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The Code of Criminal Procedure commonly called Criminal Procedure Code (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. It also deals with public nuisance, prevention of offences and maintenance of wife, child and parents.

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 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.

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.

The Criminal Procedure Code is applicable in the whole of India. The Parliament's power to legislate in respect of Jammu & Kashmir was curtailed by Article 370 of the Constitution of India. Though, as of 2019, the Parliament has revoked Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, thus rendering the CrPC applicable to the whole of India.


There is no definition of the term "bail" under the code though the terms "bailable" and "non-bailable" have been defined. It has however been defined by the Black's Law Lexicon as security for the appearance of the accused person on giving which he is released pending trial or investigation. The First Schedule to the Code, classifies the offences defined in the Indian Penal Code. Besides specifying whether an offence is Bailable or Non-Bailable it also specifies if it is Cognizable or Non-Cognizable, which Court has the jurisdiction to try the said offence, the minimum and maximum amount of punishment that can or shall be awarded for the said offence. The Supreme Court of India can and has from time to time made certain bailable offences, non-bailable or vice-a-versa by special directions, to curb increasing menace of certain crimes in the society. The State Government has the power to make certain offences bailable or non-bailable in their respective States.

Amendments : The Code has been amended several times.

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