The essential object of criminal law is to protect society against criminals and lawbreakers. For this purpose the law holds out threats of punishments to prospective lawbreakers as well as attempts to make the actual offenders suffer the prescribed punishments for their crimes. Therefore criminal law, in its wide sense, consists of both the substantive criminal law (Indian penal code, 1860) and procedural (or adaptive) criminal law. Substantive criminal law defines offences and prescribes punishments for the same, while procedural criminal law is to administer the substantive law. Without the procedural law you cannot constitutes substantive law. For example if a person commits a crime then he cannot be punished itself we need to follow the procedure to make him suffer and punished. .Because without the enforcement mechanism, the threat of punishment held out to the lawbreakers by the substantive criminal law would remain empty in practice.
Our law of criminal procedure is mainly contained in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) which has come into force from 1st April 1974.it provides the machinery for the detention of crime, apprehension of suspected criminals, collection of evidence, and the imposition of suitable punishments on the guilty person. In addition, the Code also deals with prevention of offences; maintenance of wives [ Ss. 106-124, 129-132 and 144-153] children and parents [125-128] and public nuisances.[Ss. 133-143]. The CrPC also controls and regulates the working of the machinery set up for the investigation and trial of offences. On the one hand it has to give adequately wide powers to make the investigative and adjudicatory processes strong, effective and efficient, and on the other hand, it has to take precautions against errors of judgment and human failures and to provide safeguards against probable abuse of powers by the police or judicial officers. It makes a good balance between process, implementation and procedure to be followed.
Special importance of criminal Procedure
The basic importance of criminal procedure has to be borne in mind, as it is the procedure that spells much of the difference between the rule of law and rule by whim and caorice.
In addition, the importance of Criminal Procedure Code is based on three other special considerations:
(i) It is more constantly used and affects a greater number of persons than the other law.
(ii) The nature of its subject- matter is such that human values are involved in it to a greater degree than in other laws.
(iii) As the law of criminal procedure is complementary of the substantive criminal law, its failure would seriously affect the substantive criminal law which in turn would considerably affect the protection that it gives to society. Therefore it has been rightly said that too much expense, delay and uncertainty in applying the law of criminal procedure would render even the best penal law useless and oppressive.
Code how far exhaustive
The Code has obviously tried to make itself exhaustive and complete in every respect and it has generally succeeded in this attempt, However, if the courts finds the code has not made specific provisions to meet the exigencies of any situation, the court has inherent powers to mould the procedure to enable it to pass such orders as the ends of justice may require. It has, however, been declared by the Supreme Court that the subordinate courts do not have any inherent powers. The High Court has inherent powers and that has been given partial statutory recognition by enacting section 482 which says;
Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973
482. Saving of inherent powers of High Court. Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.
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