Article 4 The Criminal Courts - CrPC

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Provisions regarding the Court of Sessions according to the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973

Section-9 of the Code empowers the State Government to establish Court of Sessions and the High Court to appoint a Judge to preside over such Court and an Additional Sessions Judge and an Assistant Sessions Judge.

Section-26 of the Code empowers the Court of Session to try any offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Section-92 of the Code prescribes that if any document, parcel or thing which is wanted for the purpose of any investigation, inquiry, trial or other proceeding, is currently in the custody of a postal or telegraph authority, the District Magistrate, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Court of Session or High Court may require the postal or telegraph authority, to deliver the document, parcel or thing to such person as the Magistrate or Court directs.

Section-106 of the Code empowers the Court of Sessions to order a person convicted for assault or using criminal force or committing mischief; criminal intimidation; or offences which are likely to cause a breach of peace, may, to execute a bond, with or without sureties, for keeping the peace for such period, not exceeding three years, as it thinks fit at the time of passing sentence on such person.

Section-123 of the Code empowers the Court of Sessions to make an order reducing the amount of the security or the number of sureties or the time for which security has been required, in case of a person who has been imprisoned for failing to give security.

Section-193 of the Code empowers the Court of Sessions to take cognizance of any offence as a Court of original jurisdiction unless the case has been committed to it by a Magistrate under this Code.

Section-199 of the Code states when an offence of defamation under Chapter XXI of the Indian Penal Code is committed against the President of India, the Vice-President of India, the Governor of a State, the Administrator of a Union territory or a Minister of the Union or of a State or of a Union territory, or any other public servant employed in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State in respect of his conduct in the discharge of his public functions, the Court of Sessions may take cognizance of the same upon a complaint in writing made by the Public Prosecutor within six months from the date on which the offence is alleged to have been committed.

Section-209 of the Code states that in a case instituted on a police report or otherwise, the accused appears or is brought before the Magistrate and it appears to the Magistrate that the offence is triable exclusively by the Court of Session send to that Court the record of the case and the documents and articles, if any, which are to be produced in evidence and notify the Public Prosecutor of the commitment of the case to the Court of Session.

Section-223 of the Code empowers the Court of Sessions to two joint offenders together on an application in writing when such persons are accused of the same offence committed in the course of the same transaction, and the Court believes that such persons would not be prejudicially affected due to the joint trial thereby, and it is expedient so to do.

Section-225 of the Code empowers the Public Prosecutor to conduct the prosecution in every trial before a Court of Session.

Section-276 of the Code provides that in all trials before a Court of Session, the evidence of each witness shall, as his examination proceeds, be taken down in writing either by the presiding Judge himself or by his dictation in open Court, or under his direction and superintendence, by an officer of the Court appointed by him in this behalf.

Section-281of the Code directs the Court of Sessions to record in full the whole of such examination, including every question put to him and every answer given by him by the presiding Judge or Magistrate himself or where he is unable to do so owing to a physical or other incapacity, under his direction and superintendence by an officer of the Court appointed by him in this behalf.

Section-304 of the Code empowers the Court of Sessions to make rules regarding assignment of a pleader for the defense of the accused at the expense of the State, when the accused lacks means to be represented by a pleader.

Section-306 of the Code empowers the Chief Judicial Magistrate or Metropolitan Magistrate to tender a pardon to person who has been directly or indirectly concerned in or privy to an offence on condition of his making a full and true disclosure of the whole of the circumstances within his knowledge relative to the offence and to every other person concerned, whether as principal or abettor, in the commission thereof, in case of offences triable exclusively by the Court of Session.

Section-323 of the Code prescribes that in case of any inquiry into an offence or a trial before a Magistrate, it appears to him at any stage of the proceedings before signing the judgment that the case is one which ought to be tried by the Court of Session, he shall commit it to that Court.

Section-324 of the Code states that where a person, having been convicted of an offence punishable under Chapter XII or Chapter XVII of the Indian Penal Code, with imprisonment for a term of three years or upwards, is again accused of any offence punishable under either of those Chapters with imprisonment for a term of three years or upwards, and the Magistrate before whom the case is pending is satisfied that there is ground for presuming that such person has committed the offence, he any other person accused jointly with him in the same inquiry or trial shall be sent for trial to the Chief Judicial Magistrate or committed to the Court of Session, unless the Magistrate is competent to try the case and is of opinion that he can himself pass an adequate sentence if the accused is convicted.

Section-329 of the Code prescribes that the Court of Session may refer an accused to a psychiatrist in case it appears before them that the accused is of unsound mind.

