The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
7. Cognizance of offences –
1(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974),-
(a) No court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class shall try any offence under this Act.
(b) No court shall take cognizance of an offence under this Act except upon-
(i) Its own knowledge or a police report of the facts which constitute such offence, or
(ii) A complaint by the person aggrieved by the offence or a parent or other relative of such person, or by nay recognized welfare institution or organisation.
(c) It shall be lawful for a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class to pass any sentence authorised by this Act on any person convicted of an offence under this Act.
Explanation – For the purpose of this sub section, “recognized welfare institution or organisation” means a social welfare institution or organisation recognized in this behalf by the Central or State Government.
(2) Nothing in Chapter XXXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) shall apply to any offence punishable under this Act.
2(3)Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, a statement made by the person aggrieved by the offence shall not subject such person to a prosecution under this Act.]
(i) The point of time at which the legality of cognizance is to be judged is the time when cognizance is actually taken; M.L. Sethi v. R.P. Kapur, AIR 1967 SC 528.
(ii) The expression ‘to take cognizance’ has not been defined in this Act nor in the Criminal Procedure Code. The word ‘Cognizance’ is however, used in the Code to indicate the point when the Magistrate takes judicial notice of an offence. It is a word of indefinite import and is perhaps not always used in exactly the same sense; Darshan Singh v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1971 SC 2372.
(iii) Taking cognizance is a judicial action taken with a view eventually to prosecution and preliminary to the commencement of the inquiry or trail; Food Inspector v. Laxmi Narayan, 1969 Cut LT 863.
(iv) If a Magistrate has no jurisdiction to try an offence, he is not barred from taking cognizance of the offence; Jaddu v. State, AIR 1952 All 873.
1. Subs. by Act 63 of 1984, sec. 6, for section 7 (w.e.f. 2-10-1985).
2. Ins. by Act 43 of 1986, sec. 6 (w.e.f. 19-11-1986).