What is the concept of code of criminal procedure (CrPC)? What is its history? What are the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure? What is the importance of the Criminal Procedure Code? Read further to know more.
The fundamental set of laws governing the administration of substantive criminal law is the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The criminal law in our legal system is principally included in the Code of Criminal Process, 1973, which went into effect on April 1, 1974.
The 1973 Criminal Process Code is divided into 37 Chapters, 484 Sections, and two Schedules. Criminal law’s principal objective is to safeguard society from criminals and lawbreakers.
Concept of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)
- The 1973 Code of Criminal Process establishes the necessary machinery for apprehending offenders, investigating criminal cases, putting them before Criminal Courts, and punishing the guilty individual.
- It specifies crimes and imposes punishments, whereas procedural law is in charge of implementing substantive law.
- The whole framework of the Criminal Process Code is based on three fundamental considerations:
- A fair trial should be provided to an accused individual in accordance with acknowledged natural justice standards.
- Every effort should be taken to avoid inquiry and trial delays, which are harmful to the individuals involved and society.
- The procedure should be simple and, to the greatest extent feasible, secure a fair deal for the community’s poorer members.
- The Code establishes the hierarchy of criminal courts in which particular offences can be tried, as well as the maximum penalties that such courts may inflict.
- The aim outlined above will be accomplished if all state functionaries collaborate with coordination, commitment, and integrity.
History Background of the Criminal Procedure Code
- The first version of the Code of Criminal Process was enacted in 1861, following the passing of the Indian Penal Code in 1860.
Act 10 of 1882 superseded the Code.
- Sixteen statutes relating to the criminal procedure have been passed since 1882.
- The Code of Criminal Procedure replaced it once more in 1898.
- The Code of Criminal Process Amendment Act of 1923 then updated the 1898 statute.
- In its 14th Report (1958), the First Law Commission presented significant suggestions for criminal justice reform.
- The recommendations of the committee were taken into consideration, and the Code was changed.
- Parliament passed the 1973 Code of Criminal Process in response to the recommendations of the Fifth Law Commission’s Forty-First Report.
Types of Offences
They include cognizable offences, non-cognizable offences, bailable offences, and non-bailable offences.
- Cognizable offence: An offence for which a police officer may arrest without a warrant under the provisions of the First Schedule or any other applicable legislation at the time.
- Non-cognizable Offense: An offence for which a police officer does not have the authority to arrest without a warrant.
- Bailable offence: An offence specified in the First Schedule or made bailable under any other existing law.
- Non-bailable offence: A non-bailable offence is a serious offence for which the accused is not eligible for bail. Only by court order can the accused be freed on bond for this offence.
Trial in accordance with the CrPC
- Sessions cases are cases in which the penalty for the offences involved is death, life in prison, or more than seven years in prison. If the case has been forwarded by the magistrate or the crime has been committed, the trial will be handled by a Sessions Court.
- A summons case is one that involves an offence but is not a warranty case.
- A warrant case is one in which an offence is punishable by death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for more than two years.
Summary trials are generally those types of trials in which rapid justice must be provided, i.e. matters that must be settled promptly and with a reduced process.
Other Fundamental Ideas
- FIR (First Information Report): In criminal proceedings, it is a crucial document and piece of evidence. On the basis of the First Information Report, the inquiry is continuing in court. The information given to a police officer and reduced to paper as required by Section 154 of the CrPC is referred to as first information.
- Officer in Charge of a Police Station: The officer in charge of the police station plays an important role in the inquiry. In his absence, the officer in charge at the station is the officer next in rank to him.
- Complaint: Any oral or written complaint submitted to a Magistrate with the goal of causing him to take action under the CrPC.The police report, however, is not a complaint.
- Police Report: A report forwarded to a police station by a police officer or, more particularly, by the State Government, and includes any local region defined by the State Government in this regard.
- Investigation: Any proceedings under this Code for the collecting of evidence performed by a police officer or any person (other than a Magistrate) who is authorised in this role by a Magistrate are referred to as investigations.
Also read: First Information Report (FIR)
Provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure
The following are addressed by this Code:
- Offence prevention (Sections 106-124, 129-132, and 144-153)
- Wives, children, and parents’ maintenance (Sections 125- 128)
- Public nuisances (Sections 133- 143).
- The High Court possesses inherent powers, which have been largely codified by the passage of Section 482 of this Code.
- If the Court judges that the Code lacks particular provisions to suit the exigencies of any circumstance, the court of law has inherent competence to shape the procedure in order to give such orders as the interests of justice may need.
- Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 (CrPC) empowers an Executive Magistrate to impose an order in an emergency case of nuisance or suspected danger.
- Articles 397 to 405 of the Code contain provisions relating to the higher courts’ revisionary jurisdiction and the mechanism by which the higher courts exercise this jurisdiction.
The Importance of the Criminal Procedure Code
- It guarantees a fair trial in which no accused’s rights are violated or they are unfairly rewarded.
- The presence of relevant parties at the trial is critical to ensuring that all relevant parties are heard by the court.
- As a result, an entire chapter of the Code is dedicated to the process of guaranteeing the attendance of any person engaged in the case, including an accused or a witness, by various methods such as summons, warrant, proclamation, and property attachment.
- The right to personal liberty is the foundation of criminal law, and no one can be denied this right unless there are strong reasons to reject his release.
- The code applies to Supreme Court and High Court Magistrates and Judges, as well as Police, Public Prosecutors, Defence Counsel, and Correctional Services Workers.
- It sets up the machinery for detecting crime, apprehending suspected criminals, gathering evidence, determining the guilt or innocence of the suspected person, and imposing suitable punishment on the guilty person.
Limits in the Criminal Procedure Code
- The existing system has been beset by a number of issues, resulting in a significant performance disparity on a constant basis. When we look at the problems in today’s criminal justice system, we find the following:
- Overcrowding in jails and other facilities; the domination of money and power; an unholy relationship between criminal syndicates, politicians, and law authorities; victim-ignorance; systemic corruption.
- For a variety of reasons, Section 144 is regularly questioned.
- It is claimed that the Executive Magistrate’s powers under the Section, which are fully discretionary, can be utilised arbitrarily and with malicious purposes.
- It’s also been accused of being used by the government to stifle dissent and hinder protests.
- However, there has also been criticism made of the widespread restriction of internet access, with issues raised about the legality of this.
The Criminal procedure code is not wholly procedural law in its natural condition. It is a cross between an adjective and substantive law. The majority of the code is procedural law, however, there is some substantive law, albeit little.
The CrPC is a comprehensive law designed to provide due process to the accused by laying down a method for cognizance, arrest, bail, collecting of evidence, trial and finding of innocence or guilt. The mechanism established is essentially a procedure to ensure that individuals’ rights are preserved against the strong state apparatus.
Read: Revised Criminal Laws
Article Written By: Atheena Fathima Riyas