Procedure for Criminal Trial
By Prakash Pillai
It is believed that the Court procedure in India is very long and takes lot of your time. However, it is not so. Infact the procedure of trial is very short. The manpower which is required to speed up trial is very less. There is no point in cursing the people who do justice. It is the system which we require to change. More Courts, more Judges and we will see the result soon in the form of speedy trial.
The trial involves very few steps and can be concluded very fast if everything falls in place from witness to accused in time. The normal procedure involves the following steps in the criminal trial:
1. Framing of Charge: It means explaining the charge levelled against the accused to him and the sentence/punishment prescribed under the law for the same. The accused is asked whether he pleads guilty to the charge or wants to be tried. Normally the accused claims to be tried and the further procedure are followed.
2. Recording of Evidence: This is the most important part of criminal trial. It is this stage which is very important in bringing out the judgment. A lot depends upon what is recorded in the form of evidence and the evidence recorded during this stage will form a part of trial and will be the important record for the appellant Court, even if the matter reaches the Highest Court of Land i.e Supreme Court of India.
There are mainly two sub-stages from the prosecution and defence side.
(a) Examination in chief of Complainant and Witnesses of Prosecution: The complainant/victim comes and gives testimony regarding the facts of the case and put up his/her case. He may bring many other witnesses/eye witnesses to make his case strong.
(b) Cross Examination of the same by Defence: What is recorded during the examination in chief is subject to the cross examination by the accused or his attorney.
The contradiction and improvements and other lacuna may help the accused in getting acquittal. So it’s very important stage of the trial.
3) Recording of Statement of Accused: The accused is given an opportunity at this stage to put up his case and discard the evidence. He is also entitled to say anything on oath but it is subject to cross examination by the prosecution. He can also submit list of documents and witnesses in support of his case.
4) Defence Evidence: Like prosecution, the defence is also given a complete chance to put up it’s case. The accused can examine himself and also his defence witnesses at this stage, which is again subject to cross-examination by the prosecution.
5) Arguments of Prosecution & Defence: After the evidence by the prosecution and defence is closed, the matter is kept for arguments. Both sides make arguments on important points. The prosecution tries to show that it has proved the case beyond reasonable doubt, while the defence tries to prove that the prosecution failed to bring home the guilt of the accused and also points out the lacuna/loopholes in the prosecution case. These arguments can be done orally or can be submitted in writing.
6) Judgment: This is the last step involved in the criminal trial. Once the judgment is pronounced, the Judge cannot review his own judgment except for some clerical mistakes.
The judge appreciates the evidence before it and pronounces the judgment. It may result in conviction or acquittal of the accused.