Criminal Trial – Types And Stages

INTRODUCTION

In a criminal preliminary trial, a jury examines the evidence to determine if the accused committed the alleged crime or misconduct “beyond a reasonable doubt.” It is the administration’s opportunity to present its case in the hopes of obtaining a “responsible” verdict and the respondent’s conviction, as well as the defense’s opportunity to invalidate the administration’s proof and evidence and occasionally submit its own. The jury determines the case after both sides have presented their arguments.

The only good thing the British have given us is the “Law and Legal System.” Specifically, The Criminal Justice System and the Laws. The Code of Criminal Procedure governs numerous aspects of a criminal case. There is one in them is the Criminal Procedure Code’s Trial system. One such aspect that is mentioned in Criminal Procedure is the “Trial System”.

WHAT IS TRIAL?

The term “trial” is not defined in the Criminal Procedure Code, although it refers to a state of the trial that begins when the charge is framed and ends with a conviction or acquittal.

In simple terms, Trial can be defined as “a trial is a formal examination of evidence by a judge, usually in front of a jury, in order to determine guilt in a criminal or civil matter”.

PROCEDURE OF CRIMINAL TRAIL

When a warrant is issued based on a police report, the following stages of the trial apply: In warrant cases, the phases of trial range from Section 238 to Section 250 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

FIR (First Information Report): The case is starts with the filing of a FIR. A FIR is information provided to the police by a victim in connection with the commission of an offence.

Investigation: Following the recording of the FIR, the investigating official conducts an examination. The investigating official reaches to a conclusion by inspecting realities and conditions, obtaining proof, evaluating numerous persons and recording their announcements in hard copy, as well as the various advancements necessary for examination.

Charges: If the accused is not released after the court has considered the police report and other key documents, the court will lay out charges for him to face.

Evidence of Prosecution: After the charges have been laid and the accused has confessed, the court will demand the indictment to present proof to prove the accused’s guilt. Proclamations from witnesses are required by the indictment to aid their proof.

Accused’s Statement: After the prosecution presents their evidence, the accused is given an opportunity to be heard and have the facts and circumstances of the case clarified. After vowing to tell the truth, the denounced announcements are not recorded and can be used against them.

Defense Evidence: In a circumstance where the accused is not being vindicated, the accused is given the option to present his side of proof in order to defend his case. Oral and narrative proof are also available to the defence. The prosecution bears the burden of proof.

The term “judgement” refers to the court’s final decision, which includes reasons for the vindication or conviction of the accused.

TYPES OF TRIAL IN INDIAN LEGAL SYSTEM

SESSION TRIAL:- Offence that is “punishable more than seven years of life imprisonment”, or death, the trial must be held by session court after a magistrate has committed or referred the case to the court.

WARRANT TRIAL:- The Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 classifies warrant cases as those involving offences punishable by imprisonment or punishable by death or detention for more than two years. The procedure for a warrant case can begin with the filing of a FIR at the police station. In this case, the police conduct an investigation and submit a report to the Magistrate. The Magistrate then assists the proceedings as prescribed by law, and the guilty party is either brought before the Magistrate or shows up on purpose. Alternatively, the protest might be documented directly with the Magistrate in order to begin proceedings against a guilty party.

SUMMON TRIAL:- A summons case is one in which an offence is punishable by a sentence of less than two years in prison. The technique for setting up the proof is not required. In the end, if the judge determines that the matter is not a summons case after investigating it, he can turn it to a warrant case. Therefore, it is possible to convert it into a warrant case. The person charged does not have to be available right away. The charges should be communicated orally to the person who has been accused. There is no necessity to encircle the costs on a hard copy. The accused is given only one opportunity to question and cross-examine the witnesses.

SUMMARY TRIAL:- This category includes cases that, for the most part, only require a handful of hearings to resolve the matter. These types of trials are reserved for minor infractions in order to reduce the burden on the courts and to save time and money. An outline summary can be attempted in those circumstances when an offence is culpable with a detention of less than a half year. The idea here is that if the matter is being handled in a haphazard manner, an individual cannot be detained for more than a quarter of a year.

PROCEDURE FOR COURT OF SESSION

The provisions of Chapter XVIII of the Cr.P.C., which begins with Section 225 and concludes with Section 237, regulate trials before a Court of Session.

The Sessions Court must go through three stages of the trial process.

