Trial of Summon Cases By The Magistrate | Code Of Criminal Procedure

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Trials of summons-case by magistrates

 

Introduction-

 

Summon cases are the cases that relate to offences, not punishable with death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years. Summon cases are not warranted cases, and cannot be taken as seriously as to warrant cases. Section 251- 259 of the Code of Criminal Procedure mentions the trial of summons-cases by magistrates.

 

According to Section 251, when in a summon case, the accused appears or is brought before the magistrate, he should be explained the particulars of the offence, he has been accused is and he should be asked, whether he pleads guilty or any defence against the accusation. It is not necessary for the magistrate to frame a formal charge according to Section 211 to 213. However, the provisions relating to joinder of charges and joint trial of persons are applicable in respect of trials of summons cases.

 

If the accused pleads guilty against the offence or accepts the commission of the offence, the magistrate shall record the plea in the words, nearly as possible, as used by the accused. This requirement is mandatory in nature and violation of these provisions vitiates the trial and renders the conviction invalid. This, is also done to prevent any mistake or misapprehension. The magistrate can convict him on this basis.

 

As according to Section 206, in case of certain petty offences an accused who is willing to plead guilty need not appear in the court either in person or through his pleader, provided he complies with the section. This section is applicable to persons who have committed petty offences and are willing to pay the penalty. in section 253, the magistrate has been given the discretion to convict and sentence the accused person on such plea of guilty. This section allows the lawyer of the accused to plead guilty on behalf of the accused.

 

If the magistrate does not convict the accused under section 252 or 253, the magistrate will proceed to hear the prosecution, its facts, and circumstances to prove its case. On the application of the prosecution, magistrate may summon any witnesses to be present in the court or to present any document.

 

Magistrate to make a memorandum of the substance of the evidence, after examination of each witness, in the language of the court. Such memorandum shall be signed by the magistrate and will form part of the record.

 

After the personal examination of the accused as per section 313, the magistrate shall hear forward the accused, and take all such evidence as he produces in his defence. The magistrate may summon any witness, on the application of the accused, for his presence in the court or for the presentation of any document in the court. Failure to hear the accused will amount to a fundamental error in a criminal trial, which cannot be cured by section 465 of the Code.

 

If after looking upon all the evidence produced, of prosecution and the defence, magistrate concludes that the accused is not guilty, he shall record an order of acquittal. The magistrate can record an order of acquittal under section 225 if there is no evidence to hold the accused guilty.

 

If magistrate convicts the accused, he can pass sentence according to law, but after considering all the circumstances of the case, the magistrate may instead of passing the sentence can decide to release the offender on probation of good conduct under Section 360 or under the Probation of Offenders Act 1958.

 

In case of non- appearance or death of a party, the magistrate shall acquit the accused, unless he thinks it proper to adjourn the hearing of the case. Where an accused is represented by the lawyer, the magistrate may dispense with his attendance and proceed with the case.

 

 Any time before passing a final order, the complainant satisfies the magistrate, for withdrawing the complaint due to insufficient grounds. The magistrate may allow him to do the same, acquitting the accused.

 

In the course of the trial of a summons case, relating to an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding 6 months, it appears to the magistrate that in the interest of justice, an offence to be tried in accordance with the procedure for the trial of warrant case he may do so with proceedings commencing from the start.

 

Compensation can be granted to the accused in summon cases as well.

 

 

 

 

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