CrPC Bare Act (Code of Criminal Procedure Act), 1973 An Overview

The Code of Civil Procedure got enacted before independence. The CrPc Act was passed for the first time in 1859 as Act No.8 of 1859. Following that, in 1860, 1861, 1878, 1879, and 1882, the Code got revised multiple times. Following these several revisions, the Code of Civil Procedure ultimately got re-enacted in 1908, and it went into effect on January 1, 1909. It was also given a makeover in 1976 due to a substantial amendment.

The Code of Criminal Procedure is India’s primary legislation on administering substantive criminal law. It establishes the machinery for investigating crimes, apprehending suspected criminals, gathering evidence, determining guilt or innocence of the accused, and imposing punishment on the guilty.

Need for a Criminal Procedure Law

There are many branches of law. The two essential branches of law are substantial law and procedural law. By procedural law, it means the course taken for law procedure. Substantive law talks about rights. Meanwhile, procedural law mentions remedies. Salmond stated that The Law of Procedure is the branch of the law that governs the process of litigation. It is a law of action. The Substantive Law relates not to the litigation process but the subject matter.

Definition: Procedural Law is that branch of law that prescribes methods for enforcing rights or obtaining redress for their invasion; machinery for carrying on a Suit.

  • Examples of Procedural laws in India
  • The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908;
  • Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973;
  • Indian Evidence Act, 1872;
  • Limitation Act, 1963;
  • The Court Fees Act 1870;
  • The Suits Valuation Act, 1887;

Procedural Law provides the rules with the help of ‘which law is enforced’. It determines what facts constitute proof of a wrong. The Procedural Law describes the methods and requirements of applying remedies to violated rights. The law provides a mechanism for gathering evidence by police and judges, conducting searches, arrests, bail, and presenting evidence at trial and process of sentencing. The law of action includes all civil or criminal legal proceedings.

Criminal Procedure Code 1973

The Full form of CrPC is Criminal Procedure Code. The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is a procedural criminal law enacted for administering substantive law in India. The law passed on 1st April 1973 provides the procedure for the investigation of crime, apprehension of suspected criminals, evidence collection, determination of guilt or innocence of the person and determination of punishment of the accused person. It also has provisions for public nuisance, prevention of offences and maintenance of wife, children and parents.

Purpose of CrPC Bare Act: The Criminal Procedure Code of India, also known as the Code of Criminal Procedure of India (CrPC Bare Act is an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to Criminal Procedure.

SALIENT FEATURES OF THE CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

The Cr.P.C. comprises 484 Sections and XXXVII Chapters. The purpose of the law is to investigate, inquire and try the offences prescribed in IPC. CrPC does not affect any particular laws, local laws, jurisdiction or special powers included in other laws. Some of the basic features of Cr.P.C. get described below.

  • The organisation of Criminal Courts: The Cr.P.C. implements a uniform set of criminal courts throughout the territory of India by conferring jurisdiction, powers and functions.
  • Fair Trial: Under Cr.P.C. Every person is entitled to a fair trial. The accused is presumed to be innocent until the charges get proved against him.
  • Protection to the accused person: Special provisions are made to protect the interest of the accused person (D.K.Basu v. State of West Bengal, AIR 1997 SC 610).
  • Special Provision for the protection of the accused person: The accused is provided with free legal aid if he is poor and cannot afford the litigation costs. The accused can even plead guilty by post and send the fine amount specified in the summons to the court in petty cases.
  • Judicial Magistrates are under the direction of High Courts: All Judicial Magistrates shall work under the control of High Courts of the respective states.
  • Trial Procedure: Procedure for trial of summary cases shall be the same as that for summons cases except for some cases. The Court of Sessions has also been given the power to exercise the revisory jurisdiction and the High Courts.
  • Duty of the Police: If the police officer declines to report information about the commission of the crime, the aggrieved person has the right to send the message by post to the superintendent of the police.

