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Scope and Procedures of Criminal Procedure Code 1973:

Updated: Jan 29

The Indian Penal Code,1860 defines several offences and prescribes punishment's accordingly. Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is an act relating to Criminal Procedure in India, First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973, narrates a detailed list of the cognizable and non-cognizable offences.

Cognizable offences is defined in Sec 2(c) of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973. A police officer can arrest the accused without a court warrant for cognizable offences. Example of cognizable offences are murder, dowry death, waging war against government of India, sedition, rioting, rape, theft, forgery, kidnapping.

Non-Cognizable offence is defined in Sec 2(I) of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973. In this cases a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant and would need a permission from the court before investigation and custody of the individual. Example of non-cognizable offences are cheating, defamation, insult, voluntarily causing hurt, committing public nuisance and others.

Offences are classified into two types they are Bailable Offences and Non-bailable offences. Section 2(a) of CrPC defines bailable offences these are acts which are less severe in nature than the Non-bailable offences such as Murder, Rape, Dowry Death, Kidnapping and terrorism related activities.

Right to claim bail is absolute and indefeasible in case of bailable offence and if the person accused is prepared, the court or the police as the case may be will be bound to release him on bail (Rasik Lal vs Kishore 2009).

If an individual is arrested without a warrant, as per Section 50 of CrPC the police officer has to communicate the full detail of the offence for which the person is arrested. Also, if the offence for which the person is arrested is a bailable one, it is the duty of the police to inform that he is entitled to be released on bail after giving surety. The discretion to decide the bail amount is with the Court or with the officer.

A person accused of a non-bailable offence doesn't enjoy the right to be released on bail but the bail can be granted at the discretion of the court, subject to certain conditions given in Section 437 of CrPC: 1) A person shall not be so released if there appear reasonable grounds for believing that he has been guilty of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life.

2) A person shall not be so released if such offence is a cognizable offence and he had been previously convicted of an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for seven years or more, or he had been previously convicted on two or more occasions of a non- bailable and cognizable offence.

Anticipatory Bail, Sec 438 Crpc: When any person has reason to believe that he may be arrested on an accusation of having committed a non- bailable offence, he may apply to the High Court or the Court of Session for a direction under this section; and that court may, if it thinks fit, direct that in the event of such arrest, he shall be released on bail.

Certain conditions are imposed by the High Court or the Court of Session while granting a anticipatory bail:

1) The person shall make himself available for interrogation by a police officer as and when required.

2) The person shall not, directly or indirectly, make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the court or to any police officer.

3) The person shall not leave India without prior permission of the court.

When it commits to charging for an offence, not every court can deliver a judgment there is a Hierarchy of Criminal Courts and they are defined sentences which can be passed by the various courts:

1) The Supreme Court

2) The High Courts

3) Metropolitan Courts: Sessions Court, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, First Class Metropolitan Magistrate.

4) District Courts: Sessions Court, First Class Judicial Magistrate, Second Class Judicial Magistrate, Executive Magistrate.

A sessions or additional sessions Judge has the authority to pass any sentence authorised by law. But while passing death sentence prior permission from High Court is required.

Similarly, Assistant Sessions Judge has the authority to pass any sentence which has been authorised by law. But such judge cannot pass a death sentence, life imprisonment or imprisonment for more than 10 years.

Sentences passed by the Magistrates (Section 29) – The Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate is authorised to pass any sentence approved by law except for death sentence, life imprisonment or imprisonment for more than seven years.

The first class Magistrate is eligible to pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term of not more than three years, or fine not exceeding ten thousand rupees or both.

The Second Class Magistrate may pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not more than one year, or fine or both. The fine imposed cannot exceed five thousand rupees.

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