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PROJECT REPORT

PRINCIPLES
OF

FRAMING
OF

CHARGES

SUBMITTED TO :
SUBMITTED BY:

MS. SANGITA BHALLA


ABHISHEK SINGLA

ROLL NO.-04/08
[Type the document title]

SE
MESTER-VIII

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Principles of Framing of Charges Page I

INDEX

ACKNOWLEDGMENT.......................................................................................................II

TABLE OF CASES.............................................................................................................III

INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................1

MEANING OF CHARGE......................................................................................................2

WHAT CHARGE CONTAINS AND ALTERATION OF CHARGE..............................................3

JOINDER OF CHARGES......................................................................................................4

CONVICTION OF AN OFFENCE NOT CHARGED WHEN SUCH OFFENCE IS INCLUDED IN


OFFENCE CHARGED...........................................................................................................9

WITHDRAWAL OF REMAINING CHARGES ON CONVICTION ON ONE OF SEVERAL


CHARGES............................................................................................................................9

FRAMING OF CHARGE.......................................................................................................10

BIBLIOGRAPHY.................................................................................................................IV

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Principles of Framing of Charges Page II

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

I would like to thank our Honorable teacher Dr. Sangita Bhalla, for without her valuable
guidance, constant encouragement and detailed approach would not have made it possible for
me to make a proper research for the topic- Principles of Framing of Charges. Her précised
examples, detailed descriptions and enthusiastic approach made my efforts to flourish in a
right direction.

The work contained herein is an amalgamation of the remarkable work of various authors and
I am thankful to them for their publications that have helped me prepare this research paper to
the best of my abilities.

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Principles of Framing of Charges Page III

TABLE OF CASES

 Aftab Ahmad Khan v. State of Hyderabad AIR 1954 SC 436


 Amar Singh v. State AIR 1954 Punj 106
 B.N. Srikantiah v. State of Mysore
 Babulal v. Emperor AIR 1938 PC 130
 Banamali Tripathy v. Emperor AIR 1943 Pat 212
 Bhimbadhar Pradhan v. State of Orissa AIR 1956 SC 469
 Birichh Bhuian v. State of Bihar AIR 1963 SC 1120
 Chandrama Prasaa Chaman (1951) 1 Cal 539
 Chittaranjan Das v. State of W.B. AIR 1963 SC 1696
 Emperor v. Dhaneshram AIR 1927 Nag 223
 G.N.Kulkarni v. State 1973 Cri LJ 551
 Jaswantrai Manilal Akhaney v. State of Bombay AIR 1956 SC 575
 K Satwant Singh v. State of Punjab AIR 1960 SC 226
 Kantilal v. State of Maharashtra AIR 1970 SC 359
 Kantilal v. State of Maharashtra AIR 1970 SC 359
 Krishnan v. The State AIR 1958 Ker 94
 Krishnan v. The State AIR 1958 LJ 516
 M.R. Menon v. Kerala State 1973 Cr. LJ 394
 Manna Lal v. State 1967 Cr LJ 1272
 Mathura Thakur (1901) 6 CWN 72
 Moosa Abdul Rahiman v. State of Kerala 1982 Cr. LJ 1384 (Ker)
 Nohar Chand v. State of Punjab 1984 Cr. LJ 886 (P&H)
 Ramalinga Odayar v. Emperor AIR 1929 Mad 200
 Ravinder Pal Singh v. State of Punjab 2004 Cri LJ 1322 (P&H)
 Shyam Sunder Ker v. State 1960 Cr LJ 310
 Sri Ram Varma v. State AIR 1956 All 466
 Sukha v. State of Rajasthan AIR 1956 SC 513
 Suraj Pal v. State of U.P. AIR 1955 SC 419
 Trilockchand v. Rex AIR 1949 All 187
 Union of India v. Prafulla Kumar Samal (2002) 2 SCC 135

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Principles of Framing of Charges Page IV

 Wazir Singh v. Emperor AIR 1942 Oudh 89

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Principles of Framing of Charges Page V

I. INTRODUCTION

One basic requirement of a fair trial in criminal cases is to give precise information to the
accused as to the accusation against him. This is vitally important to the accused in the
preparation of his defence. In all trials under the Code the accused is informed of the
accusation in the beginning itself. In case of serious offences the Code requires that the
accusations are to be formulated and reduced to writing with great precision and clarity. This
“charge” is then to be read and explained to the accused person.

