Trial before Court of Session

Initial stage

According to section 193 of Cr PC the court of session is barred from taking any cognizance of offences directly. Being a highest criminal court in a district the session court is only permitted to take cases, if the Magistrate commits it, or if it acts as a special Court Section 190 of the act gives power to magistrate to take any cognizance of an offence, and further as per section 209, he can commit the case to the session court without any proceeding in his court of under section 223 after beginning of the proceeding in his court Ones the case is committed by the magistrate, he must supply the documents like FIR, Statements recorded by police and magistrate, police report cte to the accuse, according to section 207 and 208. And under section 225 every trial before a Court of Session is conducted by a Public Prosecutor.

Prosecution

Section 226 of Cr PC states that once the accuse is appeared or brought before the session court the public prosecutor will open his case by describing the charges against the accuse and present the evidences in form of summery by which he will proof the guilt of the accuse

Discharge

Under section 227 of Cr. PC the court after considering the documents and records, hearing the prosecutor and the accuse on the respective matter, if finds that there is no sufficient ground to proceed further against the accuse then in that case judge can discharge him. But in future if any valid facts come into the scenario against the accuse which shows his guilt, then charges could be imposed again

State of Kamatakav. L. Muniswamy

The object of this Section is to require the Judge to give reasons for discharging the accused is to enable the superior court to examine the correctness of the reasons for which the Sessions Judge has held that there is or is not sufficient ground or not to proceed against the accused

Framing of charge

Under section 228 of Cr. PC there are two situations in which session judge could frame charges against the accuse-

  1. When he considers that the offence is exclusively triable in the court of session, that is after hearing the prosecutor and going through the documents and records along with the submitted evidences

2 When the case is considered as incompatible in the session court, that is session judge may frame the charges against the accuse and transfer the case to the chief judicial magistrate or any other judicial magistrate of first class by order. Judge shall also direct the accuse to the judicial magistrate under whom the case will be presented on the date as the he deems fit. The trial will we conducted with the procedure laid under warrant case based on police report.

Explaining the charge

One the session judge has framed the charges against the accuse, considering that the case is exclusively triable then according to section 228(2) he has to read out the charges and explain it to the accuse and ask him whether he wants to confess his guilt or claim for the trial. It is the fundamental right of the accuse to know that under what offences he has been charged and therefore it’s a duty of the judge to ensure that the charges are clearly understood by the accuse.

Conviction on plea of guilty

If the accuse plead guilty, the court under section 229 has the direction to accept the plea, But before accepting the plea the session judge must ensure that the plea has been made with free will and not inducement. Once the judge accepts the plea, he shall convict the accuse as per his discretion and must record the same but if the plea of guilt is for such offences which is punishable for death or imprisonment of life then in that scenario the court cannot convict based on the confession made by the accuse, rather the full trial is conducted.

Date for prosecution evidence

In case if the accuse denies to plea guilty or if he is not convicted under section 299 by the session judge, then under section 230 of the act the judge will fix a date for the examination of the witnesses. On the application of the prosecution, compelling the attendance of the witnesses or to produce any document a process will be issues by the judge.

Examination of witnesses

As per section 231 of Cr. PC, on the fixed date (as mentioned in section 230 of the act) the prosecution will present the evidences in his support before the session judge. Judge on his discretion can permit to postpone the cross-examination until the other witness or witnesses have been examined or recall any witness or witnesses for further cross-examination.

Ram Prasad v. State of UP (Non-examination of all eyewitnesses)

It is mandatory for the prosecution to produce all the evidences as a proof of his pleading, but it’s not a general rule. Non-examination of any witness depends on the facts and circumstances of the prosecution’s case. If the enough number of eyewitnesses have been examined and their evidences are relatable and sufficient to convict the accused, then in that set-up he could refrain from examining other witnesses.

