If a police officer has received a complaint regarding a cognisable offence or if they have reasonable suspicion that a cognisable offence has been committed, then he can arrest a person without a warrant.

 What circumstances authorise a police officer to make an arrest without a warrant? Can a police officer arrest a person without a warrant if there is a reasonable suspicion that he or she is involved in a crime? In the case of M.C. Abraham and Another. v. State of Maharashtra and Others AIRONLINE 2002 SC 789, The Supreme Court observed that in Section 41 of the Criminal Procedure Code, A police officer is empowered to arrest an individual without a warrant or a magistrate’s order. Section 41 of the criminal procedural code authorises the police officer to arrest a person without a warrant if the person commits a cognisable offence before the police if there is a reasonable complaint against the person or if credible information or suspicion suggests their involvement in a cognisable offence. In the case of Joginder Kumar vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors., 1994 AIR 1349, The point of law questioned in this case was whether an individual could be arrested on unjustified and unclear grounds.

The Supreme Court held that an arrest cannot be made solely because it is lawful for the police to do so. An officer making an arrest must provide justification for the arrest and demonstrate cause for the same. Except for heinous crimes (Cognisable offences), all arrests should be avoided if issuing a notice to appear before the police is feasible. To conclude, only in cases of cognisable offences the police officer can make an arrest without a warrant.


M Shanthish Kumar, 5th year B.A, LL. B(Hons.), Veltech School of Law, Chennai


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