MEANING OF COGNIZANCE AND POWER OF A MAGISTRATE TO TAKE COGNIZANCE

Cognizance means taking judicial notice of the commission of the act by the magistrate. The notice is taken for the purpose of further proceedings. At the time of taking cognizance, the court is not required to closely scrutinise the evidence but it has only to satisfy itself that a primer facie case is made out against the accused.
However, mere perusal of the case by the magistrate in itself is not sufficient to prove cognizance, rather it has to be evidenced by some further proceedings ordered by the magistrate. Example, if a magistrate after reading the complaint finds that it reveals the commission of offence and he decides to go further, then it can be said that he has taken the cognizance of the matter and it can be witnessed from the order of the magistrate under section 200.


Section190 (1)
Any magistrate of Class 1 may take cognizance of any offence whether he is competent to try it or not.
Magistrate 2nd class does not have per say power to take cognizance unless conferred by the Chief Judicial Magistrate. The Chief Judicial Magistrate may forward competency on judicial magistrate 2nd class only with respect to those offences with the magistrate which he is competent to inquire into and try.
The words ‘any offence’ suggest that magistrate can take cognizance not only of the offences mentioned in the complaint, police report or information but even of those offences which he, upon application of judicial mind, seem to have been committed by the accused. This section starts with words ‘subject to the provisions of this chapter’ which means if certain conditions required to be fulfilled then cognizance will not be taken unless those conditions are not bias.
As per section 460, it is specified that if a magistrate class 1 who is not empowered to take cognizance on complaint or police report, and if he takes such cognizance in good faith, then the proceedings will not be initiated.
As per section 461 (k), if the magistrate is not empowered to take cognizance on information and he takes such cognizance then proceeding will vitiate even if cognizance is taken on good faith. The word ‘may’ suggest that it is not mandatory for the magistrate to take cognizance as soon as report is filed or a complaint is made or an information is received rather he will apply his judicial mind to see whether further proceedings are required in the case or not.
Revision can be filed against the order of taking cognizance as held in the case of Himanshu v. State of MP, 2008 SC.

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