What is an Offence? Explain in Detail?

Note: Relevant law about offence is present in Section No. 4 and 345 of Cr.P.C.

(i) Introduction :-

Purpose of criminal law and criminal Justice is to free human society from offences, to save mankind from commission of offences, and to minimize commission of offences among human beings. It reveals that term “offence” is of great importance as far as criminal law and criminal justice are concerned.

(ii) Meaning :-

Offence means an act or omission, which is made punishable by any law, which is in force for time being. Even it also includes any act in respect of which a complaint can be made under section No. 20 of Cattle Trespass Act.

(iii) Explanation :-

Under Criminal Procedure Code, following points are important for explanation of offence:

  1. When does an act or omission become offence?
  2. Trial & offence
  3. Kinds of offence

1. When does an act or omission become offence?

An act or omission becomes offence if it is punishable by any law, which is in force for time being.

2. Trial & offence

An act or omission remains offence whether it is triable by court or not. It reveals that trial of some act or omission by court does not affect its status as an offence.

3. Kinds of offence

Followings are different kinds of offence:

(i) Bailable offence & non-bailable offence

(ii) Cognizable offence

(iii) Non-cognizable offence

(iv) Compoundable offence & Non-Compoundable offence

(i) Bailable offence & non-bailable offence :-

Bailable offence means that offence, which is shown as bailable in second schedule of Criminal Procedure Code or which is made bailable by any other law, which is in force for time being and non-bailable offence means any other offence.

(ii) Cognizable offence :-

Cognizable offence means that offence for which police officer can arrest without warrant in accordance with second schedule of Criminal Procedure Code or in accordance with any law, which is in force for time being.

(iii) Non-Cognizable offence :-

Non-cognizable offence means that offence for which police-officer cannot arrest without warrant.

(iv) Compoundable offence & Non-Compoundable offence :-

Those offences, which have been mentioned in Section No. 345 of Criminal Procedure Code, can be compounded, and they are called compoundable offences. Contrary to this, offences, which are other than those offences, which have been mentioned in Section No. 345 of Criminal Procedure Code, cannot be compounded and they are called non-compoundable offences.

Conclusion :-

To conclude, it can be stated that every offence consist of two elements. These elements are mens rea and actus reus. Mens rea means guilty mind while actus reus means guitly act.

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