Charge Under CrPC

This article is written by Anshika Agrawal @LEXCLIQ on the topic Charge under Code of Criminal Procedure Act 1973.

Charge is a precise formulation of accusation against accused i.e. what all accusation  put on the accused which contains the offence he did, date of offence, offence is under which sections of the code, place of offence, against whom offence was committed or if any money related issue , so amount of money etc. The very purpose of writing charge is to give a reasonalable notice to the accused i.e. for what offences he has been charged and those offences fall under which sections of the code so that he can prepare himself to defend himself.  It is very important procedure in the light of Principles of Natural Justice. It is the beginning of the trial. It is after the process of discharge and the charge is framed.  

Section 211 of CrPC deals with contents of charge. It states that under charge the offence has to be written and in case their is any specific name for that offence so that particular name has to be written like if person has kill someone so murder has to be written, if has stolen something so it is under theft and so on and if their is no particular name then it has to be explained in proper manner. Also all the legal technicalities are fulfilled. Charge is in the language of Court. Also if the accused had been guilty of any offence and convicted for that in past it has to be specified there as it can affect the further proceedings of charge.

It is not compulsory to make charge in summon cases which is provided under Section 251 of Crpc. But in warrent case, charge is must, if magistrate is of opinion that case is prima facie which is specified under Section 240 of CrPC.

Section 212 of CrPC states particulars as to time, place or person which means the timing of offence, place of offence etc to be specified in the charge. If the accused has committed certain small offences like misappropriation of money, breach of trust, etc then these all are to be clubbed and shown in aggregate. But these all offences to be committed under the period of 1 year otherwise it would become illegal.

Section 213 of CrPC states when manner of committing offence must be stated. This means that after specifying everything under Section 211 and 212, still then if accused is not getting reasonable notice regarding for what offence he is charged, then the particulars to be written in more detailed manner. There are certain offences where there is no need of explanation like if any accused is charged for theft then there is no need to explain the way of committing offence to the accused but in case person is charged for perjury (offence of wilfully telling an untruth) then, it is necessary to explain which part of the statement was untrue.

Section 214 of CrPC states that the words in charge taken in sense of law under which offence is punishable i.e. in every charge words used in describing an offence shall be deemed to have been used in the sense attached to them respectively by the law under which such offence is punishable.

Section 215 of CrPC deals with effect of errors i.e. any mistake committed in the particulars while preparing the charge, so these would’t be material in any of the stages, which means it will not affect the trial or the punishment till  the accused is not misleaded because of that or there is failure of justice. For example-  In a case, Supreme Court said that Sec 34 of IPC i.e. common intention is related to be understood to people related to legal affairs and academic level, so if any mistake is found under the charge related to this, the punishment of the accused wouldn’t be wrong. Also if a person has committed an offence of murder of a person named Ramesh Sharma on 2nd June but in charges the name mentioned was Suresh Sharma, so the Court found that due to this mistake the accused was not misleaded, so the punishment is justified as there is no failure of justice.

In this matter, Section 464 and Section 465 states that there will be a re-trial on that point of accused where any material mistake has been committed in the preparing charge and because of which their is failure of justice.

Section 216 of CrPC provides that Court may alter charge. This means before announcing the judgment, the court can alter the charge by adding or amending the charge either on the application of the accused or if court thinks so. If the charge so altered may affect the proceedings of the case then, the accused is sent for re-trial if Judge is of the opinion that there can be prejudice due to this with the party otherwise not. There are certain offences which requires prior sanctions, so before altering it, prior sanction has to be taken. But if for the same grounds previous sanctions has been taken then no need to take prior sanction in case of alteration done again.

Section 217 of CrPC states recall of witnesses with charge altered meaning thereby parties will get right to re-summon or re-examine the witnesses again after alteration of charge. But if Court is of opinion that this re-examination will only waste the precious time of the Court then Court may not allow that.

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