Skip to content

Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and its provisions

The Criminal Procedure Code, commonly known as CrPC, is the main legislation that regulates the procedure for the administration of substantive criminal law in India. It provides the machinery for the investigation of crime, apprehension of suspected criminals, collection of evidence, determination of guilt or innocence of the accused person and the determination of punishment of the guilty. It also deals with public nuisance, prevention of offences and maintenance of wife, child and parents

In this blog post, we will discuss the following aspects of the CrPC:

  • The history and background of the CrPC
  • The classification of offences under the CrPC
  • The trial procedure under the CrPC
  • The other fundamental concepts under the CrPC
  • The frequently asked questions about the CrPC

History and background of the CrPC

The first version of the CrPC was enacted in 1861, following the passing of the Indian Penal Code in 1860. The Code was amended in 1882 and 1898 to incorporate various changes and reforms. The Code of Criminal Procedure Amendment Act of 1923 then updated the 1898 Code

In 1958, the First Law Commission presented significant suggestions for criminal justice reform in its 14th Report. The recommendations of the committee were taken into consideration, and the Code was amended again. In 1973, Parliament passed the current Code of Criminal Procedure based on the recommendations of the Fifth Law Commission’s Forty-First Report. The 1973 Code came into force on April 1, 1974

The 1973 Code has been amended several times since then to incorporate various changes and reforms. Some of the major amendments are:

  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1983: This Act introduced provisions relating to dowry death, cruelty by husband or relatives, rape and custodial rape.
  • The Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 1983: This Act introduced provisions relating to anticipatory bail, plea bargaining and compounding of offences.
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005: This Act introduced provisions relating to victim compensation, witness protection, speedy trial and alternative dispute resolution.
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2008: This Act introduced provisions relating to electronic evidence, video conferencing, narco-analysis and brain mapping.
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013: This Act introduced provisions relating to sexual offences against women and children, acid attack, stalking and voyeurism.

Classification of offences under the CrPC

The CrPC classifies offences into two categories: cognizable and non-cognizable offences.

Cognizable offences are those offences for which a police officer may arrest without a court-mandated warrant in accordance with the first schedule of the code. For example, murder, rape, robbery and theft are cognizable offences

Non-cognizable offences are those offences for which a police officer may arrest only after being duly authorized by a warrant. Non-cognizable offences are generally less serious offences than cognizable ones. For example, defamation, cheating, trespass and assault are non-cognizable offences

Cognizable offences are reported under section 154 CrPC while non-cognizable offences are reported under section 155 CrPC. For non-cognizable offences, the police officer cannot investigate without the permission of a magistrate under section 156(3) CrPC

Trial procedure under the CrPC

The trial procedure under the CrPC depends on the nature and gravity of the offence. The CrPC establishes a hierarchy of criminal courts in which different offences can be tried and different punishments can be imposed.

The criminal courts in India are:

  • Supreme Court: It is the highest court of appeal in criminal matters. It can hear appeals from any judgment or order passed by any court or tribunal in India.
  • High Court: It is the highest court in each state or union territory. It can hear appeals from any judgment or order passed by any subordinate court or tribunal within its jurisdiction.
  • Sessions Court: It is presided over by a judge appointed by the High Court. It can try any offence punishable with imprisonment for more than seven years or death.
  • Chief Judicial Magistrate Court: It is presided over by a judicial officer appointed by the High Court. It can try any offence punishable with imprisonment for less than seven years or fine only.
  • Judicial Magistrate First Class Court: It is presided over by a judicial officer appointed by the High Court. It can try any offence punishable with imprisonment for less than three years or fine only.
  • Judicial Magistrate Second Class Court: It is presided over by a judicial officer appointed by the High Court. It can try any offence punishable with imprisonment for less than one year or fine only.
  • Executive Magistrate Court: It is presided over by a magistrate appointed by the state government. It can try certain offences relating to public nuisance, prevention of offences and maintenance of wife, child and parents.

The trial procedure under the CrPC can be broadly divided into four stages:

  • Investigation: It is the process of collecting evidence and information about the offence and the accused. It is conducted by the police or any other agency authorized by the law. It includes steps such as filing of FIR, arrest, search, seizure, interrogation, identification, recording of statements and preparation of charge sheet.
  • Inquiry: It is the process of examining the evidence and information collected during the investigation. It is conducted by a magistrate or a court. It includes steps such as framing of charges, plea bargaining, bail, remand, discharge, committal and transfer of cases.
  • Trial: It is the process of adjudicating the guilt or innocence of the accused. It is conducted by a court. It includes steps such as examination of witnesses, cross-examination, arguments, judgment and sentence.
  • Appeal: It is the process of challenging the judgment or order passed by a court. It is conducted by a higher court. It includes steps such as filing of appeal, hearing of appeal, stay of execution and revision.

