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This Article is written by Shreya Tripathi of Banasthali Vidyapith, Jaipur. In this article she has discussed the process of Session Trial and Warrant Trial under the Code of Criminal Procedure and difference between both the procedures.

One of the best and fruitful things received from the British in India during their time was law and legal system of the British, especially the Concept of Criminal Justice System and legislation related to it. Code of Criminal Procedure deals with various procedure in a criminal proceeding. This article mainly focuses on Warrant and Session Trial under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Session Trial

Process of session trial: Session Court deals with criminal matter at a district level. To be more accurate these offences are of more serious nature, the session court does not have the power to take cognizance only under Section 199 of the CrPC it can take cognizance in all other cases the cognizance will be taken by Magistrate and commit the trail.

  • Section 225-  Trial to be Conducted by Public Prosecutor
  • Section 226-  the Opening case for Prosecution
  • Section 227-  Discharge
  • Section 228-  Framing of Charges
  • Section 229-  Conviction on a plea of guilty
  • Section 230-  Date of Prosecution
  • Section 231-  Evidence for Prosecution
  • Section 232-  Acquittal
  • Section 233-  Entering upon defence
  • Section 234-  Arguments
  • Section 235-  Judgement of acquittal or conviction
  • Section 236-  Previous Conviction
  • Section 237-  Procedure in the case instituted under Section 199 (2)

Initial Stage

It is very simple and easy to understand the initial stage with the help of the illustration– In a courtroom, the public prosecutor will act as one side and the accused person will be the other party in the matter. Here, the court expects that all the necessary documents need to be given to an accused person in advance so he has a clear idea why the trail is being taken place.

Public Prosecutor is appointed under Section 24 of the Act, who is acting under the direction of such prosecutor.  

When the case is brought under Section 209 of the CrPC then in those condition public prosecutor needs to present the piece of evidence so the trail can be started without any delay. All the details regarding what all charges are framed against him need to be mentioned in a court of law. After this stage, if magistrate feels that there is no case regarding the accused person then he will be discharged.

Kewal Krishan vs. Suraj Bhan, to avoid unnecessary harassment to the person without any ground as a reasonable ground needs to be given for going to appeal under Supreme Court.

In the case of Prafulla Kumar Samal vs. Union of India, four principles were introduced which should be kept in mind while deciding the case that prima facie case should be made against the accused person and test relating to it differ from case to case.

But if the commission of presumption arises in two aspects:

  1. Court of the session can exclusively deal with the case, by writing charges by the court under Section 228 (1)(b) of the Act.
  2. If the Court of the session cannot deal with the matter then some other courts have the proper jurisdiction to deal exclusively with the matter by transferring the case to the Competent court or to appropriate CJM or JM of the first class.

Further, the charges made against the accused body will be explained to him in a language which he can easily understand so that no violation takes place due to which delay can be made in the proceeding. If the plea is guilty of the offence committed by him then he may get punished.

Niranjan Singh Punjab vs. J.B. Bijja,, all the evidence and documents are evaluated to find the disclose ingredients of an alleged person during the time of framing the charges.  

Century Spinning and Manufacturing Company case, under this case it was clearly stated if “no sufficient ground for proceeding” then it should not be conducted anymore because it is the wastage of time for the court and an innocent is being humiliated without any valid ground.

Second Stage of the Trial

If the accused person pleads his guilt then he will be punished as per the nature of punishment and he will get convicted and if he did not plead then the court will fix a date for going through a further process like examination of a witness, production of any document etc. He needs to plead guilty from his own mouth, not by his pleader. Any admission made by his leader is not binding in nature.

The court needs to have all pieces of evidence which are presented in the case and during the cross-examination stage.

Prem Kumar vs. the State of Karnataka, it was held that before framing of charges, the court needs to see that documents placed before the court whether FIR or any statement given by witnesses disclosing the ingredients of the alleged offence.

Suresh Kumar vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, accused person is entitled to get copies of the statement of the complaint before the charges are framed.