FIRST STAGE- According to Section 225, a Public Prosecutor must preside over every trial in the Court of Session. The Court of Session is not just responsible for taking cognizance of Section 199 offences; it also has the authority to take cognizance of any matter involving a serious nature offence. To be more succinct and precise, the court of session is a district court that exclusively handles the most important and dangerous cases. The accused is brought before the court to have his guilt established. The prosecutor’s first and most important task is to present evidence in court to show the accused’s guilt (Section 226)

In Banwari v. State of Uttar Pradesh, Their Lordships of the Supreme Court said unequivocally that Section 239 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides the Sessions Court no discretion to dismiss any charges for which the accused has been committed for trial. When a person is committed for trial without a charge or with a faulty or erroneous charge, he can use his authority under Section 226 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to construct a charge, add to it, or alter it in any way he sees fit.

If the judge determines that there is no sufficient justification for proceeding against the accused after reviewing the facts and the accused’s submission, he shall release the accused and explain why (Section 227).

The court shall frame a charge against the accused in writing if the court has reasonable grounds to believe that the accused has committed an offence triable by the court; however, if the offence is not exclusively triable by the court of session, the case is transferred to the “Chief Judicial Magistrate” or any “Judicial Magistrate” after the charge is framed.

The framed charges are to be read out and clearly in front of the accused in plain English, and the accused is then asked whether he pleads guilty or not to the allegations (Section 228)

SECOND STAGE OF TRIAL- The Judge will record the accused’s plea and condemn him if he is well-versed in the contrived accusations and pleads guilty to them, however this is completely at the Judge’s discretion. Under Section 229, the judge has the discretion to convict the accused, although it is desirable that the accused not be convicted right away. The right line of action would be to demand that the prosecution establish its case through the use of evidence.

If the defendant refuses to enter a plea under section 229, the judge will schedule a date for the prosecution to question witnesses, present documents, and so on (Section 230).

The Judge will question the witnesses on the scheduled date, and evidence in support of the prosecution may be presented.

THIRD STAGE OF TRIAL- After scrutinizing the accused and the Prosecution’s evidence, the Judge will acquit the accused if the Judge decides that there is no proof that the accused committed the crime (Section 232).

The defence counsel must submit evidence in favour of his client if the prosecution’s evidence clearly justifies the court’s framing of charges and rejection of the accused’s acquittal. According to Section 233, the accused can request that any process be issued for the attendance of any witness or the production of any document or object, but it must not appear to the court that it is acting against justice’s purposes.

When the issue of providing a closing statement arises after both parties have been heard, then Section 314 of the Act applies, and the Closing statement is provided by the defence under Section 234 and by the prosecution under Section 235.

The judge should make the final decision after considering all the evidence.

PROCEDURE IN WARRANT TRAIL

The provisions governing the warrant trial are found in Chapter XIX of the Criminal Procedure Code, beginning with Section 238 and continuing with Section 250.

The Magistrate’s trial of warrant proceedings follows a set of rules. The Magistrate uses one in instances based on police reports (Sections 238 to 243 Cr.P.C. and 248 to 250 Cr.P.C.) and the other in cases not based on police reports (Sections 238 to 250 Cr.P.C.) (Sections 238 to 243 Cr.P.C. and 248 to 250 Cr.P.C.), (Sections 244 to 247 of the Criminal Procedure Code, as well as sections 248 to 250 and 275 of the Criminal Procedure Code.)

POLICE CASE

FIRST STAGE- The magistrate must be satisfied that he has been provided with the essential documents, including the charge sheet, in order to comply with Section 207 (Section 238). After reading the charge sheet filed under Section 173, if the magistrate considers the charge against the accused to be without merit, he shall discharge the accused and record the grounds for his discharge (Section 239). Charges will be brought against the accused if the magistrate feels he is competent of being tried (Secton 240).

The obligation of the Magistrate at this stage of commitment was considered in the case of the State of Uttar Pradesh vs. Lakshmi Brahman. In light of the application of Section 207 Cr.P.C., the Court examined the nature of the magistrate’s responsibility and determined that the obligation put on the Magistrate by Section 207 must be carried out in a judicial way.

SECOND STAGE- Following the framing of a charge under Section 240, the Magistrate must prove the charge under Section 242 Cr.P.C, and under paragraph (3) of that Section, the Magistrate must also proceed to take all evidence provided in support of the prosecution. This clause is required, as are the provisions of Section 243, CrPC, subsections (1) and (2). Both cases initiated on the basis of a police report and cases started on the basis of a private complaint are covered under Section 243.

In the case of Vijay Raj vs State of Rajasthan, it was held that the procedure to be followed when the accused is summoned to enter his defence is the same in both cases initiated on a police report and those initiated without a police complaint.

