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Courts and Public Prosecutor (Sections 5-12) Under The Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999

Section 5 - Establishment of Special Courts:

  • The State Government can create Special Courts through official notifications.
  • Jurisdiction questions regarding Special Courts will be decided by the State Government, and their decision will be final.
  • Appointment of Judges: Special Courts will have judges appointed by the State Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court. Additional judges may also be appointed in these Special Courts, subject to the Chief Justice's agreement.
  • Qualification for Judges: To become a judge or additional judge in a Special Court, a person must hold the position of a sessions judge or an additional sessions judge before their appointment.
  • If there are additional judges in a Special Court, the main judge can issue written orders to distribute cases and manage urgent matters in their absence or the absence of additional judges.

Section 6 - Exclusive Jurisdiction of Special Court:

All offenses covered by this Act must be tried exclusively by the Special Court located in the area where the offense occurred. Alternatively, a Special Court established for that specific offense under Section 5 of this Act can conduct the trial.

Section 7 - Consolidation of Offenses in Special Court Trials:

  • Joinder of Offenses - A Special Court, when trying an offense under this Act, can also handle other related offenses under the Criminal Procedure Code (the "Code") at the same trial.
  • Additional Offense Discovery - If, during the trial, it's found that the accused has committed another offense under this Act or any other law, the Special Court can convict the person for that additional offense and apply the appropriate punishment authorized by the law.

Section 8 - Appointment of Public Prosecutors:

  • Appointment : The State Government is responsible for appointing a person to serve as the Public Prosecutor for each Special Court. The State Government may also appoint one or more Additional Public Prosecutors. Additionally, for specific cases or groups of cases, the State Government can appoint a Special Public Prosecutor.
  • Qualification Requirement: To be eligible for appointment as a Public Prosecutor, Additional Public Prosecutor, or Special Public Prosecutor, a person must have at least ten years of experience as an Advocate in legal practice.
  • Legal Status: Anyone appointed as a Public Prosecutor, Additional Public Prosecutor, or Special Public Prosecutor under this section will be considered a Public Prosecutor under the Code of Criminal Procedure. The provisions of the Code will apply to them accordingly.

Section 9 - Procedure and Powers of Special Court:

  • Cognizance of Offense: A Special Court can initiate proceedings for any offense without the accused being sent there for trial. This can be done based on either a complaint that presents the facts of the offense or a police report containing those facts.
  • Summary Trial Option:
    • If an offense triable by a Special Court is punishable with a prison term of up to three years, a fine, or both, the Special Court can conduct a summary trial. This trial follows a simplified procedure as outlined in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Certain specific sections of the Code will apply to this summary trial.
    • However, if the Special Court finds that the nature of the case is unsuitable for a summary trial, it can recall witnesses and proceed with a regular trial as per the provisions of the Code.
    • In case of conviction in a summary trial, the Special Court can impose a prison sentence of up to two years.
  • Pardon for Evidence: A Special Court can grant a pardon to someone involved in a crime, as long as they tell the complete truth about everything they know regarding the crime and the roles of others. This is done to collect evidence.
  • Powers of Special Court: A Special Court has the same powers as a Court of Session for the purpose of trying any offense. It conducts trials as if it were a Court of Session, following the procedures outlined in the Code of Criminal Procedure, with some necessary adjustments.

Section 10 - Precedence of Special Court Trials:

When a Special Court is conducting the trial of an offense under this Act, that trial takes priority over any other case involving the same accused in a regular court (not a Special Court). The trial in the Special Court should be completed before the trials of other cases involving the same accused, and those other cases will be temporarily put on hold.

Section 11 - Transfer of Cases to Appropriate Court:

If a Special Court, after taking cognizance of an offense, believes that it does not have the authority to try that offense, it will transfer the case to a court that does have jurisdiction under the Criminal Procedure Code. The court to which the case is transferred will then proceed with the trial of the offense as if it had originally taken cognizance of the offense.

Section 12 - Appeals to the High Court:

  • Right to Appeal: Regardless of what is stated in the Criminal Procedure Code, individuals have the right to appeal against any judgment, sentence, or order issued by a Special Court to the High Court. However, this appeal cannot be against interlocutory (interim) orders.
  • Time Limit for Appeals: Any appeal under this section must be filed within thirty days from the date when the judgment, sentence, or order was issued.

Written By: Harshavardhan Prakash Deshmukh, 4th Year Of B.A.LL.B. - Modern Law College, Pune,

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