Our Indian legal system, which was built with bits and pieces from the
world's entire major constitutions, has prevented wrongdoers from engaging in
such arbitrary behaviour. Unlike in the United States and other countries,
Indian law requires a criminal to be aware of the charge against him. By doing
so, the trial proceedings can be completed in a timely and equitable manner.
The main objective of charging is to inform the accused about what he is being
tried for and why. This was made abundantly clear in the case of V.C. Shukla v.
State. The case maintains that the primary purpose of framing a charge is to
intimidate the accused about the nature of the accusation for which the accused
is summoned to a trial1.
Section 2 (b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) defines a charge and
states that it includes any head of charge when the charge contains more heads
than one". After the trial begins, the accused person is informed of the obliged
to make against him as well as the provisions of the Code under which he will be
tried by the Court. The accusations raised against the accused are thus referred
to as 'Charges' in legal terms.
Joinder Of Charges
In the case of K. Satwant Singh v. State Of Punjab, that the sections on
charge Joinder are not persuasive in nature. They only allow joint trial of
charges in certain circumstances, and the courts may consider it in the interest
of justice administration after thoroughly investigating the facts and
circumstances of each case.
Provisions Regarding Framing Of Charges
According to Section 218 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the general
principle regarding charges is that each offence of which a person has been
accused shall be charged separately, and each such charge shall be tried
separately and distinctly. This means that each offence must be treated as a
distinct entity and must be tried separately.
Section 218(2) is an exception to Section 218(1). The provisions of Section 219,
220, 221 and Section 223, override the sections as mentioned under Section 218
of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This means that Section 219- 223 talks about
the Joinder of Charges.
Three similar offences committed within a year may be charged together: This
section was added to avoid duplication of proceedings when the offences are the
It contains two situations:
- As per Section 219(1), Section 219 states that if a person is accused of
committing three similar offences within a year, all of the offences may be
charged and tried at the same time.
- Section 219(2) discusses offences of a similar nature that are also
punishable with a similar degree of punishment.
Offenses committed during a similar encounter and attempted jointly.
It consists of the following:
- If a person commits a series of acts that are so intrinsically linked to
one another that they form a single transaction, those series of offences
will be charged and prosecuted together. The Code doesn't define what the
word "exchange" means.
- When there is a criminal breach of trust, an unjustified theft of
property, or any of these offences combined with an accounting fraud
offence. Many times, crimes like falsifying accounts or dishonestly
appropriating property are committed in conjunction with crimes like
criminal breach of trust or dishonest misappropriation of property, the
latter of which is committed to achieve the goals of the former. In these
circumstances, Section 220(2) enables the Courts to jointly try such
- If a single act is covered by multiple, distinct definitions of an
offence, those various offences must be tried together in accordance with
Section 220. (3). For instance, if a person X inadvertently strikes a person
Y with a cane, X may be charged with and tried for those offences under
Sections 352 and 323 of the Indian Penal Code separately, or they may be
tried together and found guilty.
- If the acts that constitute an offence also create distinct offences
when taken and tried separately or in groups, those offences must be tried
as a single offence in a single trial. For instance, if A robs B and, in the
process, willfully injures B, A may be separately charged with, and found
guilty of, the offences listed under Sections 323, 392 and 394 of the Indian
Section 221 addresses situations where there may be some uncertainty regarding
the events and circumstances surround the commission of the crime. This section
states that if the accused has committed a string of offences that make it
unclear which set of facts should be proven, they may be charged with any or all
of those offences or with alternative offences. In these situations, the accused
is charged with one offence, but if it is proven during the evidence stage that
he also committed another offence, he may be found guilty of that offence even
though he was not charged with it.
The group of people who can be tried jointly is covered in Section 223. This
section authorises a joint trial of multiple defendants when certain conditions
are met because there is a connection between the various offences committed.
The different classes are not to be considered mutually exclusive and may be
combined together as required.
The following types of individuals could be tried and charged jointly under
- The accused parties who participated in the same crime during the exact
The persons who have committed a particular offence and those who have
abetted the commission.
- The people who are protected by Section 219's scope.
- People who participated in a similar exchange and submitted different
The people who have committed crimes such as robbery, coercion, cheating, or
criminal misappropriation of property, as well as those who have obtained, held,
assisted in the removal of, or concealed, property whose ownership is
illegitimate or whose ownership is alleged to be unlawful.
The people who have been charged with violating Indian Penal Code, Sections 411
and 414, or with violating those Sections in relation to stolen property whose
ownership has already been transferred by another crime.
The accused cannot request a joint trial if their case is not included in one of
the Section 223 classes. The proviso to this Section limits the court's
The rules from Sections 218 to 223 have been created with the benefit of the
accused in mind. The various classes of sections need not be treated as mutually
exclusive. The Courts have been given the authority to combine the provisions of
more than two clauses. Additionally authorization of the joint trial of multiple
parties using a combination of one clause and other?
Ranchhod Lal v. Territory of Madhya Pradesh
, It was decided that the
court would decide whether to use Sections 218 or Sections 219, 220, and 223 of
the Criminal Procedure Act of 1973. This back-up option of joining charges has
not been given to the one who has been denounced.
The Supreme Court responded to the inquiry regarding the misjoinder of charges
and joint trial for unmistakable offences due to Union Of India v. Ajeet
. In this case, the court ruled that the fundamental provisions of
the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 only serve as a fundamental principle.
The court has the authority to order a separate trial in cases where joining of
charges or offenders is permitted
� The general rule in terms of charges is that each distinct offence must be
charged separately and tried separately. However, Sections 219, 220, 221 and 223
provide exceptions to this general rule. In other words, a separate trial is the
rule, and a joint trial is the exception.
� The exceptions provisions are only enabling in nature, and it is up to the
Courts to decide whether or not to apply them to a specific case. It was held in
Ranchhod Lal v. State of Madhya Pradesh
AIR 1965 SC 1248 that it is at
the discretion of the court whether to apply Sections 219, 220, and 223 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or Section 218. The accused has not been given
the option of joining charges.
Conviction for an uncharged offence when that wrongdoing is included in the
In summons cases, a formal charge need not be framed. It would be sufficient to
simply inform the accused of the specific charges against him. The question of
whether the joinder of charges provisions is applicable in such circumstances
arises. The 1973 Code of Criminal Procedure does not specifically address this
However, it has been proven through a number of precedents, such as in the case
of Upendra Nath Biswas v. Emperor
, Indramani v. Chanda Bewa
the summons case is also subject to the provisions governing the joining of
The most crucial phase of the process of beginning of a trial in a criminal
proceeding is the charge's framing. When the charges are being framed, the
greatest care must be taken because an incorrect framing may lead to the
forsaking of justice. As a result, one should avoid framing and joining charges
improperly because doing so would undermine the fundamental foundation of a fair
The designated authority must address the fact that a case appears to be present
when framing the charges and should explain his justifications for disclosing
the case record in hard copy.
This sections that deal with different types of trials only point out that the
courts are now responsible for framing the charges. Before the judgment is
stated, the court may change or add to any charge. Additionally, the rules
governing the joining of charges do not strictly apply to judges. The appointed
authorities must proceed cautiously and decide whether to combine the charges or
pursue each charge separately based on the specifics of each case.
- 1980 AIR 962, 1980 SCR (2) 380
- 1960 AIR 266, 1960 SCR (2) 89
- AIR 1965 SC 1248
- (2013) 4 SCC 186.
- ILR (1913) 41 CaL 694
- 1956 Cri LJ 1218
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