When a plea of guilty is made under Section 241 or Section 229 of the Cr.P.C., the charge is read out to the accused, like in the case of P. Saravanan vs. State Represented by the Inspector of Police. The charge must be specific, unambiguous, and unqualified, and the accused’s admission must be unconditional.

PRIVATE COMPLAINT

FIRST STAGE- When a case is brought before a magistrate on a private complaint, the prosecution must be satisfied with all of the evidence given and can issue a summons to any of its witnesses requiring him to attend or produce any document (Section 244). The accused is dismissed if the magistrate believes it is appropriate to discharge the accused at any prior stage of the case after hearing all of the evidence under Section 244. (Section 245).

SECOND STAGE- According to Section 247, the defence attorney must provide his evidence in support of the accused. If the magistrate deems the accused not guilty of the charges levelled against him, an acquittal order will be issued.

If a case is filed on the basis of a protest to a judge or a police officer, or if a blamed individual is brought before the justice and the officer finds no basis against him, the judge will quickly release him, and the person who made the protest will be summoned to explain why he should not pay remuneration to the person against whom he made the protest.

In the case of Narpat Singh vs. Anr., attributing uncharitable words to the petitioners and initiating proceedings under Section 250 Cr.P.C against them are both severe violations of natural justice principles. As a result, the challenged action is also vulnerable on this count. It is also worth noting that the petitioners filed a complaint against the accused persons and then conducted an inquiry in response to a Court direction under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C.

PROCEDURE IN SUMMON TRAIL

FIRST STAGE- The specifics of the offence for which he is charged must be given to him in front of the magistrate, and he must be asked if he pleads guilty to the same offences (Section 251).

If the accused has been served with a summons under Section 206 and he pleads guilty without appearing before the magistrate, he must send the summons to the magistrate by mail or messenger. He will also state the fine in the summons, but if the accused does not accept his plea of guilty, the magistrate will sentence him to pay the fine specified in his summons using his discretionary powers (Section 253).

Nothing in Section 253 of the Criminal Procedure Code shall be construed to prevent a Magistrate from dismissing an accused at any stage of the proceedings if the Magistrate feels the accusation is without merit for reasons to be recorded by such Magistrate.

If no conviction has been made, then in such a case, a magistrate must hear the prosecution and consider any evidence provided in its favour, or issue summonses to any witness compelling him to appear or produce any document or other material under Section 252 or Section 203. 

SECOND STAGE- If the magistrate is satisfied that the accused is guilty of the charges framed, he may convict the accused under Section 252 or Section 255, and if the magistrate finds the accused not guilty after taking evidence under Section 254 and additional evidence, he shall record an order of acquittal of the accused.

Withdrawal of complaint- The magistrate may enable the complainant to withdraw his complaint against the accused before the final order is made if the complainant satisfies him that there are sufficient grounds for him to do so (Section 257).

The magistrate may convert a summons case containing an offence punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of more than six months into a warrant case by following the warrant case procedure and reviewing the matter in the manner provided in the code (Section 259).

PROCEDURE OF SUMMARY TRAIL

The provisions governing the Summon trial are found in Chapter XXI of the Cr.P.C, beginning with Section 260 and continuing with Section 265L.

The primary goal of a summary trial is to expedite the resolution of cases.

The procedure for a summary trial is the same as the procedure for a summons trial (Section 262).

If a fine of less than two hundred rupees has been imposed, there will be no opportunity to appeal.

If the accused does not plead guilty in a summary trial, the magistrate must record the content of the evidence, and the decision must also provide a brief discussion of the reasons for reaching a certain conclusion (Section 264)

According to Section 265 of the Code of Civil Procedure, every such record, including the particulars listed in Section 263, as well as the content of evidence and judgement, must be documented in the Court’s language.

In Shivaji Sampat Jagtap vs. Rajan Hiralal Arora, the Hon’ble Bombay High Court held that “the succeeding Magistrate, however, in a case where the procedure contemplated under section 263 and 264 of the Code, in particular, has not been followed, he need not hold a trial de novo,” and this view was upheld in J.V.Baharuni vs. State of Gujarat 2015.

CONCLUSION

It is a severe blunder in India’s fundamentally adversarial Criminal Justice System that the investigator must present charges encircled by the court and not merely the charges favoured by his client. As a result, the framework’s joints are free and must be restored. It is acceptable to argue that the examiner’s ability to determine charges should be left to him. There could be a few arguments on both sides of this argument. In the context of criminal law, the examiner is an appropriate functionary to choose whether to charge fully or partially, whether single or many offences.

By:

Akshita Singhal

Amity Law School, Noida

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