Brief Introduction of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973


The Code of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (Act No. 2 of 1974) was enacted in 1973 and came into force 1 April 1974. The Criminal Procedure Code is the main legislation on the procedure for administration on substantive criminal law(Indian Penal Code)in India which provides the machinery for the investigation of crime, apprehension of suspected criminals, collection of evidence, determination of guilt or innocence of the accused person and the determination of punishment of the guilty. Additionally, it also deals with public nuisance, prevention of offenses and maintenance of wife and children.

The Act consists of 484 sections, which are further divided into 38 chapters, 2 schedules, and 56 forms.

Territorial extent, scope, and applicability of this act: It is applicable to the whole of India

Provided that the provisions of this code, other than those relating to chapters VIII, X and XI thereof, shall not apply:

  • To the state of Nagaland
  • To the tribal areas in Assam

But the concerned State Government may, by notification, apply such provisions or any of them to the whole or part of the state of Nagaland or such tribal areas, as the case may be specified in the notification.


In medieval India, after the Muslim conquest, the ‘Mohammedan criminal law’ came into prevalence. Subsequent to this, The British passed the ‘Regulating Act of 1773’ which led to the establishment of Supreme courts in three presidency towns of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras.

The effect of the statute was to apply British procedural law while deciding upon the cases of Crown’s subjects. After 1857 Revolt, the crown took over the Indian administration. The British parliament passed the Criminal Procedure Code, 1861 which continued till the post-Independence era and was amended in 1969(Amendment 41). It was finally replaced in 1972.

Important Changes Made in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

  • The Judiciary is wholly separated from the Executive.
  • New criminal Courts, manned by trained and qualified Judicial Magistrates, under the supervision and control of the High Court.
  • Committal Proceeding are now abolished.
  • Summons procedure has been extended to offences punishable with two years’ imprisonment. Earlier, only offences attracting upto one year’s imprisonment were covered.
  • Scope of Summary trials are increased
  • Accused has a Opportunity to make a representation against the punishment before sessions and warrant trails imposed.
  • To avoid the malady of Protracted police investigation
  • The process of compulsory stoppage of proceedings by a Subordinate Court on the mere intimation of a party to move a higher Court for transfer of a case, is now done away with.
  • Now, successors to office can continue the hearing of part- heard cases, instead of hearing them de novo, as was earlier the case.
  • Revisions against interlocutory orders are now specifically barred.
  • Adjournments are sought to be made difficult, as the Court is empowered to order the party seeking such adjournments to pay costs to the other party
  • Powers to grant anticipatory bail are given to the High Courts and to the Sessions Courts.
  • A provision is also made to set off the period of detention of an under-trial prisoner against the sentence imposed on him.
  • A re-trial is not now necessarily to be ordered when a Court of Appeal or Revision discovers any error, omission or irregularity in the charge.
  • Indegent person were given legal aid.
  • A right to get an order of maintenance is given to divorced wives and indigent parents unable to do so, in maintenance proceedings.
  • Magistrates are to be appointed by High Courts, instead of by the State Governments.
  • A novel feature of great significance is the provision for submission of written arguments by both sides at a trial. (S. 314)
  • The “Presidency Towns” are now converted into “Metropolitan Areas”, and the Judicial Magistrates in these areas are designated as Metropolitan Magistrates.
  • The concept of “plea bargaining” has been introduced by the Criminal Law Amendment) Act, 2005.

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