General Studies IIJudiciary

Suo Moto Cognizance


The bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Ravindra Bhat, was hearing SG Tushar Mehta on the issue of oxygen supply to the states and UT

Supreme says “We Don’t Want To Hear People Crying for Oxygen Cylinders”

What is Suo Moto Cognizance?

Suo motu, or Suo Moto are interchangeable terms meaning “on its own motion” 

A Suo Moto cognizance is a Latin term which means an action taken by a government agency, court or other central authority on their own apprehension. A court takes a Suo Moto Cognizance of a legal matter when it receives information about the violation of rights or breach of duty through media or a third party’s notification. In India, Article 32 of the Indian Constitution and Article 226 of the Indian Constitution lay down the provisions for filing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India in Supreme Court and High Courts respectively. This has given rise to the court’s’ power to initiate legal action on their cognizance of a matter. Suo Moto’s actions by Indian courts are a reflection of activism by the judiciary and captivated the general public with the speedy delivery of justice by the courts. Suo Moto cases in India are generally taken up by the Supreme Court. The Indian Judiciary has been undoubtedly holding the baton for democracy for the past few years. In numerous instances, different High Courts and the Supreme Court have risen to the occasion by taking cognizance of a legal issue on their own and provided swift justice. Various courts in India have initiated legal proceedings on their own based on media reports, telegrams and letters received by aggrieved people, taking a Suo Moto cognizance of the issue. Suo Moto action is when a High Court or Supreme Court on its own take control over the matter or the case.

The Indian courts have taken Suo Moto cognizance in the following instances:

  • Contempt of Court:  Contempt of court means disobedience towards the court and ignorance of rules and regulations, code of conduct and ethics followed in a court. The court generally initiates a case for Suo Moto contempt against an officer who prevents the delivery of justice or challenges the dignity of the court.
  • Reopen Old Cases:  If some new and substantial evidence is discovered after a case is closed, the courts have the power to take Suo Moto action and reopen the case to try it again.
  • Order probe for a New Case:  If any court is of the opinion that some injustice is being done to an aggrieved person or a section of people, the court can order probe at any level by any government authority, police department, the CBI, etc. The court may also take such action after receiving a letter from the affected section of people or on the basis of any news, documentary or media source.

Suo Moto Cases in India:

There have been numerous cases in India where the Indian courts have taken Suo Moto cognizance in the matters based upon a letter or a report and have passed judgments in such cases in the public interest. Suo Moto action by the courts has given hope to the general public that the wrong done to the public at large will be corrected by the courts by taking Suo Moto Cognizance. Suo Moto’s power of Supreme Court has been provided under Article 131 of the Indian Constitution. Suo Moto in India has ensured that justice should prevail in the civil as well as criminal matters. Suo Moto in the Indian Constitution has been widely recognized and Indian judiciary time and again has proved its power by taking up Suo Moto cases.

1.    Suo Moto Cognizance by Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court also took Suo Moto Cognizance and asked the Central Government to work with companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and WhatsApp to suggest a list of keywords to block explicit videos that depict rape, gang rape, and child pornography. 

2.    Suo Moto Cognizance in Murthal Rape Case 

Recently, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has taken Suo Moto Cognizance in Murthal rape case in which many senior police officers of Haryana came to Sukhdev Dhaba to escort the women to Delhi border.

  • Prashant Bhushan case:

A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court has found a famous civil rights lawyer guilty of criminal contempt by ‘scandalizing the court’.

  • Hathras Gang Rape:

The Allahabad High Court on Thursday took suo motu cognisance of the Hathras incident and the events leading up to the cremation of the victim in the Hathras alleged rape and murder case and issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh government.

  • Problems and Miseries of Migrant Labourers In COVID 19 situation
  • Re felling of trees in Aarey Forest (Maharashtra),
  • Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Ex-CJI Gogoi



Leave a Reply

Open chat
Hello Dear Aspirant,
Join our whatsapp group here to get Daily Newspapers, Magazines, Monthly, Question Banks and much more..
Just ping us your Name..
See you then..!!!