Provisions relating to charge are aimed at giving full notice to the accused about the offence
of which he is charged. It gives the accused accurate and precise information about the
accusations made against him.1 Every charge under this Code shall state the offence with
which the accused is charged.

In the State v. Ajit Kumar Saha2 the material on record did not show a prima facie case but
the charges were framed by the Magistrate. Since there was no application of mind by the
Magistrate the order framing charges was set aside by the High Court. It is a basic principle
of law that before summoning a person to face a charge and more particularly when a charge
sheet is actually framed, the court concerned must be equipped with at least prima facie
material to show that the person who is sought to be charged is guilty of an offence alleged
against him.3

In State of Karnataka v. Eshwaraiah4 two accused were separately charged for committing
murder in furtherance of common intention. In the charge framed against one accused the
name of the other was not mentioned but charges were read over to each of the accused in
presence of the other accused and the plea has been recorded in the presence of each of the
accused and their advocates. It was held that there was no scope for misunderstanding part
played by each accused and therefore the defect in framing of the charge was a mere
irregularity.

1
B.N. Srikantiah v. State of Mysore
2
1988 Cr. L.J. (NOC) 2 Cal
3
Nohar Chand v. State of Punjab 1984 Cr. LJ 886 (P&H)
4
1987 Cr. LJ 1658 (Karn)

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II. MEANING OF CHARGE

Charge is an accusation made against a person in respect of an offence alleged to have been
committed by him.5 A charge is the first notice to the prisoner of the matter whereof he is
accused and which must convey to him with sufficient clearness and certainty what the
prosecution intends to prove against him and of which he would have to clear himself. 6 The
basic requirement is that the charge must be so framed as to give the accused person as fairly
reasonable idea of the case which he has to face and the validity of the charge must be
determined by the application of the test viz had the accused a reasonable sufficient notice of
the matter with which he was charged.7

Where an accused person is charged, along with others under Section 307/149 and 302/149 of
the Indian Penal Code but the others are acquitted and the accused alone is convicted under
Section 302 and 307, the absence of specific charges against the accused under Section 302
and 307, is a very serious lacuna in the proceedings and it materially prejudices the accused
and his conviction for those cannot be maintained.8

In Musa Khan v. State of Maharashtra the Additional Sessions Judge framed charges against
the accused persons under Section 149 and 395 of the Penal Code. Since offence under
Section 395 of the Penal Code comes into existence only when act of dacoity is committed by
five or more persons jointly the questions of applying Section 149 was held to be mere
surplusage. That is where a charge under Section 395 of the Penal Code is framed no charge
under Section 149 for the same offence need be framed.

III. WHAT CHARGE CONTAINS AND ALTERATION OF CHARGE

The charge may not specify particular items or exact dates. The charge framed in the above
manner shall be deemed to be a charge of one offence within the meaning of Section 219
provided that the time included between the first and last of such dates shall not exceed one
year. Where it is impossible to specify the particular date on which the offence was
committed, it will be sufficient to state two dates between which the offence was committed. 9

5
Birichh Bhuian v. State of Bihar AIR 1963 SC 1120
6
Manna Lal v. State 1967 Cr LJ 1272; Shyam Sunder Ker v. State 1960 Cr LJ 310; Krishnan v. The State AIR
1958 LJ 516
7
Chittranjandas v. State of W.B. AIR 1963 SC 1696
8
Suraj Pal v. State of U.P. AIR 1955 SC 419
9
Banamali Tripathy v. Emperor AIR 1943 Pat 212

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It is permissible to state in a charge under Section 212(1) that the particular offence was
committed on or about certain date.10

Sub-section (2) was primarily enacted so that persons who showed a deficiency in the
accounts with which they were entrusted could be convicted of criminal misappropriation
even when it could not be shown that they had misappropriated any specified sum.11

The object of Section 213 is twofold: first to ensure that the accused has sufficient notice of
the matter with which he is charged as otherwise he will be seriously prejudiced in his
defence,12 and secondly to enable the court to keep in view the real points in issue and to
confine the evidence to such points.

