SUMMARY TRIALS by Harsh Vardhan Chaturvedi @lexcliq

Summary Trials are the trials which are speedily disposed and with the simplified procedure of
recording the trials. The principle of the summary trial 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 and not
in conducting the proceedings. The proceedings in every case have to be done cautiously and
prudently. A summary trial implies that the case is tried and disposed at once. Such a trial is not
available to cases which are complicated and require a lengthy process of inquiry. The access to
summary trial even in small cases prevent a miscarriage of justice which would have otherwise taken
several years to complete the proceedings.

Section 260 to 265 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) deals with the provisions
related to summary trials.
Power to try Summarily
Section 260 of the Code confers any Chief Judicial Magistrate,Metropolitan Magistrate and
Magistrate of the first class with the power to try trial summarily. However, a Magistrate of the first
class in order to try summarily has to take special permission from the High Court. As per section
261, any High Court may empower any Magistrate of the second class to try summarily any offence
punishable only with fine or with imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months with or without
fine and any attempt or abetment of such offences.
Offences which can be tried Summarily
A Magistrate who is empowered to trial summarily, if thinks fit may try all or any of the following
offences summarily:

1. Offences which are not punishable with death or imprisonment with life or imprisonment
for a term exceeding 2 years;

2. Offences relating to theft prescribed under sections 379, 380 and 381 of the Indian Penal
Code (IPC), where the stolen property is not valued more than two thousand rupees;
3. Offences relating to receiving or retaining any stolen property, under section 411 of the
IPC, where the value of the property does not exceed two thousand rupees;
4. Assisting in the concealment or disposal of any stolen property as prescribed under
section 414 of the IPC, where the value of such property does not exceed two thousand
5. Offences which are embodied under sections 454 and 456 of the IPC;
6. An offence relating to insulting with intent to provoke a breach of peace, under section
504 of the IPC;
7. The offence as prescribed under section 506 of the IPC relating to criminal intimidation
punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years or with fine or with
8. Any abetment of the abovementioned offences;
9. Any attempt to commit the above mentioned offences, where the attempt of such offence
is punishable;
10. Any offence committed within the meaning of section 20 of the Cattle – Trespass
Act, 1871 [1] .

It is the discretionary power of the Magistrate to try specified offence in a summary way. Section 260
of the Code only does not empower the Magistrate to try such cases which he is not competent to try.
It empowers him to try the cases that he is already competent to try by a particular procedure. [2]  The
subsection (2) of 260 provides that any witness can be recalled for examining and to re-hear when it
appears necessary to the Magistrate that the case should not be tried summarily.  If the mode of the
trial is sought to be altered in the midstream on the ground that the offence is such which cannot be
tried in a summary way, the trial must from its inception be conducted in a regular manner. [3]

Offences to be tried summarily need not be punishable under the Penal Code, offences under special
or local Acts can be tried summarily if they fulfil the condition of punishment laid down. [4]
Procedure for Summary Trials

The provisions of section 262 of the Code are imperative and a breach thereof amounts an illegality
and not an irregularity. [5]  Section 262 (1) strictly provides that the procedure for summary trials
shall be conducted as per the procedure established for conducting the trials of summons-case, except
otherwise provided. Adherence to this provision has to be done irrespective of the nature of the case,
that is, whether it is a warrant-case or summons-case. Further, it prohibited by section 262 (2) of the
Code to pass any sentence of imprisonment for a term exceeding 3 months for any conviction in
respect of summary trials. A sentence exceeding the period fixed by this section is illegal. [6]  In the
case of Asghar Ali, [7]  it was held that the limit of imprisonment refers only to the substantive
sentence, not to an alternative sentence of imprisonment in default of payment of a fine. A magistrate
can impose a sentence of imprisonment in default of payment of fine in addition to the maximum
sentence of three months imprisonment which he has imposed for the offence.

This sub-section only imposes a limit as to imprisonment and not as to the amount of fine to be


My name is Harsh vardhan chaturvedi. I belong to Agra (Uttar Pradesh). I am currently pursing B.Tech in Computer Science with LLB (Hons.) specialisation in Cyber Laws. I am a self motivated person. I have been in situations where i was not having any motivation to proceed further. Like choosing a branch such as cyber law where your parents are also not sure about the future of the branch. Motivating yourself to move further in this field of law is a great example of self motivation. A person who does not have any legal background motivating himself for this course which involves study of two different areas itself is a challenging task. I am very good at managing tasks as i have been the Event head of UURJA i.e fest of UPES. I try to take part in every activity whether it is curricular, co-curricular or extra curricular. I believe a person should not only focus on academics but also focus on other activities for overall development. I have great legal drafting skills. In my free time i love to portrait landscape . My hobbies includes travelling and photography. I believe travelling make you learn how one should never stop when they want to reach their goal. Travelling are challenging but one should never look back once started. Hence each treks and travel has always taught me something. I have always been a fan of movies which calms you down. I have a passion for everything i do and i believe this passion makes me going.

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