Plea Bargaining introduced in United States. By way of plea bargaining, 90% of criminal cases disposed. The concept of plea bargaining based on the principles of Nolo Contendere. Its a Latin word, “I do not wish to contest.”
The concept of Plea Bargaining now a part of criminal jurisprudence. It benefits both the State and the accused under the scheme of Plea Bargaining. If an accused confesses his crime, then the court releases him on probation or award lesser punishment than prescribed. This way the accused saves time and money both. WHEN PARLIAMENT amended the Code of Criminal Procedure by Act 2 of 2006 adding a new chapter 21(A), the concept of “Plea Bargaining” became a reality and part of our criminal jurisprudence.
Plea bargaining means “the process whereby accused and the prosecutor, in a criminal case, work out a mutually satisfactory disposition of the case, subject to the approval of the court.”
The Hindu, Original Article, Plea bargain a fillip to criminal courts, Retrieved on 30th December, 2017, Article by K.T. Thomas.
Police officer forwards the report, alleging that the under section 173, offence appears to be committed by the accused. Except punishable with death sentence, life imprisonment and also imprisonment for term not exceeding seven years. The Magistrate took cognizance of the offence, after examining complainant and witnesses. Except for offences punishable with death sentence, life imprisonment and also imprisonment for term not exceeding seven years. But Plea Bargaining does not apply to offences related to socio-economic condition of country, offence against women, and also offences again child below age of fourteen years.
Application for plea bargaining (Section 265B)
A person accused can file a application, voluntarily, for plea bargaining in the court where trial is pending. The application :
- contains details of the offence
- accompanied by affidavit sworn by the accused
- that accused has file the application voluntarily
- accused not previously convicted for the same offence.
After receiving the application the Court issues notice to the Public Prosecutor or the complainant and also to the accused to appear on the date of hearing.
The Court examines the accused in camera, on the date so fixed and also satisfy itself that accused has filed the application voluntarily. Then it gives time to public prosecutor or complainant and also accused to dispose of the case mutually. It also includes compensation and other expenses. If the court finds that the accused has not given his application voluntarily or he has been convicted earlier for the same offence then the application shall be rejected and the case shall be sent back for regular trial.
Guidelines for mutually satisfactory disposition (section 465C)
Under clause (a) of Sub-Section (4) of section 265B, the Court follows the following procedure:
In a case institution of police report : The Court shall issue notice to the Public Prosecutor, the police officer in the case, the accused and also the victim to participate in satisfactorily disposing the case. Provided that the court ensures process of satisfactory disposition of case voluntarily completed by the parties. Further the accused by participate with his pleader in such meeting.
In a case instituted otherwise than on police report: The Court issues notice to the accused and also the victim to participate in a satisfactory disposition of the case. Provided that the court ensures process of satisfactory disposition of case voluntarily completed by the parties. Further the accused by participate with his pleader in such meeting.
Report of the mutually satisfactory disposition to be submitted before the Court ( section 465D)
After a satisfactory disposition of the case, court prepares a report of such disposition. Signed by presiding officer of the case and also all the parties present in such meeting. If no disposition worked out, then court records the observations and further proceed according to the provisions in the code.
Disposal of the case (section 465E)
If satisfactory disposition of the case worked, then court disposes the case in following way :
- the Court passes award for the compensation to the victim and hearing the parties on quantum of the punishment. courts also release the accused on probation of good faith
- after hearing the parties, if the Court thinks that section 360 or the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 or any other law for the time being in force, attracted in the case. It releases the accused on probation or under any other law
- if the Court thinks that minimum punishment provided for offence, then punishment increased by half of the minimum punishment
- If the Court finds that the offence not covered above, then sentence the accused to one-fourth of the punishment provided or extendable.
Judgment of the Court and Finality of the judgment
The Court declares its judgment in the open court and signed by the presiding officer of the court. The judgment declared by the Court final and no appeal (except the special leave petition under article 136 and writ petition under articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution) lies in any Court against such judgment.
Power of the Court in plea bargaining and Statements of accused
A Court have powers in respect of bail, trial of offences and matters relating to disposal of case, for the purposes of discharging its duties. The statements of accused in an application for plea bargaining shall not used for any other purpose.