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    Wednesday, 8 February 2017

    Procedure of trial before a Magistrate

    Introduction
    The trial of a criminal case means the proceeding which starts when the case is called on with the magistrate on the bench, the accused in the dock, and the representatives of the prosecution and the defense if the accused be defended, present in the court for the hearing of the case.

    Procedure for conducting trial by a Magistrate

    According to section 241 of the CrPC, A Magistrate is obliged to follow the procedure prescribed in sections 241 to 245 for trial of cases falling in his jurisdiction.

    The procedure to be observed by a magistrate for trial of cases is us under
    1) Supply of statements and other documents to the accused;
    2) Framing of charge in the presence of accused;
    3) Conviction of the accused on admission of truth of accusation;
    4) Process when the accused does not plead guilty;
    5) Evidence ; and 
    6) Acquittal or sentence

    The cases triable by magistrate
    According to section 190, all magistrates of first class or any other magistrate, whom the provincial government, on the recommendations of concerned High Court, has so authorized, may try the following cases:

    i) On receipt of complaint which constitutes an offence triable by magistrate
    ii) On receipt of report by a police officer concerning any incident which constitutes an offence triable by the magistrate;
    iii) On receipt of complaint from any person other than the police officer mentioned above;
    iv) On the bases of personal knowledge or reason to believe of concerned Magistrate.
    Section 190 authorize a magistrate to try a case on the basis of police report irrespective of the fact that the case is cognizable by police or not.

    Object of Section 190
    The object of section 190 is to full empowerment of a magistrate to try cases instituted on the basis of complaints or the police report so that he may try cases on account of verbal or written information. He should immediately take cognizance of the offence whenever its commission comes to his notice.

    Proceeding on a police report
    Under section 190, a magistrate cannot try a case which has neither been brought to his notice by a complaint or a police report. Therefore, a magistrate is authorized to try a case on the basis of a complaint or police report.

    A magistrate is not bound by a police report and he may direct the police officer to prepare and submit fresh challan even if investigation branch reported that relevant facts do not constitute an offence against the accused.

    Requisites of the written complaint

    According to sub-section 20 of section 241-a in all those cases which are instituted upon a complaint submitted by the complainant in writing, the complainant shall,

    A) State the substance of the accusation;
    B) Supply the names of his witnesses;
    C) Mention the gist of the evidence which he is going to produce before the magistrate during the trial commenced on his complaint;
    D) Within three days of the order of the court passed in this behalf, file as many copies of the complaint and other relevant documents filed with his complaint according to the number of accused.

    Exception

    When the complaint has been made by a court or a public officer who is acting in discharge of official duties assigned to him under the law,
    Following information shall not be mentioned in the complaint;
    a) Substance of the accusation;
    b) The names of relevant witnesses; and
    c) The gist of the evidence which is to be produced before the magistrate during the trial.

    Framing of charge in the presence of accused
    Under section 242, the magistrate is bound to ensure presence of the accused before he proceeds to frame charges on the basis of material available before him. Where the accused appears before him, the magistrate shall frame formal charge or charges strictly pertaining to the offence he is being tried. Then the accused shall be asked as to whether he admits that he has committed the offence he has been charged with on the basis of police report or written complaint submitted by the complainant.

    Conviction of the accused on admission of truth of accusation
    After the charge has been conveyed to the accused, if he has submitted that he has committed the offence with which he has been charge under section 243, the magistrate is bound to reduce into writing his admission as nearly as possible in the words uttered by the accused. An accused should not be convicted on his admission if he fails to submit reasonable grounds for his admission.

    Process when the accused does not plead guilty
    According to section 244 , when an accused has been formally charged, and the accused does not plead himself guilty, magistrate is bound to proceed further with the trial under this section.

    When admission of guilt has not been made
    When admission of guilt has not been made by accused, the magistrate is bound to afford hearing to the complainant . then he shall take all evidence which may be produced in support of the prosecution. The magistrate shall also hear the accused and take into consideration the evidence which he may produce in his defense.

    Acquittal
    According to section 245, magistrate after examine the evidence referred to under section 244 or any further evidence which he has required to be produced of his own motion and examine the accused, if finds the accused not guilty of offence charged with, shall record an order in writing for the acquittal of the accused

     Sentence
    in case the offence, with which the accused has been charged fall within the jurisdiction of magistrate, he if finds the accused guilty, shall pass sentence upon the accused strictly in accordance with law.

    In case, if the offence do not fall within his competence, the magistrate shall proceed further under section 439 and after recording his opinion, he shall forward the accused to magistrate of competent jurisdiction for inflicting lawful punishment upon him.


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