In India the concept of Plea Bargaining was not the part of law until 2006. It was introduced that in 2006 as a part of a set of amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code as Chapter XXI-A, containing Sections 265A to 265L for Plea Bargaining. In India, Plea Bargaining in Cr.P.C has certainly changed the face of the Indian Criminal Justice System. It is applicable in respect of those offences whose punishment is up to a period of 7 years.
DEFINATION OF PLEA BARGANING
A “plea bargain” is a practice whereby the accused do without his right to plead not guilty and demanded a full trial and instead uses a right to negotiate for the benefit of the accused. Plea bargaining is a pretrial negotiation whereby the accused agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a certain concessions by the prosecution. It is not available for all types of criminal cases e.g. a person cannot claim plea bargaining after committing any cognizable cases or for the crimes which are punishable with death or life imprisonment.
SALIENT FEATURES OF PLEA BARGAINING
- It is only applicable in those offences for which punishment is up to a period of 7 years.
- It does not apply to cases where the offence is committed against a woman or a child below 14 years of the age of the accused.
- When a court passes an order in case of plea bargaining no appeal shall lie to any court against the order of Plea Bargaining.
- It reduces the charge.
- It dropdown multiple counts and presses only one charge.
- It makes a recommendation to the courts about punishment or sentence of the Plea Bargaining.
REASONS FOR INTRODUCING THIS CONCEPT IN INDIA
- Speedy disposal of criminal cases i.e. reduction in heavy backlogs.
- Less time consuming
- End of uncertainty of a case
- Saving from any kind of legal expenses of both the parties i.e. accused and state.
- Less congestion in jails
- Under present system, 75% to 90% of the criminal cases results in acquittal, in this situation it is preferred to introduce this concept in India.
- It is unfair to keep the accused with hard-core criminals because if the accused is innocent then he will accept his guilt and in this situation, it is not reasonable to be kept with them.
TYPES OF PLEA BARGAINING
There are three main types of Plea Bargaining namely,
- Charge Bargain
- Sentence Bargain
- Fact Bargain
- Charge Bargaining
Charge bargaining is most probably known type of plea bargaining. A common example is that a defendant is charged with the murder and facing decades in the prison. In this case, the prosecution might offer to drop the murder count and have him or her plead guilty as manslaughter. Because manslaughter is an act that causes death of a person but isn’t premeditated, it generally carries a lesser sentence to the crime.
- Sentence Bargaining
In contrast to a charge bargain, the defendant will be pleaded as guilty to the original crime. However, in exchange for the action of sentence bargaining, he or she will guarantee a sentence considered lesser than they might have received from a judge after a jury trial in the proceeding of the case
- Fact Bargaining
Fact bargaining is another type of plea bargaining, and many judges won’t even consider to be using it. In a fact bargain, the prosecution will agree not to release certain facts in the official court proceedings of the case.