Plea Bargaining in CrPC
Plea Bargaining is one of the ways of Alternative Dispute Resolution. The concept of plea bargaining for Indian Laws has been taken from the United States of America and was added in year 2006.
Who may Apply for Plea Bargaining?
According to section 265B of Criminal Procedure Code, a person who is accused of an offence may file an application for plea bargaining in the court in which such offence is pending for trial. The application will contain a brief description of the case and shall be accompanied by an affidavit.
After receiving the application, the court shall issue a notice to the public prosecutor or the complainant of the case, as the case may be, and to the accused to appear on the date fixed for the case.
When the Public Prosecutor (PP) or the complainant of the case and the accused appear on the date fixed, the court will examine the accused in camera.
Cases Where Plea Bargaining is Allowed
- An offence where punishment is not more than 7 years.
- Offences which are not against the women and children.
- The offence which does not affect the socio-economic condition of the country.
The central government has determined the offences which affect the socio-economic condition of country. They are:
- Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
- Sati Prevention Act, 1987
- Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005
- Immoral Traffic Act, 1956
- Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
- Army Act, 1950
- Air Force Act, 1950
- Navy Act, 1957
- Juvenile Justice Act, 2000
- Delhi Metro Railway Act, 2002
- The Explosive Act, 1884
- Cinematograph Act, 1952
Note: No plea bargaining is allowed in the case of a habitual offender.
The Mutual Satisfactory Disposition
According to section 265C of CrPC, in working out a mutually satisfactory disposition, the court shall follow the following procedure.
When a case is instituted on a police report, the court shall issue a notice to the Public Prosecutor, the Police Officer/Investigating Officer who has investigated the case, the accused, and the victim of the case to participate in the meeting to work out a satisfactory disposition of the case.
The proviso of this section says that if the accused desires, then he may participate in such a meeting with his pleader.
When a case is instituted otherwise than on a police report, the court shall issue a notice to the accused and the victim of the case to participate in a meeting to work out a satisfactory disposition of the case. It is the duty of the court to ensure that the proceedings must be voluntarily by the parties.
After Working Out of Satisfactory Disposition of the Case
According to section 265D of CrPC, wherein a meeting under section 265C, a satisfactory disposition of the case has been worked out, the court shall prepare a report of such disposition which shall be signed by the presiding officer of the court and all other people who participated in the meeting.
If no such disposition has been worked out, the court shall record such observation and proceed further according to the provisions of this court.
Disposal of the Case
According to section 265E of CrPC where a satisfactory disposition of the case has been worked out under section 265D, the court shall dispose of the case in the following manner-
1. The court shall award the compensation to the victim according to the disposition and hear the parties on the quantum of punishment, if possible. Then the benefit will be given to the accused under the provisions of probation of Offender’s Act, 1958.
For Example: Releasing the accused on probation on good conduct.
2. After hearing the parties when the court finds that minimum punishment has been provided under the law for the offence committed by the accused, the court may sentence the accused to half of such minimum punishment.
3. After hearing the parties when the court finds that the offence committed by the accused is not having the minimum punishment, then the 1/4th of the maximum punishment of the offence may be provided to the accused.
Judgement by the Court
According to section 265F of CrPC, the court will deliver its judgement in the open court, and the presiding officer of the court shall sign the same.
Finality of the Judgement
Section 265G of CrPC talks about finality of the judgement. The judgement delivered by the court under section 265G shall be final, and there is no provision for appeal, but there are two exceptions to this rule-
1. Special leave petition under Article 136 of the Constitution.
2. A writ petition under Article 226 and Article 227 in High Court.
Power of the Court in Plea Bargaining
Section 265H of Criminal Procedure Code mentions power of the court in plea bargaining. For the purpose of discharging its functions under this chapter, the court, which is allowing the plea bargaining must have the powers in respect of bail, trial of offences and other matters relating to the disposal of a case.
Statement of Accused not to be Used for any Other Purpose
Section 265K of CrPC talks about ‘Statement of accused not to be used.’ The statements or facts stated by an accused in an application for plea bargaining filed under section 265B shall not be used for any other purpose except for the purpose of Chapter XXIA of CrPC.