Section-333of the Act provides that in case an accused appears to be of sound mind by the Magistrate at the time of inquiry or trial, and the Magistrate is satisfied from the evidence given before him that there is reason to believe that the accused committed an act, which, if he had been of sound mind, and is incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that it was wrong or contrary to law due to the unsoundness of mind, commit him for trial before the Court of Session.

Section-344 of the Code empowers a Court of Session to take cognizance of the offence of a witness appearing in such proceeding, if he had knowingly or willfully given false evidence or had fabricated false evidence with the intention that such evidence should be used in such proceeding, try such offender summarily and sentence him to imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or to fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.

Section-351 of the Code prescribes that the appeal from Court of Small Causes under the Section 344, 345, 349 and 350, or a conviction by Registrar or Sub-Registrar deemed to be a Civil Court by virtue of a direction issued under section 347 would lie on a Court of Session.

Section-357 of the Code empowers the Court of Session to make an order to pay compensation to the victim out of the fine imposed on the accused by such Court. The Court of Sessions may also revise such order on appeal, but the Court cannot impose a higher fine.

Section-365 of the Code directs the Court of Session to forward a copy of the findings and judgement of the trial to the District Magistrate under whose local jurisdiction such trial was held.

Section-366 of the Code provides that the Court of Session may sentence a convict to death, the execution of which would be subject to confirmation by the High Court.

Section-367 of the Code states that the Court of Session may be directed by the High Court to take additional evidence or further inquiry pertaining to a particular case.

Section-371 of the Code prescribes the procedure to be obtained by the Court of Sessions to obtain confirmation from the High Court in case of confirmation of sentences of death awarded by them.

Section-373 of the Code allows the Court of Session to entertain appeals from persons aggrieved for order requiring security or refusal to accept or rejecting surety for keeping peace or good behavior.

Section-374 of the Code allows the Court of Session to entertain appeals convicted on a trial held by a Metropolitan Magistrate or Assistant Sessions Judge or Magistrate of the first class, or of the second class, sentenced under section 325, or in respect of whom an order has been made or a sentence has been passed under section 360 by any Magistrate.

Section-376 restricts the power of appeal of any person aggrieved by an order of the Court of Sessions or a Metropolitan Magistrate, where only a sentence of imprisonment for aterm not exceeding three months or of fine not exceeding two hundred rupees, or of both such imprisonment and fine has been passed.

Section-377 of the Code empowers the State Government to direct the Public Prosecutor to present an appeal to the Court of Session, in case it is aggrieved by a sentence passed by the Magistrate, on the grounds of inadequacy. The Court of Session is restricted from revising such sentence to the effect of enhancement.

Section-378 of the Code provides that the District Magistrate may direct the Public Prosecutor to present an appeal to the Court of Session from an order of acquittal passed by a Magistrate in respect of a cognizable and non-bailable offence.

Section-381 of the Code prescribes that an appeal to the Court of Session is to be heard by the Sessions Judge or by an Additional Sessions Judge. In case of appeal against the conviction of a trial held by a Magistrate of the second class, such appeals may be heard and disposed of by an Assistant Sessions Judge or a Chief Judicial Magistrate.

Section-384 of the Code states that in case an appeal is dismissed by an Appellate Court such as the Court of Session or the Chief Judicial Magistrate, the reasons for such dismissal must be recorded in writing.

Section-391 of the Code states that in case the Court of Session is of the opinion that additional evidence is required, the Magistrate is directed to gather such evidence, or it is gathered by itself. In case the additional evidence is taken by the Court of Session or the Magistrate, it or he shall certify such evidence to the Appellate Court, based on which such Court shall proceed to dispose of the appeal.

Section-395 of the Code, which prescribes that High Court be referred to in a case involving questions involving the validity of an Act, Ordinance or Regulation, allows a Court of Session or a Metropolitan Magistrate to refer for the decision of the High Court any question of law arising in the hearing of such case if it is thought fit.

Section-404 of the Code empowers the Court of Session and the High Court to call for the record of any trial held by a Metropolitan Magistrate, such Magistrate may submit with the record a statement setting forth the grounds of his decision or order and any facts which he thinks material to the issue, and that Court shall consider such statement before overruling or setting aside the said decision or order.

Section-414 of the Code When a sentence of death is passed by the High Court in appeal or in revision, the Court of Session shall, on receiving the order of the High Court, cause the sentence to be carried into effect by issuing a warrant.

Section-438 of the Code provides that the High Court or the Court of Session may provide anticipatory bail to a person anticipating arrest, subject to conditions such as the person shall make himself available for interrogation by a police officer whenever required; make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the Court or to any police officer; not to leave India without the previous permission of the Court and such other conditions as the Court may deem fit.