State of Kerala v. Rasheed

The court has interpreted the factors to check the balance between the rights of the accuse and leading of evidence by the prosecution while exercising section 231(2) of the act-

  1. undue influencing the accuse,
  2. threats,
  3. in case if the court believe that, statement of any witness could influence the other witnesses in that case the court could order the examination of that witness in the last.
  4. if there is a memory loss of any witness then his examination will be conducted at the last

Order of the acquittal

When the trial procedure is completed, that is

  1. taking evidences,
  2. examining the witnesses,
  3. hearing both the parties.

if the judge considers that there are no evidences which shows that the offence is committed by the accuse, then under section 232 of the act the judge will record the order in the favor of accuse for his acquittal.

Entering upon defense

If section 232 of the act is not applicable on the accuse, then under section 233 of Cr PC he must present evidences in his support to show his innocence. In case if he submitted their evidence in the written form then judge shall file it with the record.

If the accuse plead for presenting witnesses in favor of his case in the court or to produce any document session judge shall issue such process under section 233(3) of the act. And if the judge considers that, this plead is made to delay, purpose of vexation justice he shall refuse and record the reason of refusal defeating the end of

Arguments

After the completion of examination of witnesses from the defense side, under section 234 of the act, the prosecutor will sum up his case and accuse or his pleader will be permitted to give a reply, if any point of law in raised in the reply, then prosecutor with the permission of the court may make his submission regarding the point of law.

After hearing the argument from both the parties, judgement will be given by the court where accuse will be either acquitted or convicted.

Judgment of acquittal or conviction

Once the argument is completed between prosecution and defendant, that is, after listening all the point of law and examination of witnesses under section 235 of the act, the session judge will pronounce the judgement. If the accuse is found guilty then he will be convicted and if not the acquitted.

Section 235(2) of the act states that if the accuse is found guilty and convicted, and the judge not proceeded according to the provisions of section 360 of Cr.PC then it is mandatory to hear the accuse on the question of sentence (character of the offender, circumstances of offence and the nature of offence) and then pass the sentence accordingly.

Santa Singh v. State of Punjab

The Apex court ruled that judge should first pass the sentence of acquittal or conviction. If the accuse is convicted, then the court must hear the question of sentence and only after that pass the sentence against him.

Previous conviction

If the accuse is previously convicted under section 211(7) Cr PC and it has not been admitted i during the proceeding then the judge after passing the sentence of conviction against the accuse under section 229 or 235 may call for the evidences related to the previous conviction according to section 236 of the act, and shall record the finding, in case the accuse is liable for enhanced punishment or different punishment. According to the proviso of the section such charges will not be read out nor any plea will be accepted by the judge nor shall prosecution refer to such conviction.

Procedures in case of defamation of high dignitaries and public servants

Under section 199(2) of the act, if any offence of defamation is committed against the person who is President of India, the Vice President of India. Governor of a State, or any public servant in the Union or State at that time when the complain was made by the public prosecutor in writing the Court of Session may take cognizance of that offence without the case being committed to it.

Now, section 237 of the act, gives the procedure of trial when the session court take the cognizance of the offence under section 199(2). Therefore, according to this provision, the trial should not be instituted on the police report. The session court will proceed this trial in the manner of warrant cases.

According to the proviso of section 237(1), the person against whom the offence has been committed can be examined as a witness for the prosecution, unless the court record any reason or give any other directions.

Sub-section 2 of this provision says that if either of the parties want or on the discretion of the court, this trial proceeding could be done under the camera.

Sub-section 3 gives the power to the court to discharge or acquits the accuse, if it believes that the allegation made by the other party in not reasonable. And direct the victim (other than the President, Vice-President or the Governor of a State or the Administrator of a Union territory) to show cause why he should not give compensation to the accuse.

The compensation amount should not be more than rupees one thousand after considering the satisfactory ground and recording the reason for the same. The amount of the compensation and recovery should be same as imposed by the magistrate Paying to compensation by the person will not be exempted from any civil or criminal liability. If sum of amount is paid to the accuse before than it shall be taken in consideration.

A person can also appeal to the High Court against the order of the Court under this Section

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