Question: Is a defective charge necessarily fatal to conviction.[UPCJ. 1992] Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Is a defective charge necessarily fatal to conviction?] Answer The charge is defined under Section 2 (b) of the Code of criminal procedure (CrPC), which says “charge” includes any head of the charge when the charge contains more heads than one.… Read More »

Question: Is a defective charge necessarily fatal to conviction.[UPCJ. 1992] Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Is a defective charge necessarily fatal to conviction?] Answer The charge is defined under Section 2 (b) of the Code of criminal procedure (CrPC), which says “charge” includes any head of the charge when the charge contains more heads than one. When someone files a formal complaint or gives information against the offender or accused, then the court or magistrate...

Question: Is a defective charge necessarily fatal to conviction.[UPCJ. 1992]

Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Is a defective charge necessarily fatal to conviction?]

Answer

The charge is defined under Section 2 (b) of the Code of criminal procedure (CrPC), which says “charge” includes any head of the charge when the charge contains more heads than one. When someone files a formal complaint or gives information against the offender or accused, then the court or magistrate recognizes them in a concrete form of accusations as specified in the acts or statutes.

As held in VC Shukla v. State through CBI, 1980 Cri LJ 690, 732 this is done only because the accused must be informed of all the charges precisely and clearly in the beginning so he/she also can prepare for defence.

It is also relevant to mention here that if the charge is not framed in accordance with the provisions of the Code, not only the accused, but the prosecution is also likely to be prejudiced because the defect in the charge may lead to an unmerited acquittal.

This is because of the reason that in certain cases, the defect in the charge may by itself vitiate the entire trial and a defective charge could be the sole reason for an acquittal. Hence, every Court shall take personal effort to see that the charge is framed as per law, applying its mind to all relevant aspects. The failure to do so will result in a gross miscarriage of justice, since a fair trial cannot be ensured without a charge being framed, in accordance with the law.

As observed in Ramesan And Ors. v. State Of Kerala, 2007 CriLJ 1637 every criminal Court has the responsibility to frame charges consistent with the legal requirements under the provisions contained in Chapter XVII of the Code. Every such Court shall pay personal attention while framing a charge. A casual, perfunctory, haphazard manner of framing of charge will result in a serious miscarriage of justice and it will deprive the accused of his valuable right to have a fair trial.

It will also affect the prosecution adversely since such defect in the charge alone could be a ground for acquittal. Unmerited acquittal founded on the mere illegality of framing a charge will even tell upon the accountability of the criminal justice delivery system and administration of justice. If the mere failure on the part of the Court in framing a proper charge were to be the reason for an acquittal, the Court alone has to bear the blame and hence every Court shall pay more serious personal attention to the framing of charges. The duty and responsibility cast upon the Court in this regard are very high.

Errors in Charge and its Effect

When any of the particulars is not mentioned or not sufficiently mentioned in the charge sheet, this causes an error in the charge. However, Section 215 states that any error in the charge shall not vitiate the trial or affect the proceeding in any manner.

In Tulsi Ram and Ors. v. State of Uttar Pradesh, [AIR 1954 SC 194], under para 12, the court was thinking about these parts of the issue and clarified that grumbling about the charge was never raised at any prior stage and the Hon’ble Judges arrived at the resolution that the charge was completely comprehended by the appellants all things considered and they never griped at the suitable stage that they were confounded or baffled by the charge.

The tragic thing is valid here. Consequently, the Court wouldn’t acknowledge any complaint identifying with the mistake in the confining of the charge.

In the case of Suresh Chandra v. State of West Bengal, (2017) 16 SCC 466 it was held that it is only when prejudice is caused to the accused in defending himself, that benefit of such defect can be given to the accused. When no prejudice is caused in the outcome of the cases because of the defects in the charges, the accused cannot defend the fact on the mere presence of defects in the charge.

The Hon’ble Court in Chaturdas Bhagwandas Patel v. State of Gujarat, (1976) 3 SCC (Cri) 351 has observed that one of the purposes of the charge is to inform or notice the accused of all the issues he is charged with. And as when there are insignificant errors or defects in the formulation of charges then technical defects are immaterial if no prejudice is caused.

Thus, it is clear that sometimes the defects in the framing of charges may lead to fatal convictions. When the insignificant technical defects do not affect or prejudice the outcome, then the convict/ accused cannot defend on the ground that there were defects in the charges. So, in a few cases, the defective charge is necessarily fatal to convictions, and sometimes its presence does not affect it.


Important Mains/Long Questions for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

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Updated On 2022-05-30T05:43:18+05:30
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