Most Important Legal Terms

Most Important Legal Terms

Anticipatory Bail

It is a pre-arrest order passed by a court that says that in the event a person is arrested, he is to be granted bail. The provisions concerning anticipatory bail are to be found in section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973.


Arrest means the apprehension of a person by the legal authority so as to cause deprivation of his liberty. CrPC contemplates two types of arrests- an arrest that is made for the execution of a warrant issued by a magistrate and an arrest that is made without any warrant but in accordance with some legal provisions that permit arrest.


Bail means to produce the release of a person from legal custody, by undertaking that he/she shall appear at the time and place designated and submit him/herself to the jurisdiction and judgment of the court.

Bailable Offences-

In bailable offenses, the accused has the right of getting bail. The court has no discretion and bail must be granted. For instance, bribery. The punishment given in such offenses are less, generally imprisonment for less than 3 years and/or fine.


It is clear and precise notice describing the nature of the accusation, allegation of facts constituting the offense, for which the accused is called upon to meet in the course of the trial.

Important Legal Terms

Also, Read; Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Sri Raj Narain & Anr.

Cognizable Offences-

A cognizable offense is an offense for which the arrest can be made without a warrant. As per the First Schedule, the minimum punishment for a cognizable offense is imprisonment of 3 years or more.

Compoundable Offences-

Compoundable offenses are those in which the complainant can enter into a compromise with the accused, and agrees to drop the charges against him/her. This compromise must be “bonafide”. For instance, assault or criminal force to women with intent to outrage her modesty and dishonest misappropriation of property.

Capital Punishment-

It is the sense of the death penalty imposed as the punishment for murder in the rarest of rare cases.


Any oral or written allegation (generally made to the magistrate) with the view to his taking action under the Code that somebody has committed an offense.

Discharge Order-

It means no prima facie evidence against the accused to suggest further inquiry for the charge, but a fresh trial due to new fact or evidence can affect the re-arrest of the accused. However, the discharge order does not establish anything towards guilt of the

Important Legal Terms

First Information Report (FIR)-

It commonly refers to the first information that is given to the police about the occurrence of any crime. It is filed under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code.


It includes proceedings under the Code for the collection of evidence and can never be judicial.


It includes every inquiry made by the Court and relates to all the proceedings held by the Court. It may be judicial or non-judicial and may include asking questions and studying the evidence.


It is the conclusion of an inquiry or investigation. It is of judicial nature and results in either conviction or acquittal.


A summon is a court order to an individual to appear in court at a specified time and place. A summon may be issued in both criminal and civil cases.

Non-bailable offenses-

Bail-in non-bailable offenses are guaranteed at the discretion of the court, depending on the circumstances of the case. For instance, murder, kidnapping, and rape. The punishment for these is severe.

Important Legal Terms

Read: Joint Liability in Criminal Law- Joint Criminal Liability

Non-compoundable Offences-

Non-compoundable offenses cannot be compounded. They can only be quashed by the court.

Non-cognizable Offences-

Non-cognizable offenses mean police officers cannot take cognizance without permission or order from the magistrate.


Probation is the suspension of a jail sentence that allows a person convicted of a crime a chance to remain in the community, instead of going to jail. It requires that you follow certain court-ordered rules and conditions under the supervision of a probation officer. Typical conditions may include performing community service, meeting with your probation officer, refraining from using illegal drugs or excessive alcohol, avoiding certain people and places, and appearing in court during requested times.


Parole is the provisional release of a prisoner who agrees to certain conditions prior to the completion of the maximum sentence period.


It means putting off till another time. It is either adjournment of the debate or adjournment of the House. Adjournment of the debate means postponement of the debate on a Motion/Resolution/Bill on which the House is then engaged. Adjournment of the House means termination of the sitting of the House till the time appointed for the next sitting. It should be differentiated from Prorogation (termination of the session), Recess (the period between prorogation of Parliament and its re-assembly), and, Dissolution (end of the present House). The session is the period of time between the first meeting of a Parliament and its prorogation or dissolution.

Important Legal Terms

Adjournment Motion-

It interrupts the normal business of the Houses and draws attention to a matter of grave public importance.

Adjournment sine die-

It terminates a sitting of the House without any definite date being fixed for the next setting. Usually, the speaker adjourns the House sine die on the last day of its session.

No-Confidence Motion-

When the member of Lok Sabha seeks the no-confidence in Council of Minister, then after passing of such motion, the Council of Minister could not continue. The notice on such motion is to be given before the commencement of the sitting of the day. The speaker reads the motion in the House. When the minimum 50 members of Lok Sabha support the motion, the speaker admits a no-confidence motion. The time for discussion on a motion requires 10 days.

Censure Motion-

A Censure Motion can be moved against the Council of Ministers or an individual Minister for failing to act or for some policy. The speaker decides whether or not the motion is in order, and no leave of the House is required for moving it. It differs from a no-confidence motion in that the latter does not specify any ground on which it is based.

Privilege Motion-

It is a motion moved by a Member of Parliament if he feels that a Minister has committed a breach of privileges of the House.

Closure Motion-

In order to bring a debate to a close, a Member may raise and move that the question be now put. The acceptance of a closure motion lies within the sole discretion of the Speaker of the House.


It is a direct vote of the qualified voters in regard to some important public question.

Important Legal Terms


It is a minimum number of members of a Legislature that must be present to make the proceedings valid. This is equal to one-tenth of the total number of members.

Question Hour-

The first hour (11 a.m.-12 a.m. noon) of every sitting in the Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha is meant for questions, which relates to matters of administration, problems of the country, etc. in this way, the matter is brought to the notice of the ministers by M.P.s. The questions, un-starred questions, and short notice questions.

Zero Hour-

The Zero Hour (12 noon- 1 p.m.) follows the Question Hour in the Houses. In it, various issues are discussed. This hour leads to the loss of time of Parliament because the subject matter is raised without prior permission.

Adult Franchise-

Franchise refers to the right or privilege of voting. The adult franchise is a voting right of an adult without distinction of gender, caste, color, or religion.

Important Legal Terms


Legislature functioning with two chambers (House)- lower and upper houses e.g., the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha or Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. Floor Crossing- Also called defection, the term is used when a member of the legislature leaves his party on whose ticket, he was elected to join the ruling party or the opposition.


The procedure by which the legislature prosecutes and judges a person, usually a high officer of State (such as the President or Chief Justice) for alleged offenses that would otherwise be beyond the reach of the normal process of law.


A means of putting a controversial issue directly to the public for the decision by popular vote. For example, the Russian Referendum of 1992 approved the new democratic Constitution.

Snap Poll-

When a sudden election to a legislature is held before the expiry of its full term, it is called a snap poll or a mid-term poll.

Important Legal Terms

-Anushka Hanotiya

(Co-Founder, The legal State)

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Important Legal Terms

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