Section-439 of the Code empowers the High Court and the Court of Sessions to direct a person accused of an offence and in custody be released on bail, subject to fulfilment of requisite conditions. The High Court may also order for the arrest of a person released under Chapter XXXIII and their confinement into custody.

Section-440 of the Code empowers the High Court or the Court of Session to reduce the bail amount required by a Police Officer or Magistrate.

Section-441 of the Code states that a bond for such sum of money as the police officer or Court, as the case may be, thinks sufficient shall be executed by such person, and, when he is released on bail, by one or more sufficient sureties conditioned that such person shall attend at the time and place mentioned in the bond, and shall continue so to attend until otherwise directed by the police officer or Court. Such bond shall also bind the person released on bail to appear when called upon at the High Court, Court of Session or other Court to answer the charge.

Section-449 of the Code provides that in case of an order made by the Court of Session with regard to forfeiture of bond under Section 446, shall be appealable to the Court to which an appeal lies from an order made by such Court.

Section-450 of the Code states that the High Court or Court of Sessions to direct any Magistrate to levy the amount due on a bond for appearance or attendance at such Court of Sessions.

Section-452 of the Code states that the Court of Sessions may, in case conclusion of an inquiry or trial, the Court may make such order as it thinks fit for the disposal, by destruction, confiscation or delivery to any person claiming to be entitled to possession thereof or otherwise, of any property or document produced before it or in its custody, or regarding which any offence appears to have been committed, or which has been used for the commission of any offence. Such order may be made by itself, or directions may be made for such property to be delivered to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, who shall thereupon deal with it in the manner provided in sections 457, 458 and 459.

Section-474 of the Code states that the High Court, in its original jurisdiction also has to adhere to same procedures as the Court of Sessions, if it were trying the case.

Provisions related to the High Court in Criminal Procedure Code

Section 7 of the Code prescribes the State Government has the right to alter the limit of the number of sub-divisions per district on consultation with the High Court.

Section 9 of the Code provides the High Court with the power to appoint the Judge to preside over a Court of Session; and Additional Sessions Judges or Assistant Sessions Judges to exercise jurisdiction over the Sessions Court.

Section 11 of the Code provides the right to the State Government to appoint a Judicial Magistrate of the First Class and the Second Class in consultation with the High Court.

Section 26 of the Code gives the High Court, the Court of Sessions and any other Court by which such offence is triable according to the First Schedule, the power to try the offences.

Section 28 of the Code provides the High Court the power to award any sentence authorised by law. A Sessions Judge or an Additional Sessions Judge may pass a death sentence owing to confirmation by the High Court.

Section 32 of the Code provides the High Court the power to empower persons specially by name or by virtue of their offices.

Section 34 of the Code provides the High Court with the power to withdraw all powers that had been provided by it to any person or any office subordinate to it.

Section 61 of the Code prescribes that the High Court, from time to time may direct the Presiding Officers to issue summons bearing the seal of the Court.

Section 92 of the Code prescribes that if any document, parcel or thing which is wanted for the purpose of any investigation, inquiry, trial or other proceeding, is currently in the custody of a
postal or telegraph authority, the District Magistrate, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Court of Session or High Court may require the postal or telegraph authority, to deliver the document, parcel or thing to such person as the Magistrate or Court directs.

Section 123 (2) of the Code provides with the High Court to pronounce an order reducing the amount of the security or the number of sureties or the time for which security has been required whenever any person has been imprisoned for failing to give security under Chapter VIII of the Code.

Section 123 (9) of the Code provides the High Court or Court of Session to cancel any bond for keeping the peace or for good behaviour executed under the Chapter VIII of the Code or by any order made by it for sufficient reasons to be recorded in writing.

Section 186 of the Code entrusts the High Court with the power to decide the jurisdiction of a district Court to try a particular offence in case two or more Courts have taken cognizance of the same offence. The question shall be decided by the High Court under whose jurisdiction the District Courts are, and in case the Courts are subordinate to different High Courts, then by the High Court within the local limits of whose appellate criminal jurisdiction the proceedings were first commenced.

Section 261 of the Code empowers the High Court to confer on any Magistrate invested with the powers of a Magistrate of the second class power to try summarily any offence which is punishable only with fine or with imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months with or without fine, and any abetment of or attempt to commit any such offence.

Section 304 of the Code, which provides for the assignment of a pleader for the accused out of State expenses by the Court, when the accused lacks means to engage a pleader to represent them, empowers the High Court to make rules with respect to:
i) the mode of selecting pleaders for defence,
ii) the facilities to be allowed to such pleaders by the Courts, and
iii) the fees payable to such pleaders by the Government.