Difference between Acquittal and Discharge under Trial

State of Maharashtra vs. B.K. Subba Rao and Tulsabai vs. the State of M.P, under both these cases the difference between discharge and acquittal is told. After framing of charges only two conditions are left out whether the acquittal or discharge of accused person. If after framing of charges no evidence is laid down before the court then, the only order of acquittal can be passed not of discharge. In the other case, it is explained that at an initial stage only the court need not have an elaborate inquiry of case, only relevant evidence should be presented to show that reasonable ground is present to take the case at a further stage in relation to the accused person. If no reasonable ground is shown then accused will be discharged or otherwise, he will be given next date for further proceedings.

Third Stage of the Trial  

It is the last stage where the accused person is either convicted or acquittal. The court may acquit the accused person if no evidence is laid down which indicate the involvement of the accused in committing the Act.

If no acquittal took place then, accused get the opportunity to present his case through writing or any other means he can produce evidence, witnesses to defend himself just like the way prosecution did it. An omission on the part of the Judge is the failure of justice. An accused person can apply for an application for compelling the attendance of a witness, all such application needs to be accepted by the court. He can only deny in a situation where he is sure that such application is vexatious in nature just to waste the precious time of the court. After hearing both the side, when the issue arises for giving a closing statement that Section 314 of the Act apply and the Closing statement is given by defence under Section 234 and under Section 235 by the prosecution side.

Before giving a final verdict, the previous conviction checked to see and relate the liability of the accused person in the present case. According to a previous conviction, punishment is decided by the Court of law. Lastly, the defamation of higher dignities cases are handled by the public prosecutor and compensation will be paid by the accused person to the other party for wasting their time and money.

Final judgement should be made by the judge by keeping in mind all the evidence, witnesses and argument. The process of acquittal will be done as per Section 232 and whereas provision regarding conviction is mentioned under Section 235. A judge should pass the sentence of punishment as prescribed in law.

Warrant trial

What is a Warrant  Case?

Warrant case includes offence punishable with the death penalty, imprisonment for life and imprisonment for exceeding two years.  A trial in warrant case begins either by filing an FIR in Police Station or by filing it before Magistrate.

Section 238 to 243 of CrPC so, let’s start with the study. Firstly let’s understand that warrant trial is based on 2 types of cases

  1.     On the Police Report.
  2.     Other than the Police Report.

The procedure of Trial in warrant cases by magistrates:

  1. Compliance with Section 207
  2. When accused shall be discharged
  3. Framing of charge
  4. Conviction on a plea of guilty
  5. Evidence for Prosecution
  6. Evidence for Defence Side
  7. Evidence for Prosecution
  8. When accused shall be discharged
  9. Again Evidence for Defence
  10. Acquittal or conviction
  11. Absence of Complaint
  12. Compensation for accusation without reasonable cause

Compliance with Section 207: When any warrant case is filed on the Police report, then accused is brought before the magistrate for the recommencement of trial and magistrate shall satisfy himself that he has resulted with Section 207 provisions.

When accused shall be discharged: If upon seeing the police report and the documents sent under Section 173 for making such examination. After hearing both the side and considering all relevant point, if magistrate thinks that charges framed against the accused person are clearly groundless, then he shall discharge the accused and reason should be recorded for doing this act.

Framing of Charge: After considering the examination, if the magistrate is of the opinion that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed the offence then it will be triable by competent magistrate to give accurate punishment and frame charges against the accused. Charges framed against him will be explained to him and later on, it will be seen that he pleaded guilty or not.

Conviction on a plea of guilty: If an accused person accepts the offence committed by him, then the magistrate shall record the plea and on his discretion may convict him.

Evidence for Prosecution: If the accused refuses to plead the magistrate is not convicted under Section 241 magistrate will fix a date for the examination of witnesses. The magistrate shall supply all the copies related to the statement given by witnesses during the investigation conducted by the Police officer.

On the application made by the prosecution, the magistrate may issue an order of summons to any of its witnesses to be present in the court and to produce any important document or evidence. On the fixed date, the magistrate will proceed to take all shreds of evidence which are produced in support of Prosecution. The magistrate may postpone the cross-examination of any of the witness unless and until any other witnesses are cross-examined.

Evidence for Defence: Accused is given the opportunity to enter upon his defence and produce the evidence to safeguard himself and if any written statement is given by accused in written form then it will be recorded by the magistrate. If the accused, after entering into defence requests the magistrate from compelling a process to present any witnesses for cross-examination purposes or to produce any document in relation to present matter. Then, he will grant the permission for that till the time he believed that it is not done with any vexation intention or to waste the time of the court, or defeating the end of justice.

