Framing of charge

Framing of charge before Trial in the Magistrate Court

Section 242 specifies the time of framing charge by the Magistrate. On the day fixed for the trial to begin the accused appears, or is brought before the Magistrate. The Magistrate will first consider the record of the case. And he will hear the parties. Having done that if he considers the charge to be groundless, he may discharge the accused. If on the other hand, the Magistrate is of the opinion that there is a prima facie case for the accused, and he is competent to try the case, he shall frame a formal charge. The charge must contain sufficient particulars as to time, place, person and circumstances. So that the accused may have notice of the matter with which he is charged. It is very important to note that formal trial starts with the framing of charge.

Framing of Charge before Trial in the Session Court

After the opening of the prosecution case, the Session Judge will give both the sides chance to argue in favour of framing charge or discharge. After such hearing and considering the record of the case if the Judge considers that there is no sufficient ground or prima facie case for proceedings against the accused, he shall discharge the accused and record the reason for so doing. If, on the other hand, the Judge considers that there is a prima facie case against the accused, it shall frame a charge Formal trial starts with the framing of charge.

Court may alter Charge

(1)    Any Court may alter or add any change at any time before judgement is pronounced.

(2)    Every such alteration or addition shall be need and explained to the accused.

Illustration

Any court may alter or add to any charge at any time before the Judgments pronounced. Every such alteration or addition shall be read over and explained to the accused. The court shall decide according to the circumstances of the case, as to whether the trial should proceed immediately after alteration of the charge or some time is to be given to the parties. The court has discretion to alter or add to a charge framed under the code. Where in the course of the evidence an offence more aggravated than the one complained of is discovered, it is the duty of the court to charge the accused with the more aggravated offence.

    It is the duty of the Magistrate to alter or amend the charge, when in the course of a trial he finds at any time before judgement is pronounced that the trial has proceeded on imperfect or erroneous charge,

 Charge to be framed

 If, after such consideration and hearing as aforesaid, the Magistrate is of opinion that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence. The magistrate shall frame a formal charge relating to the offence of which he is accused and he shall be asked to the offence of which he is accused and he shall be asked whether he admits that he has committed the offence with which he charged.

 The Magistrate before talking any evidence but considering the provision lf section 241 A Cr. P. C shall frame charge. A charge under this section should allege all that is necessary to constitute the offence charged. The conditions for the framing of a charge are presumption of the commission of an offence on materials before the court. Charged should be framed on perusal of papers as contemplated under section 241 A Cr. P. C needs the following conditions namely: (a) the existence of a prima facie case on the basis of materials before the court (b) the offence being triable under Chapter XX (c) [7]the Magistrates competency to try and (d) the Magistrates power to inflict adequate punishment. On the fulfillment of these conditions, charge should be framed.

If, after such consideration and hearing as aforesaid, the Court is of opinion that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence, it shall frame in writing a charge against the accused. Where the Court frames a charge under sub-section (1). The charge shall be read and explained to the accused and the accused shall be asked whether he pleads guilty of the offence charged or claims to be tried section -265(D).

The charge-sheet to which the accused is called upon to plead is a very important document. It should be drawn up and considered with extreme care and caution, so that accused may have no doubt whatever as to the offences to which he is called upon to answer and the Judge of the Appellate Court also may have no doubt upon the matter. The word ‘Ground” means basis, foundation or valid reason. The whole object of framing a charge is to enable the defence to concentrate its attention on the case that he has to meet. Conditions for framing of a charge are (i) presumption of the commission of an offence on the materials before the court (7 CWN 512) and (ii) offences triable exclusively by a Court of Session.

Special law prevails over this section                                                 

Where a special law is applicable the provisions of that law cannot be ignored. Therefore, where the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Ordinance are applicable, resort to the provisions of section 242 is illegal.

(1) If, after such consideration and hearing as aforesaid, the Court is of opinion that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence, it shall frame in writing a charge against the accused.

(2) Where the Court frames a charge under sub-section (1). The charge shall be read and explained to the accused and the accused shall be asked whether he pleads guilty of the offence charged or claims to be tried.The charge-sheet to which the accused is called upon to plead is a very important document. It should be drawn up and considered with extreme care and caution, so that accused may have no doubt whatever as to the offences to which he is called upon to answer and the Judge of the Appellate Court also may have no doubt upon the matter. The word ‘Ground” means basis, foundation or valid reason.

The whole object of framing a charge is to enable the defence to concentrate its attention on the case that he has to meet. Conditions for framing of a charge are (I) presumption of the commission of an offence on the materials before the court and

   (ii) Offences trouble exclusively by a Court of Session.

When framing of charge could be finished

The opportunity allowed by the legislature to the accused in sec-246 (4)(6) of cross-examining the witness for the prosecution after the charge sheet has been framed can not be substituted for the opportunity to which he is entitled when the witness are examined and before the charge is framed. The Magistrate is not bound to take more evidence than is sufficient to convince him of the truth of the charge. The evidence of even one witness could be sufficient under this section to justify the Magistrate in framing charge. The fact that the charge was not framed as it could have been immediately after the evidence of the witness for the prosecution had been completed and a few other prosecution witness are examined-in-Chief before the framing of the charge can at best be regarded  as an irregularity and if a cross-examination then takes place. A second cross examination refused. The alteration enables the accused to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses on their first attendance.

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