The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 entails three types of trials on the basis of the nature of the case. Thus, these are a) trial of summons cases, b) trial of warrant cases and c) summary trials for petty offences or misdemeanours. These trials are specifically before the court of Judicial Magistrates. A trial before the Court of Session is called session’s trial. A trial consists of several stages; from opening the case by the prosecution to closing arguments by the defence. This article shall analyze the trial of warrant cases and the several stages of such trial. The article shall also study the procedure followed by the court while the trial of warrant cases and the manner of the recording of evidence.
Summons Cases and Warrant cases are two types of cases tried by a Magistrate on the basis of the offences that have been committed by the accused. Section 2 (w) of the Code defines summons cases as those cases which are not determined to be a warrant case.
Section 2 (x) defines warrant cases where the punishment prescribed by the law for the offence tried is more than 2 years of imprisonment including incarceration for life and the death penalty. Hence, cases relating to the trial of offences for which the prescribed punishment is 2 years of imprisonment or less. This article, therefore, deals with procedure and manner of trial of offences which are punishable with an incarceration period exceeding 2 years.
Why Warrant Cases?
One essential question that needs to be known is why the offences punishable with more than 2 years are called warrant cases. In these cases, the Magistrate is empowered to issue a warrant of arrest of the alleged offender and the police are empowered to arrest the person on such warrant without allowing the person an opportunity to surrender.
On the Contrary, in summons cases, the Magistrate is obliged to serve the accused with the summons and request him to produce himself in the court before the Magistrate on the stipulated time and date. This does not connote that in warrant cases the Magistrate is bound to issue a warrant. It is merely a power that can be exercised. If the Magistrate believes that the issue of summons would be sufficient to ensure the presence of the person, he may do away with the warrant.
Kinds of Warrant Cases
There are two types of warrant cases, viz. warrant cases instituted on submission of the police report and warrant cases instituted otherwise. In a nutshell, if an offence is cognizable, a person (informant) can lodge an FIR in the police station, the police conducts the investigation and at the end when the police finds sufficient evidence against the accused person(s), it submits a report to the Magistrate and on the basis of the report, trial commences. These cases are cases instituted on the police report.
On the other hand, when an offence is non-cognizable or if the police refuse to lodge an FIR or for any other reason, FIR cannot be filed, the next best alternative is to lodge a complaint before the Magistrate. On the basis of the complaint, the Magistrate initiates the proceedings. These cases are instituted on the complaint and hence, are called cases instituted otherwise than on police report. the procedure for trial of both the warrant cases are different and distinct from each other and are explained concisely hereunder.
Trial of Warrant Cases Instituted on Police Report
At the point when the blamed shows up or is brought before Magistrate, he (the magistrate) should, at the beginning of the trial, fulfil himself that the archives alluded to in Section 173 have been outfitted to the charged. On the off chance that this has not been done the magistrate will, subject to the arrangements of section 173(5), cause them to be outfitted to the blamed. Sub-Section (4) of Section 173 necessitates that the official accountable for the police headquarters ought to have done as such before the initiation of the request or trial and the charged should, in this way, make some sensible memories to consider these reports before the trial starts.
The magistrate will at that point consider every one of these reports and make such assessment of the blamed as he might suspect important and in the wake of giving the indictment and the blamed an open door for being heard, decide, regardless of whether he should outline a charge. It isn’t presently essential that any indictment witnesses be inspected before the charge is surrounded.
In the event that the Magistrate believes the charge against the blamed to be baseless, he will release the denounced. On the off chance that the magistrate is of the sentiment that there is ground for assuming that the charged has submitted an offence which the magistrate is capable to attempt to can satisfactorily rebuff, he will outline recorded as a hard copy a charge against the blamed.
The arrangements of Chapter XIX of the Code with regards to the encircling of the charge ought to be painstakingly counselled. Sections 211 to 218 show the structure wherein an energize must be drawn and the points of interest which must be entered in that; and sections 219 to 223 show how charges might be joined, when they should be in the elective structure, and what people might be charged mutually.
Unique consideration is required in the matter of joinder of charges. It has been held by the Privy Council that misjoinder of charges against the express arrangement of law vitiates a trial.