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Case instituted otherwise on the police report

Evidence for prosecution: When a warrant case is instituted other than on the police report that the accused will be presented before the magistrate, the magistrate shall proceed with the hearing process and take all the pieces of evidence as produced in support of the prosecution.

Syed Mohammad Husain Afqar vs. Mirza Fakhrullah Beg (1932) 8 Luck, such evidence must be taken into consideration as laid down under Section 138 of the Indian Evidence Act.

Jethalal vs. Khimji, on the application made to the magistrate to issue the order of summoning to any witnesses for the purpose of presentation or to produce any document.

K.L. Bhasin vs. Sundar Singh, legislature provides an opportunity to the accused person to do a cross-examination of the witnesses produced by the prosecution side after framing of charges it cannot be substituted for the opportunity which is given when the witnesses were examined and before framing of charges.

The main object was to collect all the important evidence and see that particularly the case was prepared against the accused person or not? Witnesses of prosecution side are examined under Section 244 and this process will not start till the time evidence are not collected as in GopalKrishna vs. State of Kerala.

“As may be produced” before closing statement magistrate always ask the party whether he wants to produce more witnesses in support of his case. The magistrate is not under any obligation to order summon for the presence of witness but now it has become mandatory and responsibility for every prosecution party to file an application to order a summons to the witnesses to present themselves before the court on a given date and time Parveen Dalpatrai Desai vs. Gangavishindas Rijharam Bajaj.

Examination of witnesses: It is not necessary to give names of all the witnesses in the list and before the proceeding starts, if a situation arises where the name of some of the witnesses are not mentioned under list, then in that situation those witnesses can also be examined by the magistrate Nawal Kishor Shukla vs. State of Uttar Pradesh.

Summoning witnesses: In a case of a complaint made to the magistrate under Income-tax Act for the offence triable as a warrant case, an order of discharge is given just because the witnesses are not turned up so it becomes illegal. The Gauhati High Court held that the complainant was making extra efforts to order a summons to the witnesses, it becomes the duty of the magistrate to order a summon to all witnesses before giving dismissal order in the case P. N. Bhattacharji vs. Kamal Bhattacharji.

When the magistrate denies examining witnesses whose names are not mentioned under list and rejected the application, then Andhra Pradesh High Court set aside the order and said that complainant has the right to examine a few more witnesses and court is bound to order a summon for them Jamuna Rani vs. S. Krishna Kumar.

When accused shall be discharged: If all the evidence produced by the prosecution side within 4 years from the date of the appearance of an accused person and does not create any ground which satisfies the magistrate to bound the magistrate from not discharging the person.

At any previous stage, The magistrate can discharge the accused person at any previous stage whenever he feels so that no ground or case is against the accused person.

Procedure, where accused, is not discharged: If magistrate has collected all the evidence and after examining it all he is of the opinion that a reasonable ground is made which indicate that the accused person has committed the offence said under the case Ratilal Mithani vs. the State of Maharashtra, then he shall be punished for the same by conducting a proper trial and charges against him will be framed by magistrate. Then all the charges framed by a magistrate will be read and explained to the accused person and he shall be asked whether he pleaded guilty for the offence conducted by him or not.

If he pleads guilty then reason will be recorded by the magistrate and on convicting him on the discretion of the magistrate. If the accused person does not plead or refuses to plead then he will be required to be present on the next hearing for conducting further trial like cross-examining of witnesses presented by the prosecution side.

Mohd. Qasim vs. Gokul Tewari, if he wishes to do Cross-examination of witnesses then particular witnesses will be called and after Cross-examination and re-examination, he shall be discharged. Remaining pieces of evidence of any witnesses on behalf of prosecution side will be taken place after cross-examination and re-examination are done.

Evidence for Defence: Accused shall be given the opportunity to present his case by entering into defence and producing a piece of evidence and witnesses in his support.

Acquittal or Conviction: If on previous stage magistrate is of the opinion that no relevant ground is present to take the case further then he should have discharged the accused person otherwise. After going for the further process then only two options are left out either Acquittal or conviction. Later on, he cannot be discharged will amount to acquittal only. If the magistrate finds that the accused is guilty and did not pass the sentence according to Section 325 and 360 then he will pass the sentence after hearing the accused person.