Omission in a charge cannot be regarded as material unless in terms of Section 215 it is


shown by the accused that he has in fact been misled by such omissions or that there has been
a failure of justice as a result of such omission. 13 Where the accused is not misled defect in
the charge is not material.14 The irregularity of charging together different offences instead of
charging them separately are curable under this section and Section 465 if the accused is not
prejudiced.15 In considering the question whether the accused has been prejudiced in his
defence by the defect in the charge regard must be had to the fact that the objection to the
framing of the charge was not raised till a late stage in the proceedings.16

The Code gives ample power to the courts to alter or amend a charge provided that the
accused has not to face for a new offence or is not prejudiced either by keeping him in the
dark about that charge or in not giving a full opportunity of meeting it and putting forward
any defence open to him, on the charge finally preferred against him. 17 Any addition or
alteration of a charge will not be illegal only when it does not prejudice the accused.18

Under Section 217 the accused has a right to recall prosecution witnesses alter the alteration
of the charge, even if such alteration does not affect his defence. 19Such right may be denied
by the Court if it is of the opinion that the purpose is only delay or vexation or defeating the

10
Chittaranjan Das v. State of W.B. AIR 1963 SC 1696
11
Wazir Singh v. Emperor AIR 1942 Oudh 89
12
Krishnan v. The State AIR 1958 Ker 94
13
Jaswantrai Manilal Akhaney v. State of Bombay AIR 1956 SC 575
14
Bhimbadhar Pradhan v. State of Orissa AIR 1956 SC 469
15
Babulal v. Emperor AIR 1938 PC 130
16
Sukha v. State of Rajasthan AIR 1956 SC 513
17
Kantilal v. State of Maharashtra AIR 1970 SC 359
18
Mathura Thakur (1901) 6 CWN 72
19
Ramalinga Odayar v. Emperor AIR 1929 Mad 200

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ends of justice. However the Courts do not owe a legal duty to ask the accused, after the
charge has been altered to state whether he wishes to have any of the witnesses recalled or re-
examined and whether the wishes to call any witnesses.20 The Code gives ample power to the
trial as well as Appellate Courts to alter or amend a charge provided the accused has not to
face a charge for a new offence or is not prejudiced either by keeping him in the dark or in
not giving a full opportunity of meeting it and putting forward any defence open to him on
the charge finally preferred against him.21

IV. JOINDER OF CHARGES

The object of the rule embodied in Section 218 is to ensure a fair trial and to see that the
accused is not bewildered by having been asked to defend several unconnected charges or
distinct offences lumped together in one charge or in separate charges. 22 There is no
exception to the rule that there should be separate charge for each offence. The first part of
this section relates to framing of charges. Section 218 is mandatory and for every distinct
offence, there should be a separate charge excepting in those cases which are specified in the
code. Where two dacoities are committed in two different houses on the same night a single
rolled up charge embracing both dacoities should not be framed.23

According to sub-section (2) the operation of Sections 219, 220, 221 and 223 shall not be
affected by the above said basic rule. In other words these sections are exceptions to the basic
rules contained in Section 218(1). These exceptions are based on some rational principle or
other. In Section 219 which permits a joint trial for offences of the same kind not exceeding
three in number and committed within a period of twelve months, the principle is the
avoidance of a multiplicity of proceedings.24

(a)Exception 1 to the basic rule: Section 219 makes a provision for one trial of three offences
of the same kind committed by one accused within a period of 12 months whether
committed in respect of the same person or not. For the application of this section, it is
necessary that:

 The offences must be of the same kind

20
Moosa Abdul Rahiman v. State of Kerala 1982 Cr. LJ 1384 (Ker)
21
Kantilal v. State of Maharashtra AIR 1970 SC 359
22
Aftab Ahmad Khan v. State of Hyderabad AIR 1954 SC 436
23
Chandrama Prasaa Chaman (1951) 1 Cal 539
24
Ravinder Pal Singh v. State of Punjab 2004 Cri LJ 1322 (P&H)

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 That they must be committed within the space of 12 months from the first to last

