Meaning of charge
The word ‘Charge’ has not been defined in the Code. It only states that in section 4(1) (c) that Charge includes any head of charge when the charge contains more heads than one. However, it is fundamental principle of law that the accused should know the exact nature of allegation brought against him so that he may not be prejudiced in his defense. It is, therefore, imperative that before a person is convicted of any offence he should be formally charged, i.e., informed with committed by him, and be given an opportunity to defend himself against such charge. The charge in this country corresponds to an Indictment in English law. It contains a list of offences to which the accused must plead before the trial begins.
In other words, a charge is a written document containing the description of the offence which the court, in inquiry or trial, finds Prima facie proved by evidence before it to have been committed by the accused and requires him to defend it.
A charge is an important step in a criminal proceeding. It separates the inquiry stage from trial. It is only when a prima facie case is disclosed about a certain offence that a charge is framed the whole object of framing a charge is to enable the defence to concentrate its attention on the case that he has to meet, and if the charge is framed in such a vague manner that the necessary ingredients of the offence with which the accused is convicted are not brought out in the charge, then the charge is defective. The charge in this country corresponds too an Indictment in English law. It contains a list of offences to which the accused must plead before the trial begins.
In other word a charge is a written document containing the description of the offence which the court, in inquiry or trial.
Determining the exact motivation of prosecutors when they select one charge over another is impossible. They can identify the factors that con-seriously entered into their choice, but they are seldom able to pinpoint the conversation they had or the words they read that were responsible for injecting these ideas, reinforcing them, and turning them into final decisions. The object of charge is to tell the accused as precisely and concisely as possible of the offences with which he is charged and will be tried.
- An accused is entitled to know with the greatest precision and particularly the acts said to have been committed and the section of the penal law infringed.
- If the charge does not specify the accused the time, place and occurrence of offence committed by the accused and the law under which it will be tried, he will not be in a position to prepare his defence.
- Thus one of the main purposes of another purpose of a charge is to serve the principles of natural justice that “No one should be condemned unheard”.
- The third purpose of a charge is to substantiate the principle of presumption of innocence of the accused, in other words, criminal standard of proof. The prosecution has to prove a case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
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