Other fundamental concepts under the CrPC

Apart from the classification of offences and the trial procedure, there are some other fundamental concepts that are essential to understand the CrPC. Some of them are:

  • Presumption of innocence: It is the principle that every person accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The burden of proof lies on the prosecution to establish the guilt of the accused. The accused has the right to remain silent and not to incriminate himself or herself.
  • Fair trial: It is the right of every person accused of a crime to have a fair and impartial trial in accordance with the law. The accused has the right to legal representation, speedy trial, public trial, trial by jury (in some cases), cross-examination of witnesses, production of evidence in his or her favour and appeal against conviction or sentence.
  • Natural justice: It is the principle that every person affected by a decision or action of an authority has the right to be heard and treated fairly. The authority must act without bias, malice or arbitrariness. The authority must also give reasons for its decision or action.
  • Double jeopardy: It is the principle that no person can be tried or punished twice for the same offence. The CrPC provides that a person who has been convicted or acquitted of an offence cannot be tried again for the same offence or on the same facts.
  • Res judicata: It is the principle that a matter that has been finally decided by a competent court cannot be reopened or re-litigated. The CrPC provides that no court can alter or review its own judgment or order, except to correct any clerical or arithmetical error. The CrPC also provides that no court can inquire into the validity of any judgment or order passed by a superior court.
  • Bail: It is the release of an accused person from custody on the condition that he or she will appear before the court when required. The CrPC provides for two types of bail: regular bail and anticipatory bail. Regular bail is granted by a court after the arrest of the accused person. Anticipatory bail is granted by a court before the arrest of the accused person, in anticipation of a possible arrest.
  • Plea bargaining: It is a process of negotiation between the accused person and the prosecution, in which the accused person agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge or to a reduced sentence, in exchange for some concession from the prosecution. The CrPC provides for plea bargaining in certain cases, subject to the approval of the court and the consent of the victim.
  • Compounding of offences: It is a process of settlement between the parties involved in an offence, in which the complainant agrees to withdraw the complaint or the prosecution agrees to drop the charges, in exchange for some consideration from the accused person. The CrPC provides for compounding of offences in certain cases, subject to the permission of the court and the payment of compensation to the victim.
  • Frequently asked questions about the CrPC
  • Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the CrPC and their answers:
  • Q: What is an FIR and how to file it?
  • A: An FIR or First Information Report is a document that records the information about a cognizable offence given to a police officer by a person who has knowledge of it. It is filed under section 154 CrPC. To file an FIR, one has to go to the nearest police station and give a written or oral statement to the officer in charge. The officer has to record it in a prescribed format and give a copy of it to the informant free of cost.
  • Q: What are the rights of an arrested person?
  • A: An arrested person has several rights under the CrPC and other laws. Some of them are:
    • The right to know the grounds of arrest and to be informed of any charges against him or her.
    • The right to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest, excluding the time necessary for travel.
    • The right to consult and be defended by a lawyer of his or her choice.
    • The right to be informed of his or her right to bail and to apply for it.
    • The right to be treated with dignity and humanely and not to be subjected to torture, cruelty or violence.
    • The right to medical examination and treatment if required.
    • The right to communicate with his or her relatives, friends or other persons who can take care of his or her affairs.
  • Q: What are the duties of a magistrate?
  • A: A magistrate has several duties under the CrPC and other laws. Some of them are:
    • To maintain law and order and prevent breaches of peace in his or her jurisdiction.
    • To conduct inquiries and trials according to the law and procedure prescribed by the CrPC.
    • To ensure that justice is done to all parties and that no one is deprived of his or her rights.
    • To exercise judicial discretion and apply judicial mind while passing orders and judgments.
    • To record evidence, statements, confessions and other documents in accordance with the rules of evidence and admissibility.
    • To issue warrants, summons, notices and other processes as required by law.
    • To grant bail, remand, discharge, acquit, convict or sentence an accused person as per law.
    •  

Conclusion

  • The CrPC is a comprehensive code that governs the procedure for criminal justice in India. It aims to ensure that every person accused of a crime gets a fair trial and that every victim gets justice. It also seeks to balance the interests of society, state and individual. It is important for every citizen to know about the basic provisions and principles of the CrPC, as it affects their rights and duties.
  • At Advocate Aid, we are committed to providing exceptional legal services to individuals in Jammu & Kashmir, India. We are enrolled as advocates and registered with the Bar council of Jammu Kashmir High Court. As advocates based in the Anantnag district court, we understand the complexities of different laws and procedures. Our online platform allows for free legal help in a user-friendly manner. For any legal concerns, contact us via call or WhatsApp. Rely on Advocate Aid for complete legal solutions.

Disclaimer

The Bar Council of India does not permit advertisement or solicitation by advocates in any form or manner. By accessing this website, www.advocatesaid.com, you acknowledge and confirm that you are seeking information relating to Law Offices of Advocate Mushtaq Ahmad Dar of your own accord and that there has been no form of solicitation, advertisement or inducement by our Law Offices or its members. The content of this website is for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as soliciting or advertisement. No material/information provided on this website should be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices (www.advocatesaid.com) shall not be liable for the consequences of any action taken by relying on the material/information provided on this website. The contents of this website are the intellectual property of Advocate Mushtaq Ahmad Dar.