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When you are an accused and want to drop the gravity of the charges framed on you, be cleaver and enter into an agreement with the prosecution in which you voluntarily plea guilt under section 265A CrPC, and in exchange, the prosecution may drop some charges or recommend that the judges enter a specific sentence that is acceptable to the defence. The process so enshrined in s 265A is also called Plea Bargaining.
The Concept of Plea bargaining was given statutory recognition by criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2006 under section 265A-265L of Chapter XXIA of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The provision of section 265A CrPC can be invoked by the accused in the following circumstances;
- Where in police case charge sheet/completion report has been filed against the accused; or
- Where in a complaint case a Magistrate has taken cognizance of an offence, and after examining the complainant and witness under section 200, has issued the process under section 204,
The accused under this section can plea guilt and ask for decreasing the gravity of the offence.
Where provision of this section is not applicable—
- Where such offences affects the socio-economic condition of the country; or
- Where such offences have been committed against a woman, or a child below nthe age of fourteen years, (s 265 L)
- Where the accused is a previous convict of such an offence. (s 265 B)
- Where the accused is a habitual offender.
The accused giving statement under this chapter is protected under section 265K where it has been mentioned that the statement given by an accused under this chapter shall not be used for any purpose other than for any purpose other than for the purpose of this chapter.
How to file Petition for Plea Bargaining
Section 265B enables a person accused of the applicable offences to file petition praying for plea bargaining in the court in which the offences are pending for trial.
The petition should contain a description of the case including the offence(s). It shall be accompanied by an affidavit sworn by the petitioner stating that he has understood the nature and extent of the punishment prescribed for the offence, he has not been coerced into making the prayer and that he had not previously been convicted of the same offence(s).
After the receipt of the petition the court shall issue notice to the public prosecutor or the complaint, and to the accused to appear in the court for further action on the date fixed.
On appearance of thee accused on the date fixed, the court shall examine him/’her in camera to ascertain whether he was coerced into making the petition. If the court is satisfied that he has on his own volition made the plea, it shall give time to the prosecution or complaint and the accused to work out a mutually satisfactory agreement which may include compensating the victim and thereafter fix the date for further hearing.
If on other hand, the court is satisfied that the petition was coerced or that he was previously convicted of the same offence, the court may take action to try him in accordance with the provision of the code.
S 265C lays down the guidelines for mutually satisfactory disposition. The section also provides that the accused or the victim, if so desire, may participate in the meeting accompanied by his pleader.
S 265D requires that on completion of the process under section 265C, a report shall be prepared and signed by the presiding officer and others who participated in the meeting. If no agreement is reached the court after recording such fact proceed further in accordance with the provision of this code from the stage the application for plea bargaining was filed.
When the agreement is reached and the disposition signed the court shall dispose of the case in the following manner as laid down in section 265E.
- The court shall award the compensation to the victim in accordance with the disposition under section 265D and hear the parties on the quantum of sentence, releasing of the accused on probation or after admonition u/s 360 or u the Probation of Offender Act, 1958 or any other law for the time being in force;
- After hearing the parties, if the court is of the view that section 360 or provision of Probation of Offender Act, 1958 or any other law are attracted, it may release the accused on probation;
- After hearing the parties under clause (b), if the court finds that minimum punishment has been prescribed for the offence committed, it may sentence him to half of such minimum punishment;
- In case the court finds that the accused is not covered under either of the above categories, it may sentence him to one-fourth of the prescribed punishment or extendable, as the case may be, for such offence.
According to section 265F the court shall deliver its judgment as described above in open court, and section 265G makes such judgment final and except by way of special leave petitions under Article 136 and writ petition under Article 226 and 227 of the constitution, there shall be no appeal.
Further, Section 265 I makes the period of detention under gone by the accused to be set-off against the sentence of imprisonment.