If any previous conviction is charged under Section 211 (7) of the Act and accused deny to accept that he was previously convicted, then magistrate shall take evidence in relation to previous conviction and record it. Provided that no charges will be read out in front of an accused person and nor ask him to plead for the offence will not refer previous conviction by the prosecution nor any evidence will be cited until and unless accused has been convicted under Subsection (2).

Absence of Complainant: While the proceedings have been instituted upon complaint and if any day complainant is not present on the fixed date is given by the court and the offence is not cognizable in nature, then it is on the discretion of the magistrate to discharge the accused person from the proceeding. Such a discharge order is not considered judgement in Singh vs. Singh. The same condition will be applicable in the case where the death of Complainant is held.

Compensation for accusation without any reasonable cause: If any case is instituted on the complaint to magistrate or to Police officer or an accused person is presented before the magistrate and magistrate finds that there is no ground against accused person then he will be discharged immediately by the magistrate, the person who did the complaint will be called by summon to give explanation of why he should not pay compensation amount to the person against whom accused charges were made.

In the case of Valli Mitha,  when there is more than one accused person then the magistrate will pass an order to award compensation to one or more of them.

The Magistrate shall record or consider any such reason which complainant may show and he is satisfied that there are no reasonable grounds for making the accusation and ordered to pay a particular amount of compensation not exceeding the amount of fine and pay to an accused person.

Abdool Raheem vs. Mehrab Shah, the amount of compensation will be paid to the only accused person, not to his relatives or any other person.

If a person fails to pay the Compensation amount then he will liable to go under simple imprisonment for not exceeding 30 days. If the person is in imprisonment then Section 68 and 69 of IPC (Indian Penal Code) apply. A person who has been directed to pay compensation amount will be exempted from any Criminal and Civil liability in respect of the complaint. When any complainant or informant who has been directed under Subsection (2) by the Second class magistrate to pay an amount not exceeding one hundred rupees may go for an appeal given under Case Pereira Vs. Demello,.

Sarab Dial Vs. Bir Singh, as the compensation amount will be awarded to each accused person so the amount paid per person is one hundred rupees, if it is to be given to eight people then the total amount paid by Complainant or informant to an accused person is eight hundred rupees.

The amount of compensation will not be paid before the period of the appeal get lapsed or after the decision of the appeal is given by the court and where the case is not related to appeal then amount will be paid after the expiration of one month from the date of order. All the given provision under this Section is applicable in Summon and Warrant case too.

Conclusion

Under Session trail, we went through all the complex path which are included in conducting the trial before a Court of Session. Initially, the court decide that whether any ground is present against the accused person for conducting trail, all the evidence and documents are produced before the Court and at last by keeping in mind all the points and evidence magistrate gives the final decision which can be either Acquittal or Conviction and under Warrant case two conditions are given if the complaint is done by the police report or without police report the Informant directly file a complaint to the magistrate, in this case, the accused person will be produced before the magistrate and he will be examined in court, finds out no relevant ground then he will be discharged otherwise the further procedure will continue and the accused person will be given the opportunity to plead for the offence committed by him. Later both the side will present their case with the support of witnesses and evidence and argument, cross-examination and re-examination will be conducted and at last by hearing both sides, the magistrate will decide the quantum of punishment for the accused person.   

References

  1. https://www.lawnotes4u.in/2018/12/stage-of-criminal-trial-in-warrant-case.htmlhttp://ww
  2. .lawyersclubindia.com/articles/Trial-of-warrant-cases-7919.asp
  3. https://lawtimesjournal.in/session-trial/
  4. https://www.legalbites.in/crpc-notes-procedure-trial-sessions-court/
  5. 1981 SCC (Cri) 438
  6. (1924) 26 Bom LR 1243
  7. AIR 1979 SC 94
  8. 1993 Cr LJ 1450 (AP)
  9. 1992 Cr LJ 1554 (All)
  10. 1972 Cr LJ 367
  11. (1973) 76 Bom LR 70
  12. AIR 1993 CriLJ 2984
  13. 1993 Cr LJ 368 (MP)
  14. AIR 1979 SCR (2) 229
  15. AIR 1990 Cr LJ
  16. AIR 1994 (2) ALT Cri 155

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