Important Definitions in CrPC Bare Act

  • Bailable offence: Bailable offence means an offence described as bailable in the First Schedule of the Act. It also includes which is made bailable by any other law for the time being in force.
  • Cognisable offence: Cognizable offence means an offence for which, and “cognisable case” means a case in which a police officer may, following the First Schedule or under any other law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant.
  • High Court:
    1. Concerning any State, the High Court for that State;
    2. Concerning a Union territory to which the jurisdiction of the High Court for a State has been extended by law, that High Court;
    3. Concerning any other Union territory, the highest Court of criminal appeal for that territory other than the Supreme Court of India.
  • Warrant-case: A case relating to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years
  • Summons-case: A case relating to an offence and not being a warrant case

Major CrPC Sections in CrPC Bare Act

Section 2(b): Charge under CrPC

“charge” includes any head of ‘charge’ when the charge contains more heads than one;

Explanation: For example, Anish murdered Bikash. He also committed house dwelling theft, robbery, grievous, hurt, etc. In this case, the Magistrate charges the accused with these offences. These offences are known as heads of charges, and individually, these get referred to as ‘charge’. It gets mentioned in section 2(b) of the Act.

Content of Charge (Section 211 Crpc)

  1. It must state the offence charged to the accused.
  2. The offence must be specified in the charge by name.
  3. The definition of the offence must get stated if it does not give any specific name.
  4. The Act and section of the Act regarding the offence committed must be mentioned in the charge.
  5. The charge shall be written in the language of the Court.

Alteration of Charge by Court (Section 216 CrPC)

Any Court may alter or add to any charge at any time before judgment is pronounced.

Every such alteration or addition shall be read and explained to the accused.

If the alteration or addition to a charge is such that proceeding immediately with the trial is not likely, in the opinion of the Court, to prejudice the accused in his defence or the prosecutor in the conduct of the case, the Court may, in its discretion, after such alteration or addition has been made, proceed with the trial as if the altered or added charge had been the original charge.

SECTION 6 CRPC: Classes of Criminal Courts: Besides the High Courts and the Courts constituted under any law, other than this Code, there shall be, in every State, the following classes of Criminal Courts, namely:—

  1. Courts of Session;
  2. Judicial Magistrates of the first class and, in any metropolitan area, Metropolitan Magistrates;
  3. Judicial Magistrates of the second class; and
  4. Executive Magistrates.

Section 125 Of CrPC

Section 125 of CrPC is the most controversial and discussed topic in India. The main essence of the provision is that any person who has sufficient means to maintain himself cannot deny maintenance to his wife, parents and children.

Supreme Court in the case of Mohd. Ahmed Khan v Shah Bano Begum delivered a judgment favouring Shah Bano (Aggrieved Muslim married woman) by providing maintenance to her.

Section 125 of CrPC: Order for maintenance of wives, children and parents.—(1) If any person having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain— (a) his wife, unable to maintain herself, or (b) his legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not, unable to maintain itself, or (c) his legitimate or illegitimate child (not being a married daughter) who has attained majority, where such child is, because of any physical or mental abnormality or injury unable to maintain itself, or (d) his father or mother, unable to maintain himself or herself,

Provided that:

A Magistrate of the first class may, upon proof of such neglect or refusal, order such person to make a monthly allowance for the maintenance of his wife or such child, father or mother, at such monthly rate as such Magistrate thinks fit and to pay the same to such person as the Magistrate may from time to time direct: Provided that the Magistrate may order the father of a minor female child referred to in clause (b) to make such allowance until she attains her majority if the Magistrate is satisfied that the husband of such little female child if married, is not possessed of sufficient means:

Explanation

Eligibility for claiming maintenance

Section 125 of Cr.PC deals with the maintenance of wives, children and parents. According to Section 125(1), the following persons can claim maintenance.

  • Wife from his husband,
  • Legitimate or illegitimate minor child from his father,
  • Legitimate or illegitimate minor child (physical or mental abnormality) from his father, and
  • Father or mother from his son or daughter.

Grounds for claiming Maintenance for Women:

A wife can claim and receive maintenance from her husband in the below-stated conditions:

Muslim married women can also claim maintenance under Cr.PC though they have a separate personal law (Muslim Women Protection of rights on Marriage Act).

Exceptions: A wife can not claim maintenance from her husband in the following conditions:

  • Wife is living in adultery, or
  • She declines to live with her husband without any valid reasons, or
  • Both Husband and wife are living separately by mutual consent.

