The basic idea behind the framing the charges before a trial is initiated is, an accused should be informed in a clear, concise and precise manner about the allegations raised against him in front of the Court. The purpose of charge to serve intimation or notice to the accused, made up according to appropriate language of law; it should be precise, unambiguous and clear notice about the accusation for the accused is being called upon for the course of trial. The purpose of intimation to the accused is the principle of criminal law and also the right of the accused to receive such information about the charge which was made against him.(Section 218-224)
The main rule of a trial process is Separate trial, but there’s an exception in a trial process where one should go through a joint trial on the following grounds :-
On the Desire of Accused person,
Three offences of same kind committed within time period of 12months,
Same act constitute an Offence with different definition under the law,
Same act constituting different offences,
More than one Offence committed in an act,
More than one Offence committed within Criminal breach of trust, Misappropriation of Property related with falsification of accounts or purpose of facilitating or consoling the omission of such offence.
Separate charges for distinct offences
This section deals with the basic rule of a trial process which says that there must be a separate charge and a separate trial for each such charges for every distinct Offence. It lays down two rules in regards to the framing of charges:-
According to the first rule of section 218 of Code of Criminal Procedure it says that there should be separate charges for each and every distinct Offence.
According to the second rule of Section 218 of Code of Criminal Procedure it says that there should be separate trial for each and every charges except the cases mentioned in sub-section (2) of Section 218 which are covered under section 219, 220, 221 and 223 of Code of Criminal Procedure and any joinder of charges in any such cases which falls under section 219, 220, 221 and 223 are totally illegal and it vitiate the trial process.
This section contains the exceptions which are enabling the provisions only. A court has a discretion to order a separate trial even if the case is covered under any of the exceptions empowering a joint trial. A joint trial fir a number of charges is very much depreciated even though it is not prohibited by law. A separate trial is always desirable whenever there’s a risk of prejudice to the accused in a joint trial. The Supreme Court has taken the view on it that it depends on the court whether to resort to Section 219,220 & 223 of the Code or whether to act as laid down in Section 218 and that the accused has no right to claim joinder of charges.
Three offences of same kind committed within 12months may be charged together.
According to section 219(1) it says that if a person has committed three offences of same kind within a time period of 12months the that person could be tried together for all the three offences.
According to section 219(2) it says that of a person has committed three offences of same kind within the time period of 12months then that person can be punished with the same quantum of punishment.
The accused persons whose offences are not been covered under any of the sub-section of Section 223 of CrPC, he/she cannot claim a joint trial. The provision of this Section can puts a check on the discretionary power of the court.
Trial for more than one Offences
According to section 220(1) it says that if a person has committed a number of acts which are connected with each other forming a series of offences then those offences should be charged together and tried together.
According to section 220(2) it says that if an offence is committed to fulfill a previous offence then in such case this section enables the court to make trial for such offences together.
According to section 220(3) it says that if an act done has separate and different definition in a Code of Law, such offence shall be tried together.
According to section 220(4) it says that if an act forms a series of offence, constituting different offences either separately taken or taken in a group, such series of offence should be tried in a single trial.
Trial for more than one offence
It says that if a person has committed a series of acts which creates a doubt regarding the facts of such act, in such case the person may be charged for any of such offence, or may be charged for all the offences, or may be charged alternatively for those offences when the offences gets proved against him/her. He/she may be convicted for the same offence even though he/she was not charged with the same offence.
Persons may be charged jointly
If a number of persons has committed the same offence in course of completion of an act, or has committed a different offence in same course of transportation or has committed a particular offence of a series of offences, then such persons may be charged and tried together for the series of offences.
Withdrawal of Charges
Section 224 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 states that whenever an accused is charged with two or more offences and he got conviction in one or more of the offences, the Complainant or the prosecution may then withdraw the rest of the charges with due permission of the Court.
If Complainant or Prosecution withdraw the remaining charges which was instigated on accused that amount acquittal on those charges and those charge cannot be inquired again except if Court ordered for to set aside the conviction which was given earlier
Discharge of the accused
Section 227 deals with the discharge of an accused. The Judge has the discretionary power to discharge the accused that discharge should be done by reasonable reasons for doing such act.
The purpose of this provision is to eliminate the possibility of harassment of the accused in the situations when there is no prima facie case against the accused. When the guilt or innocence of an accused are in same proposition at the initial stage of making an order, normally the order will have to be made under the Section 228 (framing of charge) and not under the Section 227.
Framing of Charges
The framing of a charge is a judicial act is not mere formality and hence application of mind is crucial. The basic motto of Section 228 is to ensure that the accusation made against the accused are not false and baseless and frivolous and that there is some material aspect to proceed. It becomes clear after reading section 227 and 228 together, that what the court has to see whether it is a prima facie case against the accused and he is in any manner connected with the incident leading to the prosecution. Certain rules are given below find out that is the case is prima facie or proper evidence against the accused.
Accused voluntarily join for Joint Trail,
More than two offences within one year in same kind,
Different Offences constitutes same act,
Same acts constituting one and different offences,
Offences in same transaction,
Offences of misappropriation of property or criminal breach of trust connected with falsification of accounts,
Alternative offence when it is doubtful,
When major offence is charged, accused may convict for minor offence,
When minor offence is charged, accused should not be convicted for major offence.
K. Satwant Singh vs. State of Punjab
In this case, Hon’ble Supreme Court says that the Section of joinder of charges are not compelling in nature in this case. But it is permitted only under the special circumstances and the court has considered the same in the interest of the administration of justice after examining the facts and the circumstances of the case.
Ranchhod Lal vs. Territory of Madhya Pradesh
In this case, we found that it is at the caution of the court whether to apply Section 219, Section 220 and section 223 Criminal Procedure, 1973 or resort to Section 218. The denounced has not been given this option to fall back on joinder of charges.
Chunnoo vs. State
This case was held in section 223 joint trial against at least two charged people are managed. Section 218 provisions with the essential principle which says that for each unmistakable offense there must be a different charge and a different trial for each such charge.
Ajeet Singh vs Union of India
In this case the inquiry with respect to the mis-joinder of charges and joint trial for unmistakable offenses was replied by the Supreme Court on account of this case. It was held by the court that the standards fundamental the provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 just go about as a core value.
Framing of charges is the first step in the initiation of a trial process in a criminal proceedings. While framing the charges utmost care has to be taken, as a wrong framing may lead to denial of justice. The judges must have to take care of the facts while framing the charges that there is an existence of a Case Prima Facie. Accordingly, one should avoid wrongful framing and joinder of charges as such a failure would vitiate the essential pith of a reasonable trial. The duty of framing the charges has been all vested to the courts and the may add any changes having relations to the Offence in between the trial process before the Judgment is pronounced. The sections which manage various sorts of trials just notice that solitary the obligation of framing of charges has been vested upon the courts. The court may modify/add to any charge whenever before the judgment is articulated.
Any case made is baseless without any actual charge that the accused has committed. During a trial, framing of charges is the utmost important process to provide just and fairness to every person. If the person is wrongly charged during the trial, the whole point of truthfulness is down the vain. It is the judge’s power to decide the charges based on the case prima facie and levy a punishment for the offences committed. Thus, undue amount of care should be taken for framing of charges to any given person for a steady and impartial judgement for the crimes committed.
The provisions of the joinder of charges are not applicable to the judges. It all depends upon the judge either to combine the charges or to go with each charges separately as per the facts and the circumstances of the case. One should abstain from wrongful framing and joinder of charges as an inefficiency would deprive the basic essence for a fair trial of the Court.
By:- Satyam Kumar