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Fair Trial In Summons Cases

Sec 2(w) of Criminal Procedure Code defines summons cases cases not being a warrant case. Summons cases are less serious cases, which are non –cognizable, bailable and compoundable.

Chapter XX of Criminal Procedure Code is exclusively provided for the trial of summons cases by the Magistrate. The salient features of trial procedure in summons cases are dealing in Sec 251 to 259 of Criminal Procedure Code.

The fair trial is a constitutional as well as the statutory right of the accused person .The concept of fair trial is correlated with the principles of natural justice which are summarized as follows.

1. Nemo iudex in causa sua which means no man shall be judge of his own cause. This principles ensures an independent and impartial justice. In trial of summons cases which is conducted by an independent, impartial and a competent Magistrates having jurisdiction which ensures justice and fair trial.

2. Another principle of fair trial is right to have a precise and specific accusation under Sec.211 of Criminal Procedure Code. By virtue of Sec 251 of Criminal Procedure Code, the sum and substance of accusation shall be stated to the accused for admitting or denying guilt which is also an essential requirement of a fair trial.

3. As per Sec.252 of Criminal Procedure Code ,if the accused pleads guilty then the Magistrate may record his plea in the same words used by the accused and the Magistrate may in his discretion convict him thereon ,which ensures fair trial in criminal justice administration as held in Mahant Kausalya Das v. State of Madras (A.I.R 1966 SC 22).

4. By virtue of Sec.253 of Cr.P.C ,the conviction on plea of guilty in the absence of accused in petty cases is permissible .But the representation of the accused through a pleader is allowed or admission of guilt by way of letter or messenger is also allowed , thereby ensuring the fair trial to the accused.

5. If the Magistrate does not invoke Sec.252 or Sec.253 against the accused ,then the Magistrate shall proceed with Sec 254 of Cr.P.C ,thereby the accused has given an opportunity of hearing which is an important requirement of fair trial. It is based on the concept of “Audi Alterum Partum” which means to hear the other side which is an essential requirement of fair trial. By virtue of Sec.254 of Criminal Procedure Code, the Magistrate shall give reasonable time for defence and adducing evidence for defence which ensures fair trial.

6. Another important concept of fair trial is that after hearing a case by an independent and impartial judge, who shall pass a Speaking Order. By virtue of Sec.255 of Criminal Procedure Code, the Magistrate shall pass an order of acquittal or conviction with recorded reasons.

Chapter XX of Criminal Procedure Code is framed for the trial of summons cases fulfilled all the requirements of fair trial . Fair Trial is the heart of criminal jurisprudence and the denial of fair trial is the denial of human right as held in Rattiram v. State of Madhya Pradesh (A.I.R 2012,SC 1485).

Written by: Sumayya H, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Law,
Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala,
Phone: 9995055548

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