Necessary provisions for granting maintenance

Some conditions should be met for claiming and granting maintenance:

  1. Sufficient means for maintenance must be there.
  2. Neglect or refusal to maintain after the demand for maintenance.
  3. The person claiming maintenance must not be able to maintain himself/herself.
  4. Quantum of maintenance depends on the standard of living.

Section 154 CrPC: Information in cognisable cases: Every information relating to the commission of a cognisable offence, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction and be read over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf:

Provided further that—

  1. (a) if the person against whom an offence under section 354, section 354A, section 354B, section 354C, section 354D, section 376, section 376A, section 376B, section 376C, section 376D, section 376E or section 509 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) gets alleged to have been committed or attempted, is temporarily or permanently mentally or physically disabled, then such information shall be recorded by a police officer, at the residence of the person seeking to report such offence or at a convenient place of such person’s choice, in the presence of an interpreter or a special educator, as the case may be;
  2. (b) the recording of such information shall be video graphed; (c) the police officer shall get the statement of the person recorded by a Judicial Magistrate under clause (a) of sub-section (5A) of section 164; as soon as possible.]
    Section 154 (2): A copy of the information as recorded under sub-section (1)shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.
    Section 154(3): Any person aggrieved by a refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to record the information referred to in sub-section (1) may send the substance of such information, in writing and by post, to the Superintendent of Police concerned who, if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognisable offence, shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him, in the manner provided by this Code, and such officer shall have all the powers of an officer in charge of the police station about that offence.

Explanation:

Section 154 (1) CrPC clarifies that any information relating to the performance of a cognisable offence if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station shall get lessened to writing by himself or under his direction. All such information, whether in writing or reduced to writing, shall be signed by the person who provides it.

Section 154 (3) CrPC illustrates that a complaint shall be given in writing or by post to the Superintendent of Police if any person gets oppressed by a refusal of an officer in charge of a police station to record the information. The Superintendent of Police, upon receipt of such a complaint, if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognisable offence, shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him, in the manner provided by this Code.

Section 155 CrPC: Information about non-cognizable cases and investigation of such cases.—

  1. When information is given to an officer in charge of a police station of the commission within the limits of such station of a non-cognizable offence, he shall enter or cause to be entered the substance of the information in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf, and refer the informant to the Magistrate.
  2. No police officer shall investigate a non-cognizable case without the order of a Magistrate having the power to try such a case or commit the case for trial.
  3. Any police officer receiving such an order may exercise the same powers regarding the investigation (except the power to arrest without warrant) as an officer in charge of a police station may exercise in a cognisable case.
  4. Where a case relates to two or more offences of which at least one is cognisable, the case shall get deemed to be a cognisable case, notwithstanding that the other offences are non-cognizable.

Section 482 CrPC: Nothing in this Code shall get deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.

This section bestows the High Court with an inherent power to quash an FIR or a complaint upon satisfying well-established parameters. The exercise of power under this section is an exception and not a rule. The High Court may exercise its inherent powers ( State of Karnataka v. Muniswamy AIR 1977 SC 1489)

  1. To give effect to an order under the Code.
  2. To prevent abuse of the process of Court.
  3. To otherwise secure the ends of justice.

The court in the case of Prashant Bharti v. State of NCT of Delhi held that if the answer to all the following questions was in support, then the Court shall quash the proceedings by exercising its power under Section 482 of CrPC;

  1. Whether the material relied upon by the accused is sound, reasonable, and indubitable?
  2. Whether the material relied upon by the accused is sufficient to reject and overrule the factual assertions contained in the complaint?
  3. The prosecution has not refuted whether the material relied upon by the accused?
  4. Whether proceeding with the trial would result in an abuse of court proceedings?
  5. Whether it would not serve the ends of justice?

Conclusion

CrPC Act provides that Every person is allowed a fair trial and hearing by an independent and unbiased Tribunal. The accused gets considered innocent until the charges against him get proved. The accused has the right to be represented by his counsel. The accused also has a right to cross-examine the witnesses of the opposite party.

FAQs Regarding CrPc Act

In which condition police can arrest a person without a warrant?

When a person has committed an offence for which he is punishable with imprisonment for more than 7 years.

According to CrPC, inherent powers get vested with?

The High Court

When was the CrPC first enacted?

CrPC got first enacted in 1859.

Under which section it is mandatory to maintain a case diary?

Section 172 of CrPC

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