Report No. 41
Classification of Offences in The Second Schedule
47.1. Five-fold classification under the second schedule.-
The Second Schedule to the Code classifies offences under the Indian Penal Code and also offences against other laws from five stand-points. The Schedule has to be referred to for ascertaining
(i) whether an offence is cognizable or non-cognizable (column 3);
(ii) whether a summons or a warrant shall ordinarily issue in the first instance (column 4);
(iii) whether an offence is bailable or not (column 5);
(iv) whether an offence is compoundable or not (column 6); and
(v) by what Court an offence is triable (column 8).
47.2. Omission of columns 4 and 6 recommended.-
We have recommended1 in Chapter 17, while discussing section 204, that column 4 of the Second Schedule may be dispensed with by providing in section 204 itself that in all summons-cases, a summons should ordinarily issue in the first instance and in a warrant-case, a warrant. We consider that since the correct position regarding the compoundability of an offence can be readily ascertained by looking up section 345, there is no need for repeating this information in a tabular form in column 6 of the Second Schedule. The commission of these two columns will simplify the Schedule to some extent.
1. See para. 17.3 above.
47.3. Cognizability of offences under column 3.-
Column 3 of the Schedule indicates the offences for which the police may arrest without warrant and the offences for which a warrant of arrest must be obtained by them. On a detailed scrutiny of the Schedule we find the present classification to be generally sound in principle, and have few changes to propose.
47.4. Offences against State to be cognizable.-
One such change is in regard to offences against the State specified in Chapter VI of the Indian Penal Code. It is curious that, in spite of the fact that all of them are grave offences punishable with heavy sentences and, except in two cases, triable exclusively by the Court of Session, they are made non-cognizable under the Schedule. We are unable to see any real justification for this and recommend that, with these two exceptions (viz., sedition punishable under section 124A and the minor offence punishable under section 129), offences under this Chapter should be cognizable.
47.5. Offence under section 324 should be cognizable.-
It has been suggested that the offence of voluntary causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means punishable under section 324 of the Code need not be a cognizable offence since it is compoundable with the permission of the Court and the maximum punishment for it is only three years' imprisonment. The actual injury caused might not be serious, but having regard to its potentialities, it is clearly an offence for which the police should have the power to act promptly to prevent serious consequences. In our opinion, the offence is rightly made cognizable.
47.6. Fraudulent disposition of property, forgery and counterfeitinig trade and property marks to remain non-cognizable.-
We have considered a suggestion from a mercantile Association of Calcutta that the fraudulent disposals of property punishable under sections 421 and 422 of the Indian Penal Code should be made cognizable. It is said that these offences are steadily increasing and persons purchasing goods on credit are taking undue advantage of the system of sale on credit and defrauding their creditors. While there may be a case for increasing the punishment provided in the Penal Code (now two years punishment or fine or both), we do not think business morality is likely to be improved merely by making the offence cognizable.
The offences are in the nature of things difficult to investigate by the ordinary police and the result of making them cognizable may well be a spate of false or exaggerated complaints and undue harassment by the police at the instance of jealous business rivals. For similar reasons, we consider that the offences of forgery and counterfeiting trade and property marks described in sections 465 to 477A of the Code should remain non-cognizable.