Section 318 of the Code provides that in the case of conviction of a person by any court other than the High Court, if such person cannot be made to understand the proceeding of the Court, such proceeding should be forwarded to the High Court along with a report on the circumstances of the case.

Section 359 of the Code provides that in case of conviction of the accused in a complaint of a non-cognizable offence, such accused may be ordered by the High Court to pay the complainant the cost incurred due to such proceedings wholly or in part. In case of failure to do so, the accused may be granted a simple imprisonment for a period of not more than thirty days.

Section 366 of the Code prescribes that any death sentence pronounced by a Court of Sessions is pending approval of the High Court, and no such order shall be executed unless the High Court confirms it. The details of such proceeding has to be submitted to the High Court.

Section 367 of the Code empowers the High Court to order for further inquiry or collection of further evidence, when the proceedings under Section 366 are submitted to it. Such inquiry or evidence may be taken by the High Court itself, or the Court of Sessions may be directed to do so in its behalf.

Section 368 of the Code empowers the High Court to:
i) Confirm the death sentence, or pass any other sentence warranted by law, or
ii) annul the conviction and convict the accused of any offence of which the Court of Session might have convicted him, or order a new trial on the same or an amended charge, or
iii) acquit the accused person.

Section 374 of the Code states that a person convicted on a trial held by a High Court in its extraordinary original criminal jurisdiction may appeal to the Supreme Court. Also, a person aggrieved by the decision of the lower courts under the jurisdiction of the High Court.

Section 375 of the Code restricts a person from appealing to an appellant Court in case a person who has pleaded guilty and has subsequently convicted by the High Court.

Section 376 of the Code restricts appeal to the Supreme Court where a High Court passes only a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or of fine not exceeding one thousand rupees, or of both such imprisonment and fine.

Section 377 of the Code allows the State Government to appeal to the High Court against sentences passed by any other Court.

Section 378 of the Code allows the State Government to direct the Public Prosecutor to present an appeal to the High Court from an original or appellate order of acquittal passed by any Court other than a High Court.

Section 390 of the Code allows the High Court to issue a warrant directing that the accused be arrested and brought before it or any Subordinate Court, in case of appeal under Section 378. Such Court before which he is brought may commit him to prison pending the disposal of the appeal or admit him to bail.

Section 391 of the Code provides that in case of an appeal, if the High Court thinks additional evidence to be necessary, shall record its reasons and may either take such evidence itself, or direct it to be taken by a Court of Session or a Magistrate.

Section 392 of the Code provides that the in case a matter of appeal heard by the High Court finds the bench of Judges divided by opinion, such appeals along with their opinions, shall be laid before another Judge of that Court, and that Judge, after such hearing as he thinks fit, shall deliver his opinion, and the judgment or order shall follow that opinion.

Section 395 of the Code states that in a case where any Court is satisfied that a case pending before it involves a question as to the validity of any Act, Ordinance or Regulation, and is of the opinion that such provisions are invalid and has not been declared so by the Supreme Court or the High Court under whose jurisdiction such trial Court falls, such lower Court is required to state a case setting out its opinion and the reasons therefor, and refer the same for the decision of the High Court.

Section 396 of the Code states that in cases involving the question referred to under Section 395, the High Court shall pass such order thereon as it thinks fit, and shall cause a copy of such order to be sent to the Court by which the reference was made, which shall dispose of the case conformably to the said order.

Section 397 of the Code provides the High Court with the power to call for and examine the record of any proceeding before any inferior Criminal Court situate within its or his local jurisdiction and be satisfied of the correctness, legality or propriety of any finding, sentence or order, recorded or passed, and as to the regularity of any proceedings. The High Court may further direct that the execution of any sentence or order be suspended or the release on bail of an accused or on his own bond pending the examination of such record.

Section 398 of the Code allows the High Court to make inquiry the High Court or the Sessions Judge may direct the Chief Judicial Magistrate by himself or by any of the Magistrates subordinate to him to make further inquiry into any complaint which has been dismissed under section 203 or 204(4), or into the case of any person accused of an offence who has been discharged.

Section 401 of the Code provides for the power of the High Court to revise order in the case of any proceeding the record of which has been called for by itself or which otherwise comes to its knowledge, and the accused is to be given an opportunity of being heard either personally or by a pleader in his defense. The High Court, however, does not have the power to convert an acquittal into a conviction.

