Summary trials are the trials which are speedily disposed with the simplified procedure of recording the trials.
The principle of summary trials is based on the legal maxim “Justice delayed is Justice denied.”
It is important to note that the summary is only in recording the proceedings & not in conducting the proceedings.
Section 260 to Section 265 of the Code of Criminal procedure, 1973 deals with provisions related to summary trials.
In a summary trial only, small offences are tried and complicated cases are reserved for summons or warrant trials.
The main purpose of summarily trials is to expeditiously dispose of cases as the caseload on the judiciary is immense & continues to grow.
Section 260 of the Code confers any Chief Judicial Magistrate, Metropolitan Magistrate & Magistrate of first class with the power to try trial summarily.
The High Court empowers any Chief Judicial Magistrate, any Metropolitan Magistrate, any Magistrate of the first class to summarily.
A Magistrate of the First Class in order to try summarily has to take special permission from High Court.
Section 261 & 262 provide the type of cases that can be heard by first class & second class judges respectively:
For JMFC & metropolitan Magistrate:
- Offences which cannot be punished with the death penalty, life imprisonment or imprisonment exceeding 2 years.
- Theft provided in section 37, 380, & 381 of the IPC as long as the value of item stolen does not exceed 200 rupees.
- Receiving or retaining any stolen property under 200 Rs. Given in section 411 of IPC.
- Lurking, trespass breaking in of houses under section 454 of IPC.
- Assisting in the concealment of any stolen property under 200Rs. Given in 414 of IPC.
- Criminal intimidation & insult with intent to provoke under section 504 & 506 respectively.
- Abatement of any of the above offences will also be tried in a summary trial.
- Offences which can be punished with imprisonment of less than 6 months or without a fine.
- Any offences that can be punished with a fine.
- Abatement or attempt to commit the above offences.
Procedure followed in summary cases
Section 262 of code of criminal procedure provides that a summary trial will follow the same procedure as a summons trial.
Registration of FIR & investigation.
The accused is brought or appears before a Magistrate & the particulars of the offences must be clearly conveyed to the accused.
Conviction in case of guilty plea: the Magistrate records the statement of the accused & the accused may be convicted at the discretion of the magistrate.
Conviction in case of plea of not guilty: the proceedings continue with the trial. The Magistrate hears both the prosecution & the accused. He also examine all witnesses to the case.
What is to be recorded in Summary trials?
According to section 263 of Crpc following particulars are recorded
- Serial number of case.
- The date on which the offence was committed.
- The date on which the complaint was made.
- The name of parents.
- The name & address of the accused.
- The offence & the value of the property that was stolen.
- The plea of the accused & if he has stolen examined then such examination as well.
- The findings of the Magistrate.
- The sentence or the final order of the Magistrate.
- The date on which the legal proceedings come to an end.
Language of record & Judgment:
- Every record and judgment written in the language of the court.
- The High Court empowers any Magistrate to try offences summarily to prepare the aforesaid record or judgment or both by means of an officer appointed in this behalf by the Chief judicial Magistrate, & the record or judgment so prepared shall be signed by such Magistrate.
- The accused may either be acquitted or he may be convicted. If he is acquitted, the Magistrate will record an order of acquittal.
- In every case tried summarily in which the accused does not lead guilty, the Magistrate shall record the substance of the evidence & a judgment containing a brief statement of the reasons for the finding.
- In summary trials a convict can’t be sentenced to imprisonment for a period of time longer than 3 months.
- A summary trial the Magistrate does not have to frame formal charges against the accused but in other trials a formal charge sheet has to be drawn up.
- The judgment of the Magistrate in cases where the accused pleads not guilty will only include the following according to section 264 of CrPC
- The substance of the evidences provided.
- Briefly statement of the reasons why such a finding has been reached by the Magistrate.