Justice Regupathy Explains the Meaning of “Cognizance”

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:

Justice Regupathy Explains Cognizance

Here is the link to the article from the Chennai Judicial Academy:

Cognizance A Bird’s Eye View – Justice R.Regupathi

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9 Responses to “Justice Regupathy Explains the Meaning of “Cognizance””


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    Thank you for such a nice explanation

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  2. 2 ravi February 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    The term cognizance means :- (1) A crime (2)custody without warrant (3) Arousing judicial notice (4) Custody with warrant

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  7. 7 uttem May 12, 2015 at 9:10 am

    yes logical relevancy may not be handled while taking cognizance.only legal relevancy is the best, there should be legal notes based on reason. not the logical questions or points to decide the cognizance.

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  1. 1 Justice Regupathy Explains the Meaning of “Cognizance” « IPC 498A « My Law Journal Trackback on December 14, 2011 at 7:57 am

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Some Interesting Stats On Arrests Of Women

In 1930, the British govt arrested 17,000 women for their involvement in the Dandi Yatra (Salt March). During 1937 to 1947 (10 Years), they arrested 5,000 women involved in the freedom struggle. From 2004 to 2006, the govt of India arrested 90,000 women of all ages under 498A. On the average, 27,000 women per year are being arrested under this flawed law. These are stats from the NCRB.

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The family of the writer was tortured by the Indian Police in an attempt to extort over a $100,000 by holding them in custody for over a week. The police, in cahoots with the magistrate and the PP, did this due to the ridiculous allegations made in a 498A case by his embittered ex-wife. She filed the case years after he and his family had last seen her. Thousands of 498A cases are filed each year in India by women seeking to wreak vengeance on their husbands and in-laws. Enormous sums are extorted from intimidated families implicated in these cases by corrupt Indian police officers and elements of the Indian judiciary. The author and his family haven't bribed any public official nor have they given in to the extortion. This blog aims to raise awareness of due process in India. The content of this blog constitutes, opinions, observations, and publicly available documents. The intent is not to slander or defame anyone or any institution and is the manifestation of the author's right to freedom of expression – with all the protections this right guarantees.

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