Section 402 of the Code empowers the High Court, in a case one or more persons convicted at the same trial makes or make application to a High Court for revision and any other person convicted at the same trial makes an application to the Sessions Judge for revision, which of the two Courts should finally dispose of the applications for revision, keeping in mind the general convenience of the parties. In case the High Court decides that all the applications for revision should be disposed of by itself, the High Court shall direct that the applications for revision pending before the Sessions Judge be transferred to itself and shall deal with it in a manner as if it were an application duly made before itself. Where the High Court decides that it is not necessary for it to dispose of the applications for revision, it shall direct that the applications for revision made to it be transferred to the Sessions Judge and no further application for revision shall lie to the High Court or to any other Court at the instance of the person or persons whose applications for revision have been disposed of by the Sessions Judge.

Section 407 of the Code empowers the High Court to transfer cases and appeals to Criminal Court subordinate to its authority to any other such Criminal Court of equal or superior jurisdiction when it is of the opinion that a fair and impartial inquiry or trial could not be conducted by the subordinate Criminal Court, or a question of law of unusual difficulty is likely to arise, or tend to the general convenience of the parties or witnesses, or is expedient for the ends of justice. The High Court may act either on the report of the lower Court, or on the application of a party interested, or on its own initiative.

Section 413 of the Code states that the Court of Session receives the order of confirmation of the High Court for death sentences pronounced under Section 368 of the Code or other order of thereon, such order is to be carried into effect by issuing a warrant under Section 414 or taking such other requisite steps.

Section 415 of the Code states that if the death sentence pronounced or certified by the High Court lies to the Supreme Court for its appeal, the High Court shall order the execution of the sentence to be postponed until the period allowed for preferring such appeal has expired, or if, an appeal is preferred within that period, until such appeal is disposed of.

Section 418 of the Code empowers the High Court to commute a sentence of death to a sentence of imprisonment for life in case of pregnant women.

Section 437 of the Code provides the High Court the power to release a person on bail for having allegedly committed a non-bailable offence, who has been arrested and detained without warranty, only when there exist reasonable grounds to believe that such person has not committed any act which is punishable with death or imprisonment for life.

Section 438 of the Code provides that the High Court or the Court of Session may provide anticipatory bail to a person anticipating arrest, subject to conditions such as the person shall make himself available for interrogation by a police officer whenever required; make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the Court or to any police officer; not to leave India without the previous permission of the Court and such other conditions as the Court may deem fit.

Section 439 of the Code empowers the High Court and the Court of Sessions to direct a person accused of an offence and in custody be released on bail, subject to fulfilment of requisite conditions. The High Court may also order for the arrest of a person released under Chapter XXXIII and their confinement into custody.

Section 440 of the Code empowers the High Court or the Court of Session to reduce the bail amount required by a Police Officer or Magistrate.

Section 450 of the Code empowers the High Court to direct any Magistrate to levy the amount due on a bond for appearance or attendance at such High Court.

Section 474 of the Code states that the same procedure of trial of a case by the Court of Sessions is adopted for an offence is tried by the High Court otherwise than under section 407.

Section 477 of the Code empowers the High Court to make rules with the prior approval of the State Government with relation to:

  • persons who may be permitted to act as petition-writers in the Criminal Courts subordinate to it,
  • regulating the issue of licences to such persons, the conduct of business by them, and the scale of fees to be charged by them,
  • providing a penalty for a contravention of any of the rules so made and determining the authority by which such contravention may be investigated and the penalties imposed,
  • any other requisite matter.

Section 483 of the Code states that it is the duty of the High Courts to exercise its superintendence over the Courts of Judicial Magistrates subordinate to it as to ensure that there is an expeditious and proper disposal of cases by such Magistrates.

Conclusion

The essential point of existence of Code of Criminal Procedure is to protect society against criminals and law breakers. The law holds out threats for prospective law breakers to keep them in check as well as actual offenders suffer the prescribed punishment for committing a crime. Therefore, criminal law in its wider sense consists both of the substantive law as well as procedural law. It provides power to the authorities to serve justice to the society and maintain peace and order. The code also regulates and controls the working of the mechanism set up for investigation and adjudicatory processes strong, efficient and effective and on the other hand it also has to take precautionary steps against the error of judgment and human failures and it also safeguards the individuals against the probable abuse of power by the different authorities. The Code has definitely tried to make it complete and exhaustive in every aspect and it has also succeeded in the attempt. This Code nicely balances the power to the authorities and controls over those powers and provides fair and just hearing to each and every individual.

The Code of Criminal Procedure guides a person to navigate through the due procedures of the criminal justice system, from the procedure of complaining to the police on being exposed or witnessed to an offence, to the institution of the cases at the trial courts, to an appeal in the High Court. The final Court of Appeal is the Supreme Court, the apex Court for the Criminal Justice System in the country.


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