 That the number of them should not exceed three.25

There are conflicting judicial opinions as to whether Sections 219-221 and 223 are
mutually exclusive or whether they can be used to get a cumulative effect. In other words,
the question is whether it is open to the prosecution to take help partly of one section and
partly of another section in order to justify the joinder of charges or whether the intention
of law is that sections should be mutually exclusive and only one of the them can be
availed of at one time. The Allahabad High Court has pointed out in this connection that
each of the four Sections 219, 220, 221 and 223 mentioned in Section 218 can individually
be relied upon as justifying a joinder of charges in respect of any trial. Use cannot be made
of two or more of these sections together to justify a joinder. 26 In other words it is not open
to the prosecution to take help partly of one section and partly of another in order to justify
the joinder of charges.27 Further it has been observed that the normal rule as embodied in
Section 219 or 220 or 221 or 223. Each section is to be an exception individually. It is not
the intention of the Legislature to group together different sections in order to constitute an
exception.28

(b) Exception 2 to the basic rule: Offences committed in course of same transaction can be
charged at one trial. Under Section 220(1) it is stated that if, in one series of acts so
connected together as to form the same transaction more offences than one are
committed by the same person, he may be charged with and tried at one trial every such
offence.

A transaction is defined by Sir James Stephen “as a group of facts so connected together
as to be referred to by a single name, as crime, a contract, wrong or any other subject of
inquiry which may be in issue.” The question whether a series of facts are so connected
together as to form the same transaction is a question of fact in each case depending on
proximity of time and place continuity of action and community of purpose or design. In
order to determine whether a group of facts constitute one, it is necessary to ascertain
whether they are so connected together as to constitute a whole which can properly be
described as a transaction. The real and substantial test by same transaction depends on

25
M.R. Menon v. Kerala State 1973 Cr. LJ 394
26
Sri Ram Varma v. State AIR 1956 All 466
27
G.N.Kulkarni v. State 1973 Cri LJ 551
28
Emperor v. Dhaneshram AIR 1927 Nag 223

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whether they are so related to one another in point of purpose or as cause and effect or as
principal and subsidiary acts as to constitute one continuous action.

(c) Exception 3 to the basic rule: Offences of criminal breach of trust or dishonest
misappropriation of property and their companion offences of falsification of accounts to
be tried at one trial. When a person charged with one or more offences of criminal breach
of trust or dishonest misappropriation of property as provided in Section 212(2) or in
Section 219(1) is accused of committing for the purpose of facilitating or concealing the
commission of that offence or those offences one or more offences of falsification of
accounts he may be charged with and tried at one trial for every such offence—Section
220(2)

Many a time the offence of criminal breach of trust or dishonest misappropriation of


property is accompanied with the offence of falsification of accounts the latter offence
being committed for the purpose of facilitating or concealing the commission of the
former offence. Section 220(2) enables to have these offences tried at one trial.

(d) Exception 4 to the basic rule: Same act falling under different definitions of offences
such offences may be tried at one trial. If several acts of which one or more than one
would by itself or themselves constitute an offence, constitute when combined a different
offence, the person accused of them may be charged with and tried at one trial for the
offence constituted by such acts when combined and for any offence constituted by
anyone or more of such acts—Section 220(3). This section may be conveniently read
with Section 71 of the IPC which inter alia provides that ‘where anything is an offence
falling within two or more separate definitions of any law in force for the time being by
which offences are defined or punished, the offender shall not be punished with a more
severe punishment than the court which tries him could award for any one of such
offences.’ In such a case however the accused can be charged with and tried in one trial
for all such offences.

(e) Exception 5 to basic rule: Acts forming an offence also constituting different offences
when taken separately or in groups—all such offences to be tried at one trial—If several
acts of which one or more than one would by itself or themselves constitute an offence,
constitute when combined a different offence, the person accused of them may be

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charged with, and tried at one trial for the offence constituted by such acts when
combined and fro any offence constituted by any one or more of such acts—Section
220(4). Section 71 of IPC provides that where several acts, of which one or more than
one would by itself or themselves constitute an offence, constitute, when combined, a
different offence, the offender shall not be punished with a more severe punishment than
the court which tries him could award for any one of such offences. However according
to Section 220(4) the accused person can be charged with and tried at one trial for all
such offences. Section 220(5) provides that nothing contained in Section 220 shall affect
Section 71 of the IPC.

