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Plea Bargaining Means Pre Trial Negotiation Between Accused And Prosecution

Plea bargaining means pre trial negotiation between the accused and prosecution during which the accused agrees guilty in exchange for certain concessions by the prosecution. It is a bargain where a accused pleads guilty to a lesser charge and prosecution.

Origin of plea bargaining

Plea bargaining concept originated in the United States and it has been evolved over the ages to become a prominent of the American criminal justice system. Plea Bargaining usually negotiations to reduce either the sentence or seriousness of the charge.

In landmark decision in US court in Brady vls United States ,the court upheld the constitutionality of Plea Bargaining.

In USA, the accused can put forward one of the there plea i.e guilty, not guilty and Nolo contendere (Nolo contendere ia a legal term that comes from the Latin phase for " I do not wish to contend"). A person who pleads nolo contendere submits for a judgment fixing a fine or sentence the same as it he or she pleaded guilty.

The concept of plea bargaining in India.

The law commissions efforts promotes the insertion of the provisions concerning Plea Bargaining via its 142nd , 154th ,177th report. The new chapter XXIA, containing Section 265A TO 265 L inserted by the criminal law (amendment) Act 2005.

There are three types of plea bargaining:

  1. Charge bargaining
    Negotiating for dropping some charge in a case of multiple charge or settling for a less grave charge is called change bargaining
     
  2. Sentence bargaining
    Where the accused has an option of admitting guilt and settling for a lesser punishment.
     
  3. Fact bargaining
    Negotiation whch involves an admission to certain facts in return for an agreement not to introduce certain other facyts is facts bargaining.

Chapter XXI-A
Section 265 A to 265 L of criminal procedure code 1973 ( herein after referred as crpc) contain provisions concerning Act.
Section 265A provides who can take benefits of plea bargaining , according to provision of the present chapter any accused may take course of plea bargaining except the:
  1. police case charge sheet/complaint report has been filed against the accused that an offence punishable of death or imprisonment for life or of imprisonment for a term exceeding seven years.
  2. Also an accused charged with an offence against a women or a child below 14 years of age.
  3. Affecting the socio economic conditions of the country.
  4. Where the accused is a previous convict of such an offence.
  5. Where the accused is a habitual offender( it was held in case of state of Gujarat v/s Natwar Harchandji Thakor)

Section 265 B permits the accused to file for application for plea bargaining.
Section 265 C in working out a mutually satisfactory deposition������.
Section 256 D where the meeting under Section 256C,the satisfactory deposition of the case has been worked out, the court shall prepare a report of such disposition which shall be signed by the presiding officer of the court and all other persons who participated in the meeting and if no such disposition has been worked out , the court shall record such observation and proceed further in accordance with the provisionsof this code.
Section 256 E where the satisfactory disposition of the case has been worked out under Section 265 D, the court shall dispose in the following manner:
  1. The court shall award compensation to the victim and hear the parties on the quantum of the punishment, release the accused on probation of good conduct or after admonition of u/sec of 360 of probation of offenders Act,1958.
  2. The court may sentence the accused to half of such minimum punishment provided under the law for the offence committed by the accused.
  3. If minimum sentence is not provided under the act, the court may sentence the accused tone forth of the punishment provided or extendable ,as the case may be, for such offence.

Section 256 F The court shall deliver judgment I n open court and signed by the presiding officer of the court.
Section 256 G The judgment delivered by the court shall be final and no such appeal (except the SLP under article 136 and writ petition under Article 226 and 227 of the constitution) shall lie in any court against such judgment.
Section 256 H the court shall have purpose of discharging its functions under this chapter , all the powers vested in respect of bail , trial of offences and the other matters relating to the disposal of cases in such court under this code.
Section 256 I The provisions of Section428 shall apply , for setting off the period of detention undergone by the accused against the sentence of imprisonment under provision of this code.
Section 256 J the provisions of this chapter shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other provisions of this code and nothing in such other provisions shall be constructed to constrain the meaning of any provision of this chapter.
Section 256 K the statements or facts stated by an accused in an application for plea bargaining file under Section 256 �B shall not be used for any other purpose except for the purpose of this chapter.
Section 256 L nothing in this chapter shall apply to any juvenile or child as defined in sub �clause(k) of Section 2 of the juvenile justice (care and protection of children) ACT, 2Q00(56 of 2000).

Conclusion
In my view plea bargaining is very good concept, plea bargaining leads to speedy trial and fast justice to victim. it can also save time and long drawn judicial process.

End-Notes:
  1. Manuputra
  2. The code of criminal procedure as amended by the criminal law ( amendment) Act, 2013 21st edition by B M Prasad and Manish Mohan
Written By: Adv. Kavita Velip, Sanguem Goa

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