Plea bargaining – CrPC Notes

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Circumstances under which there will be no full criminal trial are:

  1. Accused Plea Bargains – Plea bargaining is under Section 265AApplication of the (Plea Bargaining) Chapter is not available for an offence whose punishment is above 7years and if the offence affects the socio-economic condition of the country. This has to come from the accused. The Magistrate has to satisfy himself that the plea bargaining is doing it on his own accord. If the person is convicted of the same offence before, then the trial must go forward.

A victim as defined under Section 2wa.

Section 265GFinality of the Judgement. The Judgment given by the Court is final and cannot be appealed except as an SLP under Article 136 or writ petition under Article 226 or 32. As per Section 265L plea bargaining under the Juvenile Justice Act is not available.

  1. Compounded –

Section 320- Compounding of offences

Compounding is allowed only under this offence.

Under subsection 1 the person aggrieved may compound without permission of the court. Under subsection 2 the person aggrieved may compound with permission of the court, the reason is the seriousness of the offence. Subsection 3 treats abetment to an offence in the same way that the original offence is treated (either under subsection 1 or 2). Subsection 4 says who can compound an offence. A person who does not have the capacity to compound himself shall be represented by a person called ‘next friend’.

If the person is under trial, the permission of the court needs to be taken to compound the offences. If the trial is in the appellate stage, they might not allow.

However, if the parties’ say that we have reached an out of court settlement, and then the court will let the person go under the sentence that it is the time which is already spent in jail. This is not compounding.

Withdrawn from Prosecution

Section 321- Withdrawal from Prosecution: The Public Prosecutor or Asst. Public Prosecutor can withdraw at any stage before the pronouncement of the judgement. The prosecutor can do it only with the permission of the Court. The Court has to satisfy itself that there is no ulterior motive involved AND that the conditions under Section 321(a) or 321(b).

This withdrawal has the effect of acquittal and is not like discharge or quashing therefore, as per Section 300 (double jeopardy), if a charge is withdrawn it cannot be tried for again.

During the proceedings:

Section 301- Appearance by Public Prosecutors

Section 304- Legal aid to accused at State expense in certain cases

Section 305 – Procedure when corporation or registered society is an accused

Section 306 and Section 307 – A pardon is being given in return for information or evidence.

Section 308- Trial of person not complying with conditions of pardon: If the person does not comply then the person may be prosecuted. However, if the person needs to be prosecuted again for false evidence, then the sanction of the court is needed. This person can now not be tried with the co-accused, it has to be separately.

Section 310- Local inspection

Section 311- Power to summon material witness, or examine person present: The court will not recalling a witness is done only in essential circumstances or when there is alteration of court or other specific circumstances. A witness can also be called in by the court. The importance of this witness

A court witness cannot be a hostile witness. Because if a witness is called as a hostile witness, then the person who introduced the witness themselves may cross- examine the witness.  This does not happen under normal circumstances.

Section 311A- Power of Magistrate to order person to give specimen signatures or handwriting: This shall be asked only of a person who is arrested.

Section 312 – Expenses of complainants and witnesses: The expenses have to be covered however this does not happen and thus it is a deterrent.

Section 313- Power to examine the accused: The purpose is not to prejudice the accused. This is to allow the accused to explain any circumstances against him. This can be answerable to the court’s proceeding. This is not for an inquisitorial proceeding. This is at the discretion of the Magistrate. This shall not be under oath, and he can give false answers. This however can be used in favour of or against him. The Court may take help of the Prosecutor and Defence Counsel to frame questions, this is at the discretion of the court. The statements in Section 313 can be used in parts and not wholly. However, a decision cannot be on the sole basis of the section.

Rautu Bodra v. State of Bihar (1999 SCC Cri. 1319)

Held: Inadequate examination may vitiate the proceedings.

Section 315- Accuse person to be competent witness: If the accused is a witness the person shall be treated as a normal witness. However, the accused has the right to refuse to be witness and this cannot be used against. The accused however, has to request to be witness in writing.

Section 316- No influence to be used to induce disclosure: Except for pardon, under 306 and 307, a person cannot be induced in any other manner to disclose any matter. For example for money etc

The term approver is applied to a person, supposed to be directly or indirectly concerned in or privy to an offence to whom a pardon is granted under Section 337 of the Code [Section 306 of new Code] with a view to securing his testimony against other persons guilty of the offence.

Section 319- Power to proceed against other persons appearing to be guilty of offence: If a person against who a new charge has been levied is brought into a case, then the court shall join the person as a co-accused. This would give rise to charges to be raised against him and the case to be started all over again.

Section 326- Conviction or commitment on evidence partly recorded by one Magistrate and partly by another: Usually the idea is that the same judge should be hearing throughout. However the problem is that the criminal cases go on for really long time. Therefore, the CrPC allows the successor may rely upon the evidence by the predecessor. However, the successor Magistrate may take the evidence again if he feels necessary. The successor might want to do this because the judges may also look into nature of the evidence and what transpired during the statements etc. This has to be done keeping in mind the time and resources available. The magistrate however has to be of the same designation. It can’t be that somebody has been promoted and the person can carry away the case with him.

There are two parts after this:

1)      Judgment – only after the certified copies come in do we apply for appeal. Additionally, the taken to apply for the certified copies is counted as part of the limitation period.

2)      Sentencing

You can find notes on other topics on CrPC here.  You can grab notes for other law subjects from here.

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