According to Section 2(n) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 an “Offence” means any act or omission made punishable by any law for the time being in force and includes any act in respect of which a complaint may be made under section 20 of the Cattle-trespass Act, 1871.
Further Section 39(2) says that act committed outside India is also an offence if that act would be an offence if committed in India.
An offence is constituted as soon as it is found that the acts which constitute that offence have been committed by the person accused of the offence.
It remains an offence whether it is triable by a Court or not.
If a law prescribes punishment for that offence, the fact that the trial of that offence can only be taken up by courts.
After certain specified conditions are fulfilled does not make that offence less than any kind of offence.
See Also : M. L. Sethi v. R. P. Kapur, AIR 1967 SC 528 : 1967 (1) SCR 520
# Bailable Offence
Bailable offence as defined in Section 2(a) means an offence which is shown as bailable in the First Schedule, or which is made bailable by any other law for the time being in force.
Non-bailable offence is any offence other that the offence shown as bailable in the Fist Schedule, or which is made non-bailable by any other law for the time being in force.
When it is said that an offence is non-bailable it does not mean that a person who commits an non-bailable offence in not entitle to get bail.
Section 437 of the Cr.P.C. deals with granting of bail in a non-bailable offence.
According to Section 2 (c) “cognizable offence” means an offence for which a police officer may, arrest without warrant.
Non- cognizable offences
According to Section 2 (l) “non- cognizable offence” means an offence for which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant.
Non-conginzable offences are minor offences where the injury done to the society is comparatively small and as such the aggrieved party is expected to lodge a complaint before criminal proceedings are initiated.