Indian court judgments and the criminal procedure code (CrPC) often contain the term “cognizance”. I never quite understood what this word meant until I came across this article by Justice Regupathy.
Justice Regupathy is a judge of the Chennai High Court who became famous after he prohibited automatic remands by magistrates in 498A cases.
Here’s an excerpt from this article:
“While plain and dictionary meaning thereof is ‘taking note of’, ‘taking account of’, ‘to know about’, ‘to gain knowledge about’, ‘awareness about certain things’ etc. – and in Tamil “(transliteration:- “gavanikkapada vendiya vishayam”. “gavanam”), in law, the common understanding of the term ‘cognizance’ is “taking judicial notice by a court of law, possessing jurisdiction, on a cause or matter presented before it so as to decide whether there is any basis for initiating proceedings and determination of the cause or matter ‘judicially'”. Thus, legal sense of taking judicial notice by a court of law or a Magistrate is altogether different from the view and idea a layman has for it; however, a broad and general comprehension is ‘judicial notice by a court of law on a crime which, according to such court, has been committed against the complainant, to take further action if facts and circumstances so warrant'”
Here is the link to the pdf:
Here is the link to the article from the Chennai Judicial Academy: