PROCEDURE FOR PLEA BARGAINING, ERWIN THOMAS WILSON@LexCliq

Chapter XXIA Section 265A to 265L and brought the concept of plea bargaining in India. The following are provisions which it added:-

  • Section 265-A (Application of Chapter) the plea bargaining shall be available to the accused who is charged with any offense other than offenses punishable with death or imprisonment or for life or of imprisonment for a term exceeding seven years. Section 265 A (2) of the Code gives the power to notify the offenses to the Central Government.
    The Central Government issued Notification No. SO1042 (II) dated 11-7/2006 specifying the offenses affecting the socio-economic condition of the country.
  • Section 265-B (Application for Plea Bargaining)
  1. A person accused of an offense may file the application of plea bargaining in trials that are pending.
  2. The application for plea bargaining is to be filed by the accused containing brief details about the case relating to which such application is filed. It includes the offenses to which the case relates and shall be accompanied by an affidavit sworn by the accused stating therein that he has voluntarily preferred the application, the plea bargaining the nature and extent of the punishment provided under the law for the offense, the plea bargaining in his case that he has not previously been convicted by a court in a case in which he had been charged with the same offense.
  3. The court will thereafter issue the notice to the public prosecutor concerned, investigating officer of the case, the victim of the case, and the accused of the date fixed for the plea bargaining.
  4. When the parties appear, the court shall examine the accused in-camera wherein the other parties in the case shall not be present, with the motive to satisfy itself that the accused has filed the application voluntarily.
  • Section 265-C (Guidelines for Mutually satisfactory disposition) lays down the procedure to be followed by the court in mutually satisfactory disposition. In a case instituted on a police report, the court shall issue the notice to the public prosecutor concerned, investigating officer of the case, and the victim of the case, and the accused to participate in the meeting to work out a satisfactory disposition of the case. In a complaint case, the Court shall issue a notice to the accused and the victim of the case.
  • Section 265-D (Report of the mutually satisfactory disposition) This provision talks about the preparation of the report of mutually satisfactory disposition and submission of the same. Two situations may arise here namely:
  1. If in a meeting under section 265-C, a satisfactory disposition of the case has been worked out, the report of such disposition is to be prepared by the court. It shall be signed by the presiding officer of the Courts and all other persons who participated in the meeting.
  2. If no such disposition has been worked out, the Court shall record such observation and proceed further in accordance with the provisions of this Code from the stage the application under sub-section (1) of section 265-B has been filed in such case.
  • Section 265-E (Disposal of the case) prescribes the procedure to be followed in disposing of the cases when a satisfactory disposition of the case is worked out. After completion of proceedings under Section 265-D, by preparing a report signed by the presiding officer of the Court and parties in the meeting, the Court has to hear the parties on the quantum of the punishment or accused entitlement of release on probation of good conduct or after admonition. Court can either release the accused on probation under the provisions of Section 360 of the Code or under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 or under any other legal provisions in force or punish the accused, passing the sentence. While punishing the accused, the Court, at its discretion, can pass a sentence of minimum punishment, if the law provides such minimum punishment for the offenses committed by the accused or if such minimum punishment is not provided, can pass a sentence of one-fourth of the punishment provided for such offense. ”
  • Section 265-F (Judgment of the Court) talks about the pronouncement of judgment in terms of mutually satisfactory disposition.
  • Section 265-G (Finality of Judgment) says that no appeal shall be against such judgment but Special Leave Petition (Article 136) or writ petition (under Article 226 or 227) can be filed.
  • Section 265-H (Power of the Court in Plea Bargaining) talks about the powers of the court in plea bargaining. These powers include powers in respect of bail, the trial of offenses, and other matters relating to the disposal of a case in such court under the Criminal Procedure Code.
  • Section 265-I (Period of detention undergone by the accused to be set off against the sentence of imprisonment) says that Section 428 of CrPC is applicable for setting off the period of detention undergone by the accused against the sentence of imprisonment imposed under this chapter.
  • 265-J (Savings) talks about the provisions of the chapter which shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other provisions of the Code and nothing in such other provisions shall be construed to contain the meaning of any provision of chapter XXI-A.
  • Section 265-K (Statement of the accused to be used) specifies that the statements or facts stated by the accused in an application under section 265-B shall not be used for any other purpose except for the purpose as mentioned in the chapter.
  • Section 265-L (Non-application of the chapter) makes it clear that this chapter will not be applicable in case of any juvenile or child as defined in Section 2(k) of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

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