Introduction to fixation of charge (framing of charges)
Framing of charges is an important procedure in court during a criminal trial, it is having a similarity with the framing of issues in a civil case.
Criminal cases in court are started with the police report which is the result of an investigation by the police. offences are investigated by the police on the basis of the allegation levelled by the complainant or information reached to them through various other resources.
The allegations and information are the raw information which needs to be proved by the criminal investigation by the police, and further with the trial of the case.
Criminal investigation under Cr.PC
The code of criminal procedure (Cr.PC) provides the mechanism to the police how the information gets recorded and what information they necessarily brought before the court, to begin with, the criminal trial.
Recording of Information
Under the code of criminal procedure, section 154 and 155 are providing two kinds of information to the police
- Information relating to a Cognizable offence
- Information relating to a Non- Cognizable offence.
Information relating to a Cognizable offence
The code of criminal procedure provided the recording of offences of a cognizable nature under section 154. which says that
Every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be read Over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf.
(2) A copy of the information as recorded under sub-section (1) shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.
Any person aggrieved by a refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to record the information referred to in subsection (1) may send the substance of such information, in writing and by post, to the Superintendent of Police concerned who, if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him, in the manner provided by this Code, and such officer shall have all the powers of an officer in charge of the police station in relation to that offence.
Information relating to a Non- Cognizable offence
The code of criminal procedure provided the recording of offences of a non-cognizable nature under section 155. which says that
155. Information as to non- cognizable cases and investigation of such cases.
When information is given to an officer in charge of a police station of the commission within the limits of such station of a non- cognizable offence, he shall enter or cause to be entered the substance of the information in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf, and refer the informant to the Magistrate.
No police officer shall investigate a non- cognizable case without the order of a Magistrate having the power to try such case or commit the case for trial.
Any police officer receiving such order may exercise the same powers in respect of the investigation (except the power to arrest without warrant) as an officer in charge of a police station may exercise in a cognizable case.
Where a case relates to two or more offences of which at least one is cognizable, the case shall be deemed to be a cognizable case, notwithstanding that the other offences are non- cognizable.
after the recording of the information, the police starts an investigation and collecting pieces of evidence and material information relating to the commission of the case and arrests persons if so required and present them before the concerned magistrate and comply with the provision of 167 Cr.PC
Procedure after the arrest of the accused persons
167. Procedure when investigation cannot be completed in twenty-four hours.
Whenever any person is arrested and detained in custody and it appears that the investigation cannot be completed within the period of twenty- four hours fixed by section 57, and there are grounds for believing that the accusation or information is well-founded, the officer in charge of the police station or the police officer making the investigation, if he is not below the rank of sub-inspector, shall forthwith transmit to the nearest Judicial Magistrate a copy of the entries in the diary hereinafter prescribed relating to the case, and shall at the same time forward the accused to such Magistrate.
The Magistrate to whom an accused person is forwarded under this section may, whether he has or has no jurisdiction to try the case, from time to time, authorise the detention of the accused in such custody as such Magistrate thinks fit, for a term not exceeding fifteen days in the whole; and if he has no jurisdiction to try the case or commit it for trial, and considers further detention unnecessary, he may order the accused to be forwarded to a Magistrate having such jurisdiction: Provided that-
the Magistrate may authorise the detention of the accused person, otherwise than in the custody of the police, beyond the period of fifteen days; if he is satisfied that adequate grounds exist for doing so, but no Magistrate shall authorise the detention of the accused person in custody under this paragraph for a total period exceeding,-
(i) ninety days, where the investigation relates to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years;
sixty days, where the investigation relates to any other offence, and, on the expiry of the said period of ninety days, or sixty days, as the case may be, the accused person shall be released on bail if he is prepared to and does furnish bail, and every person released on bail under this sub-section shall be deemed to be so released under the provisions of Chapter XXXIII for the purposes of that Chapter;]
no Magistrate shall authorise detention in any custody under this section unless the accused is produced before him;
no Magistrate of the second class, not specially empowered in this behalf by the High Court, shall authorise detention in the custody of the police. 1
Explanation I.- For the avoidance of doubts, it is hereby declared that, notwithstanding the expiry of the period specified in paragraph (a), the accused shall be detained in custody so long as he does not furnish bail;]. 2
Explanation II.- If any question arises whether an accused person was produced before the Magistrate as required under paragraph (b), the production of the accused person may be proved by his signature on the order authorising detention.]