The charge will at that point be perused and disclosed to the denounced and he will be asked whether he is liable or cases to be attempted. On the off chance that the denounced concedes, the magistrate will record the supplication and may in his caution convict him subsequently; yet it is to be recollected that a request of liable must be recorded when the blamed individual raises no resistance by any means. In the event that, for instance, he concedes material realities, yet denies blameworthy information or aim, the request can’t be viewed as one of ‘guilty’. In the event that the blamed will not argue or argues ‘not guilty’ he ought to be called upon to enter upon his safeguard after the arraignment case is shut.
On the off chance that the charged doesn’t argue as above or cases to be seared the magistrate will fix a day for the assessment of the observers for the arraignment. The magistrate may allow the interrogation of any arraignment observer to be conceded until some other observer or witnesses have been analyzed and may review any observer for further questioning.
After the charge has been surrounded the magistrates should demand everyday hearings until the arraignment proof is finished up. In this association, the guidelines with respect to a quick transfer of cases might be deliberately considered. After every one of the observers for the indictment have been analyzed and before the blamed is approached for his guard, the court must inspect the denounced and question him, for the most part, looking into the issue as required by Section 342 of the Code, to empower the charged to clarify any conditions showing up in the proof against the charged. An assessment of the denounced for that reason can likewise be made at any prior phase of the case however such assessment at the finish of the indictment proof is obligatory.
The magistrate will undoubtedly cause the generation of and hear all observers whom the charged wants to call and to consider any narrative proof depended on by him. The main special case to this standard is the place the magistrate thinks about that in naming any observers the object of the blamed is to cause vexation or delay or to overcome the parts of the bargains. On the off chance that the magistrate will not get any proof required by the denounced, he should record his purposes behind such refusal recorded as a hard copy. At the finish of the trial the magistrate must record his finding and if there should be an occurrence of conviction, pass a lawful sentence.
Trial of Warrant Cases Instituted on Complaint
In warrant cases founded in a manner other than on a police report, when the blamed shows up or is brought under the steady gaze of the Court, the magistrate should without a moment’s delay continue to hear the complainant and accept all such proof as might be delivered on the side of the indictment.
The magistrate is additionally required to find out from the complainant or something else, the names of any people prone to be familiar with the realities of the case and to have the option to give proof for the arraignment, and must call such people and take their proof. The nonappearance of the complainant, where there is one, doesn’t influence the procedures with the exception of for a situation initiated upon protest which might be legitimately aggravated, and the Court can propel his participation, if important. Along these lines, in a warrant case, it is the obligation of the magistrate to cause the creation before him of all material proof for the indictment and to hear it. In the exemption above insinuated, the magistrate has the capacity to release the denounced on the complainant making default.
In the wake of taking the proof and making such assessment of the denounced as he may suspect important, if no case is made out which, if unrebutted would warrant a conviction, the magistrate should release the charged, and record his purposes behind doing as such. Assuming, notwithstanding, at any past phase of the case the magistrate believes the charge to be unfounded, he may record his purposes behind that conclusion, and release the denounced.
In the event that an at first sight case is made out which the magistrate is capable to attempt and which he considers could be satisfactorily rebuffed by him, he should outline a charge. On the off chance that the magistrate isn’t skilful to attempt the case made out or thinks about what he can’t sufficiently rebuff the blamed whenever sentenced he should remain the procedures and move the case to the fitting court which is capable to attempt it.
The charge ought to be perused out, and disclosed to the denounced, and he ought to be approached to argue to it. On the off chance that the denounced will not argue or argues not blameworthy he ought to be required to state at the beginning of the following becoming aware of the case, or if the Magistrate for motivations to be recorded as a hard copy so thinks fit, forward with whether he wishes to cross-examine any of the observers for the indictment whose proof has been taken before the encircling of the charge. The procedure subsequent to this stage is exactly the same as explained in cases instituted on the police report.
- D. Basu, Criminal Procedure (6th ed. 2014).
- Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, Commentary on the Code of Criminal Procedure (18th ed. 2006).
- N. Chandrasekharan Pillai, R.V. Kelkar’s Criminal Procedure (6th ed. 2014).