In our last two articles, we discuss the Stage of a criminal trial in India under Cr.P.C. and Stage of the criminal trial in warrant cases under Cr.P.C. Now in this article, we will discuss the Summon trail by the magistrate under Cr.P.C.
There is a procedure provided by the code of criminal procedure 1973 for dealing with the proceedings in the court relating to an offence or crime. The procedure is followed by the court is known as a criminal trial. Here we are discussing the stage of the criminal trial. The trial of warrant cases and the pre-trial stage of the criminal trial has been discussed in our last posts.
What is Summon case ?:-
Summons case has been defined, in a negative sense, under Section 2(w) of the Code as “a case relating to an offence, not being a warrant case”. On the other side, a “warrant case” means a case relating to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years.
Stages of the summons cases:-
In a trial of summons case, the following stages are to be followed:-
1. State the particulars of the offence to the accused:-
In the summons case when the accused is brought or appears before the Magistrate, the particulars of the offence of which he is accused shall be stated to him, and he shall be asked whether he pleads guilty or has any defence to make, but it shall not be necessary to frame a formal charge.
2. Conviction on plea of guilty:-
After stating all the particulars of the offence, if the accused pleads guilty, the Magistrate shall record the plea as nearly as possible in the words of the accused and may, in his discretion, convict him thereon. When accused admits some or all of the facts alleged by the prosecution but pleads ‘not guilty’, the court will proceed according to law by examining the witnesses for the prosecution and defence.
3. Conviction on plea of guilty in absence of accused in petty case:-
After issuing the summons under section 206 and where the accused desires to plead guilty to the charge without appearing before the magistrate, he shall transmit to the Magistrate, a letter containing his plea and also the amount of fine specified in the summons by post or by messenger. The Magistrate has discretionary power to convict the accused in his absence, on his plea of guilty and sentence him to pay the fine specified in the summons. And the amount sent by the accused shall be adjusted towards that fine. Where a pleader authorized by the accused in this behalf pleads guilty on behalf of the accused, the Magistrate shall record the plea as nearly as possible in the words used by the pleader and may, in his discretion, convict the accused on such plea and sentence him as aforesaid.
4. Procedure when not convicted:-
When the accused does not admit his guilty or the Magistrate does not convict the accused under section 252, or section 253, the Magistrate is bound to hear the complainant and his witnesses. The Magistrate cannot acquit the accused without examining the complainant and his witnesses. On the application of the prosecution or the accused the Magistrate may issue a summons to any witness directing him to attend or to produce any document or other things. The Magistrate has no discretion to refuse the examination of a witness tendered by the accused.
5. Acquittal or conviction:-
After the completion of the above stages and such further evidence, if any the Magistrate finds that the accused is not guilty then he shall record an order of acquittal. He may also decide to release the offender on probation of good conduct after under Section 360, or under Probation of offender Act, 1958 after considering the nature of offence, the character of offender and circumstance of the case. A Magistrate may, under Sec. 252 or Sec. 255, convict the accused of any offence triable under this chapter, whatever may be the nature of the complaint or summons if the Magistrate is satisfied that the accused would not be prejudiced thereby.