Trial of Warrant Cases by Magistrate

Trial of Warrant Cases by Magistrate

This trial is divided into two parts.

1. Trial of warrant cases by magistrate where case instituted on a police report: Sections 238 to 243, 248, 249, 250.

Bare Acts 53 Full Bare Acts

2. Trial of warrant cases instituted otherwise than on a police report: Sections 244-250

Trial of Warrant Cases by Magistrate Where Cases Instituted On a Police Report

Section 238: Compliance with section 207

In any warrant case instituted on a police report, when the accused appears or is brought before a magistrate for the trial, the magistrate shall satisfy himself that he has complied with the provisions of section 207 (supply the copy of police report and other related documents to the accused).

Section 239: When accused shall be discharged

This section should be read with section 240. It is the duty of the court to frame the charges, and therefore the court must consider the matter. This section says that the magistrate has to record his reasons for discharging the accused.

State of Himachal Pradesh vs. Krishan Lal, 1987

In this case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that there was sufficient material on record, and the judge had found that the prima facie case has been made out. But his successor judge came to the conclusion on the same material that no charge could be made and hence passed an order of discharge. It was held by the Supreme Court that no order of discharge could be passed by the successor.

Section 240: Framing of charge

Section 240 not only authorises the magistrate to consider the police report and the document sent with it under section 173 but to examine the accused if he thinks fit.

According to clause 2 of this section, the charge shall then be read and explained to the accused, and he shall be asked whether he pleads guilty of the offence charged or claim to be tried.

Section 241: Conviction on plea of guilty

After framing the charge if the accused pleads guilty, then the magistrate shall record the plea and convict him according to his discretion.

Section 242: Evidence for prosecution

If the accused does not plead guilty, then the magistrate does not convict him, and the magistrate shall fix a date for the examination of witnesses.

The proviso of this section says that the magistrate will supply in advance the statement of witnesses recorded during the investigation by the police.

According to clause 2, the magistrate may summon to the witnesses to attend the court or to produce any document, on the application of the prosecution.

According to clause 3, the magistrate shall proceed and may permit the cross-examination of any witness.

Section 243: Evidence for defence

The magistrate shall call the accused to enter in his defence and produce evidence and will allow for cross-examination.

Section 248: Acquittal or conviction

The trial ends either in conviction or acquittal of the accused.

Section 249: Absence of complainant

If the complainant is absent on the day fixed for the hearing of the case, the magistrate may in his discretion discharge the accused if-
I. The offence is compoundable.
II. The offence is non-cognizable.
III. The proceedings have been instituted on the complaint.
IV. The charge has not been framed.

All of the above elements are necessary.

Under this section, the magistrate has discretion. He may discharge the accused or may proceed with the case. It is done by the magistrate before the charge has been framed. After the framing of charge, the magistrate cannot discharge the accused due to default of appearance by the complainant.

Death of complainant in trial

Law Notes 100 Law Notes

Where in the course of the trial for different defamation the complainant dies, the magistrate need not discharge the accused but can continue with the trial.

Note: Where a complaint is dismissed on default, there is no bar for the institution of second complaint for the same offence.

Section 250: Compensation for accused without reasonable cause

The person liable to pay compensation is a person on whose complaint or information the accusation is made. Here, a person includes a juristic person also.

Compensation is awarded to the person who has suffered from the accusation and not to his relatives. Before awarding compensation, the magistrate shall not only record but also consider any objection which the complainant or informant raised against the direction. The provisions are imperative (of vital importance) in nature and must be complied with.

Trial of Warrant Cases Instituted Otherwise Than On a Police Report

Section 244: Evidence for prosecution

When a warrant case is instituted otherwise than on a police report, the accused appears or is brought before a magistrate; the magistrate shall proceed for evidence for the prosecution and summon the witnesses or document on the application of the prosecution.

Section 245: When accused shall be discharged

The discharge order can be passed when the magistrate finds that “no case has been made out.”

Section 246: Procedure where accused is not discharged

If the magistrate is satisfied, then he can frame the charge and proceed further. The charge shall be read and explained to the accused, and he shall be asked whether he pleads guilty or not or has any defence to make.

According to clause 3, if the accused pleads guilty, the magistrate shall, according to his discretion, convict the accused. If the accused does not plead guilty, then the magistrate will move forward.

Section 247: Evidence for defence

The accused will be called to enter upon his defence and to produce evidence.

Conclusion of trial same as the trial which is conducted by the magistrate in warrant cases, where case instituted on the police report (section 248 to 250).

Section 248: Acquittal or conviction

The trial ends either in conviction or acquittal of the accused.

Section 249: Absence of complainant

If the complainant is absent on the day fixed for the hearing of the case, the magistrate may in his discretion discharge the accused if-
I. The offence is compoundable.
II. The offence is non-cognizable.
III. The proceedings have been instituted on the complaint.
IV. The charge has not been framed.

All of the above elements are necessary.

Under this section, the magistrate has discretion. He may discharge the accused or may proceed with the case. It is done by the magistrate before the charge has been framed. After the framing of charge, the magistrate cannot discharge the accused due to default of appearance by the complainant.

Death of complainant in trial

Where in the course of the trial for different defamation the complainant dies, the magistrate need not discharge the accused but can continue with the trial.

Note: Where a complaint is dismissed on default, there is no bar for the institution of second complaint for the same offence.

Section 250: Compensation for accused without reasonable cause

The person liable to pay compensation is a person on whose complaint or information the accusation is made. Here, a person includes a juristic person also.

Compensation is awarded to the person who has suffered from the accusation and not to his relatives. Before awarding compensation, the magistrate shall not only record but also consider any objection which the complainant or informant raised against the direction. The provisions are imperative (of vital importance) in nature and must be complied with.