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Charge, content, consequence of defect in the framing charge

Charge, content, consequence of defect in the framing charge, alteration or amend the charge and what charge is to be framed, if it is doubtful as to what offence has been committed.

Charge defined under section 2(b) of The Code of Criminal Procedure (in short Crpc) include any head of charge when the charge contains more heads than one. charge simply means accusation. A charge is a formal recognition of concrete accusation by magistrate or a court based upon a complaint or information against the accused.

The Court held that the purpose of framing of charge is to give intimation to the accused of clear, unambiguous and precise notice of the nature of accusation that the accused is called upon to meet in the course of trail. (V C Shukla Vs State 1979 AIR 962) A charge may be defined as precise formula of a specific accusation made against a person of an offence alleged to have been committed by him. (Biricch Bhuian Vs Stae of Bihar AIR 1963 AIR 1120)

Content of Charge (Section 211 Crpc)
The offence to be stated:-
1. It must state the offence with which the accused is charged.
2. If the law creates the specific name of the offence, the offence must described in the charge by the name.
3. If does not give any specific name, the definition of the offence must be state.
4. The law and section of the law against which the offence is said to have been committed must be mentioned in charge.
5. The charge must be written in the language of the court.

Consequence of defect in framing of charge. (section 215 and 464 Crpc)
No error or no omission in stating the offence or particular required stated in charge as material at any stage of the case unless the accused was in fact misled by such error or omission and if this has caused a failure of justice (section 215 Crpc). Further section - 464 of Criminal Procedure Code lays down that no finding, sentence or order of a competent court is to be deemed to be involved, merely on the ground that no charge framed or on the ground of any error, omission or irregularity in the charge unless in the opinion of the court of appeal, confirmation or revision a failure of justice has in fact been occasioned thereby.

when the court alter or amend a charge (section- 216 Crpc)
The court may alter or add to any charge at any time before the judgment is pronounced in the matter. Every charge read and explained to the accused. If in the addition or alteration to a charge is that in the opinion of the court, proceeding immediately with the trail is not likely to be prejudice the accused in the defence or prosecutor in the conduct of case, the court may in discretion proceed with the trial as if the altered or added charge had been the original charge.

If on the other hand such alteration or addition is likely to prejudice the accused or the prosecutor, the court may adjourn the trial or it may direct a fresh trial.

if the charge is altered or added in offence where the previous sanction is necessary the court can not proceed with until such sanction already obtained for a prosecution on the same facts as those on which the altered or added charge is framed.

Deepak Dutta
LL.M (Advocate) 

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