Question: In a trial of summons case, the accused A pleads guilty to the Magistrate trying the case. However, the Magistrate does not believe the plea of guilt as true and does not convict the accused on the basis of such pleading and proceeds with the trial. Can the Magistrate do so? Give reasons and also refer to… Read More »

Question: In a trial of summons case, the accused A pleads guilty to the Magistrate trying the case. However, the Magistrate does not believe the plea of guilt as true and does not convict the accused on the basis of such pleading and proceeds with the trial. Can the Magistrate do so? Give reasons and also refer to the case law, if any, on this point. Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [In a trial of summons case, the accused A pleads guilty to the Magistrate trying the case. However,...

Question: In a trial of summons case, the accused A pleads guilty to the Magistrate trying the case. However, the Magistrate does not believe the plea of guilt as true and does not convict the accused on the basis of such pleading and proceeds with the trial. Can the Magistrate do so? Give reasons and also refer to the case law, if any, on this point.

Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [In a trial of summons case, the accused A pleads guilty to the Magistrate trying the case. However, the Magistrate does not believe the plea of guilt as true and does not convict the accused on the basis of such pleading and proceeds with the trial. Can the Magistrate do so?]

Answer

According to section 251 of CrPC

“When in summons cases the accused appears or is brought before the Magistrate, the particulars of the offence of which he is accused shall be stated to him, and he shall be asked whether he pleads guilty or has any defence to make, but it shall not be necessary to frame a formal charge.”

It is necessary that the accused should have a clear statement made to him as to the particulars of the offence with which he is charged. An accused may not be convicted even on his admission of guilt if the prosecution report does not make out an offence under a statute.

If the accused pleads guilty, the Magistrate shall record the plea as nearly as possible in the words used by the accused and may, in his discretion convict him thereon.

If the accused pleads guilty, the magistrate shall record the plea and may in his discretion convict him thereon; but it is to be remembered that a plea of guilty can only be recorded when the accused person raises no defence at all. If, for example, he admits material facts, but denies guilty knowledge or intention, the plea cannot be regarded as one of ‘guilty’. If the accused refuses to plead or pleads ‘not guilty’ he should be called upon to enter his defence after the prosecution case is closed.

Section 252 and 253 provide conviction on the plea of guilty. Section 252 provides a plea of guilty in general and section 253 provides a plea of guilty in case of the petty cases. In case the accused plead guilty if the answer is affirmative then in accordance with law court will record the plea in the exact words of the accused on the basis of which the accused can be convicted at the Court’s discretion. If not affirmative then the court needs to proceed further with Section 254. If the accused pleads guilty, and the charges against him do not constitute any offence then a mere plea will not amount to the conviction of the accused.

As the magistrate has the discretion to convict on the plea or not, if on plea the accused is convicted then the magistrate shall proceed according to section 360 otherwise hear the accused on the question of sentence and sentence him according to law. If the plea of guilty is not accepted then the magistrate shall proceed according to section 254.

Thus, it is clear that the Magistrate has the discretion to convict the accused if he pleads guilty. He is not bound to do so if he thinks it necessary to have evidence of the guilt of the accused. So, he is legally correct if he does not believe the plea of guilt of the accused is true and does not convict the accused on the basis of such pleading and wants to proceed with the trial.


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Updated On 2022-06-28T15:50:36+05:30
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