After a video surfaced showing a teacher making classmates slap a Muslim student and making communal remarks in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar, the police have filed a case against the teacher but of non-congnizable offences.
The non-cognizable offences lead to a non-cognisable report (NCR) that has to acted upon by a judge. It is only after a judge's order that the police can investigate the case and make an arrest. It is not the same as a First Information Report (FIR), following which the police can start an investigation on its own.
The video from Muzaffarnagar led to widespread outrage across the nation and was slammed widely by political parties and activities. The teacher, meanwhile, defended her act and a regional strongman appeared to have struck a compromise between the accused and the student's family.
Here we explain what the non-congnisable offences are and the differences between an NCR and an FIR.
What are cognisable offences?
The cognisable and non-cognizable offences are desribed in the Code for Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973.
The first and foremost difference between the two categories of offences is that of the seriousness. The non-cognizable cases are not-so-serious cases that have less than three years of imprisonment. On the other hand, serious offences that carry more than three years of imprisonment as punishment are cognizable offences, such as rape and murder.
The second point of difference is the power of arrest. The police require a warrant to make arrests in non-cognizable offences.
Section 2 (c) of CrPC says: "'Cognizable offence' means an offence for which, and 'cognizable case' means a case in which, a police officer may, in accordance with the First Schedule or under any other law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant."
Section 2 (i) of CrPC says: "'Non-cognizable offence' means an offence for which, and 'non-cognizable case' means a case in which, a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant."
However, if a person has been booked under multiple charges and at least one of those charges is a cognizable offence, then the police can treat the case as a cognizable offence and start an investisation on its own.
"Where a case relates to two or more offences of which at least one is cognizable, the case shall be deemed to be a cognizable case, notwithstanding that the other offences are non-cognizable," says Section 155 of IPC.
NCR filed against Muzaffarnagar teacher, what is it?
A case under Sections 323 and 504 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 has been registered against the teacher Trupti Tyagi in the Muzaffarnagar case. Both are non-cognizable offences and the report filed is therefore a non-cognizable report (NCR) and not an FIR.
Section 323 addresses voluntarily causing hurt and carries a maximum sentence of a year and a fine of up to Rs 1,000 or both. Section 504 addresses intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace and carries the maximum sentence of two years or fine or both. The two are under three years of imprisonment are therefore classified as non-cognizable offences.
If an FIR was filed against Tyagi under cognisable charges, the police had the powers to investigate and make arrest if required.
While an NCR is usually filed in minor cases, FIR is filed in serious cases like rape or murder.
The copy of the NCR in Tyagi's case has appeared in media reports.
So basically a non cognizable report (NCR) has been registered u/s 323 and 506 at Mansoorpur police station in the Muzaffarnagar school case. Police can investigate NCR only after permission from court. pic.twitter.com/vEBdK54ErO— Piyush Rai (@Benarasiyaa) August 26, 2023
Comproimse in Muzaffarnagar case, other probes
Even as outrage continues over the Muzaffarnagar incident, a regional strongman appeared to have struck a compromise between the accused and victimn's family.
Farmer leader and Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Naresh Tikait met the victim's family and said that the two parties have reached a compromise and he would get the case filed in the matter expunged.
Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Naresh Tikait met the victim student's family and the accused teacher in Muzaffarnagar. What happened was wrong and should not be repeated, said Tikait. According to him, a compromise has been struck. On the FIR, he says that he will get it expunged. pic.twitter.com/GXIPlrMrVJ— Piyush Rai (@Benarasiyaa) August 26, 2023
Meanwhile, the education department and the national child rights body have announced separate inquiries into the matter.
"The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Saturday said it wrote a letter to the district administration and UP Police to file an FIR in the matter...In a letter, the NCPCR asked the District Magistrate of Muzaffarnagar to give relevant details about the school where the incident happened," reported PTI.
The education department has also formed a team to look into a matter and file a report by Monday, reported PTI, adding that a notice has also been served to the school.
The PTI reported, "Basic Shiksha Adhikari of Muzaffarnagar Shubham Shukla said that a show cause notice has been served on the school management through the secretary of the management committee Ravinder tyagi. It has been asked to furnish its response by August 28 as to why the government recognition of the school not be cancelled. A criminal case would be registered against the authorities of the school, where the incident took place, the BSA said, adding that a team has been sent there."