Expression Cognizance – Meaning of

In Ajit Kumar Palit v. State of West Bengal, AIR 1963 SC 765, it was held as under:

“The word ‘cognizance’ has no esoteric or mystic significance in criminal law or procedure. It merely means – become aware of and when used with reference to a court or Judge, to take notice of judicially. It was stated in Gopal Marwari v. Emperor, AIR 1943 Pat 245 by the Learned Judges of the Patna High Court in a passage quoted with approval by the Court in R.R. Chari v. State of U.P., AIR 1951 SC 207 that the word ‘cognizance’ was used in the Code to indicate the point when the Magistrate or Judge takes judicial notice of an offence and that it was a word of indefinite import and is not perhaps always used in exactly the same sense. As observed in Sourindra Mohan Chuckerbutty v. Emperor, ILR (1910) 37 Cal 412:

“taking cognizance does not involve any formal action, or indeed action of any kind; but occurs as soon as a Magistrate, as such, applies his mind to the suspected commission of an offence.”

Where the Statute prescribes the materials on which alone the judicial mind shall operate before any step in taken, obviously the statutory requirement must be fulfilled.” Prasad Shrikant Purohit v. State of Maharashtra, (2015) 7 SCC 440.


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