Notwithstanding anything contained in sub- section (1) or sub- section (2), the officer in charge of the police station or the police officer making the investigation, if he is not below the rank of a sub- inspector, may, where a Judicial Magistrate is not available, transmit to the nearest Executive Magistrate, on whom the powers of a Judicial Magistrate or Metropolitan Magistrate have been conferred, a copy of the entry in the diary hereinafter prescribed relating to the case, and shall, at the same time, forward the accused to such Executive Magistrate, and thereupon such Executive Magistrate, may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, authorise the detention of the accused person in such custody as he may think fit for a term not exceeding seven days in the aggregate; and, on the expiry of the period of detention so authorised, the accused person shall be released on bail except where an order for further detention of the accused person has been made by a Magistrate competent to make such order; and, where an order for such further detention is made, the period during which the accused person was detained in custody under the orders made by an Executive Magistrate under this sub- section,
Completion of the investigation
After the completion of the investigation, police files the final report provided under section 173 of the code of criminal procedure
173. Report of the police officer on completion of an investigation.
Every investigation under this Chapter shall be completed without unnecessary delay.
(i) As soon as it is completed, the officer in charge of the police station shall forward to a Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of the offence on a police report, a report in the form prescribed by the State Government, stating-
the names of the parties;
the nature of the information;
the names of the persons who appear to be acquainted with the circumstances of the case;
whether any offence appears to have been committed and, if so, by whom;
whether the accused has been arrested;
whether he has been released on his bond and if so, whether with or without sureties;
whether he has been forwarded in custody under section 170.
The officer shall also communicate, In such manner as may be prescribed by the State Government, the action was taken by him, to the person, if any, by whom the information relating to the commission of the offence was first given.
(3) Where a superior officer of police has been appointed under section 158, the report shall, in any case in which the State Government by general or special order so directs, be submitted through that officer, and he may, pending the orders of the Magistrate, direct the officer in charge of the police station to make further investigation,
Whenever it appears from a report forwarded under this section that the accused has been released on his bond, the Magistrate shall make such order- for the discharge of such bond or otherwise as he thinks fit.
When such report is in respect of a case to which section 170 applies, the police officer shall forward to the Magistrate along with the report-
all documents or relevant extracts thereof on which the prosecution proposes to rely other than those already sent to the Magistrate during investigation;
the statements- recorded under section 161 of all the persons whom the prosecution proposes to examine as its witnesses.
If the police officer is of opinion that any part of any such statement is not relevant to the subject- a matter of the proceedings or that its disclosure to the accused is not essential in the interests of justice and is inexpedient in the public interest, he shall indicate that part of the statement and append a note requesting the Magistrate to exclude that part from the copies to be granted to the accused and stating his reasons for making such request.
Where the police officer investigating the case finds it convenient so to do, he may furnish to the accused copies of all or any of the documents referred to in sub-section (5).
Nothing in this section shall be deemed to preclude further investigation in respect of an offence after a report under sub-section (2) has been forwarded to the Magistrate and, where-upon such investigation, the officer in charge of the police station obtains further evidence, oral or documentary, he shall forward to the Magistrate a further report or reports regarding such evidence in the form prescribed; and the provisions of sub-sections (2) to (6) shall, as far as may be, apply in relation to such report or reports as they apply in relation to a report forwarded under sub-section (2).
Framing of Charges (Fixing of charges)
after the above-mentioned procedures get completed and police file its police report along with the pieces of evidence which are relevant as pieces of evidence under the Indian Evidence Act and re
arguments on charge and framing of charges.
Before fixing charge the court allows the parties i.e. State and accused to present themselves on charge and after listening both the parties to the case, after listening, the court comes to the concussion under which sections the accused be charged and the trial will be focused on those charges only, unless the police come with additional/ supplementary charge sheet.