Compaundable offences are those offence in which there is a chance to resolve to case by enter into a agreement between accused and complaint or where complaint agree to withdraw the charges against the accused by inter into a compromise. Generally compaundable offences are less serious in nature . Example of compaundable offence are defamation , trespass ,etc.

Non compaundable offence are those offence in which thare can be no compromise between the accused and complaint . Generally this offence are considered as serious in nature , therefore accused can not be set free on mere comprises with complaint. Example of non compaundable offence are volunatary cause greivous hurt, wrongful confinement ,etc.