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In the olden days, there was no uniform law relating to criminal procedure for the whole of India. There were separate Acts, mostly rudimentary in their character, for the Courts within and outside the Presidency-towns. Later on, the Acts in force in the Presidency-towns were consolidated into the Criminal Procedure Supreme Court QAct, 1852 which was subsequently replaced by the High Court Criminal Procedure Act, 1865. The numerous Acts prevailing in the mofussils were all absorbed in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1861, which was subsequently replaced by the Code of 1871. The Criminal Procedure Code, 1882, gave a uniform law of procedure for the whole of India, both in the Presidency Towns and the mofussils, and it was supplemented by the Code of 1898. The last mentioned Code was amended several times, with major amendments in 1923 and 1955.
The Law Commission, set up in 1955, studied the old Code extensively, and made various recommendations and suggestion in its detailed report submitted in 1969. These suggestions were incorporated in the Criminal Procedure Co, 1973, which came into force on 1st April 1974, which has since been amended 1978, 1980, 1983, 1990, 1991, 1993 and 2001.
While drafting the Code, the following three basic considerations have been kept in mind.
- That an accused person should get a fair trail in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
- That every effort should be made to avoid delay in investigation and trial, which is harmful, not only to the individual involved, but also to the society.
- That the procedure should not be complicated, and should to the utmost extent possible ensure a fair deal to the poorer sections of the community.