(f) Exception 6 to the basic rule: Where it is doubtful what offence has been committed.
According to sub-section (1) of Section 221 several offences under this section need not
necessarily be offences of same kind but may be offences of different kinds. The
essential thing is that all of such offences must arise out of a single act or set of acts. The
court under this section may frame cumulative charges or charges in the alternative. But
a charge alternatively of two different offences under different section of IPC based on
same facts is not permissible under this section. For example a person charged with rape
on a married woman cannot be alternatively charged with adultery with same woman and
on the same facts as a complaint for adultery should be actually instituted by the
husband. Sub-section (2) provides that a man may be convicted of an offence although
there has been no charge in respect of it, if the evidence is such as is sufficient to
establish that offence. However, offences charged and offences shown by evidence to
have been committed must be cognate offences, such as criminal breach of trust and
attempt to cheat. According to some High Courts the actual commission of an offence
and its abetments are also cognate offences.

(g) Exception 7 to the basic rule: Certain provisions may be charged jointly. Section 223
applies only to trials and not to inquiries. A joint trial of several persons under this
section is not vitiated merely by the facts that at the end of the trial the facts found
happen to be different from those on the basis of which the charges were originally
framed.29 It was held in A.R. Antulay v. R.S. Nayak30 that an accused person cannot assert
any right to a joint trial with his co-accused. It is the right of the prosecution to decide
whom to prosecute. In Ayodhya Singh v. State of Rajasthan,31 Ayodhya Singh and Hira
29
Trilockchand v. Rex AIR 1949 All 187
30
1988 Cr. LJ 1661 SC
31
AIR 1972 SC 2501

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Singh were charged jointly for the offences under Section 457 read with Section 75, IPC
and under Section 380 read with Section 75 IPC. It was considered that there had been
mis-joinder of charges. It was held by the Supreme Court that the accused jointly
committed the offences with which they were charged and that those offences were
committed in the course of same transaction. The two accused could consequently be
charged and tried together.

Clause (a) states that the words “same offence” means an offence arising out of the same
act or series of acts.32 They imply that the accused person must have acted in concert or
association.

Clause (b) states that the joinder of three charges under Section 420 of the IPC against
one accused with three charges of abetment of those offences against another accused is
legally permissible and proper.33

Clause (c) states the words “within the meaning of Section 219” indicate that, what was
meant by the words “offence of the same kind” in clause (c) of Section 223 is the same
thing as was meant by the identical expression used in Section 219(1) defined in Section
219(2) and nothing more. If it was intention of the legislature to provide that the number
of offences for which several accused persons could be tried under clause (c) of Section
223 should be limited to three as provided in Section 219(1), the legislature would have
expressed the same in so many words.

Clause (d) states that the offence of conspiracy and the offences committed by each
conspirator in pursuance of the conspiracy are ‘offences committed in the course of the
same transaction’ within the meaning of Section 220 and persons accused of such
offences can be tried jointly by one trial. The common concert and agreement which
constitute the conspiracy serve to unify the acts done under it. Identity of time is not
essential in determining whether certain events form the same transaction within the
meaning of Section 223. It is the continuity of action and the sameness of purpose that
determine whether the events constitute the same transaction.

Clause (e) states an offence which includes theft means an offence of which theft is an
essential ingredient.

32
Amar Singh v. State AIR 1954 Punj 106
33
K Satwant Singh v. State of Punjab AIR 1960 SC 226

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Clause (f) states that the expression “possession of which has been transferred by one
offence” refers to the original theft of the property stolen on one occasion. Therefore
where different properties stolen at one theft were received by several persons at
different times, all or any of such receivers can be tried jointly for their offences of
receiving stolen properties. However persons found in possession of such stolen
properties secured by different thefts cannot be tried jointly under this clause.

Power of Court to order separate trial in cases where joinder of charges or of offenders is
permissible

The basic rule regarding charge is that for every distinct offence there shall be a separate
charge and for every such charge there shall be a separate trial. The only exception
recognised is contained in Sections 219, 220, 221 and 223. Therefore separate trial is the rule
and the joint trial is an exception. The sections containing the exception are only enabling
provisions. A court has got the discretion to order a separate trial even though the case is
covered by one of the exceptions enabling a joint trial. A joint trial of a very large number of
charges is very much to be deprecated even though it is not prohibited by law. A separate trial
is always desirable whenever there is risk of prejudice to the accused in a joint trial.

V. CONVICTION OF AN OFFENCE NOT CHARGED WHEN SUCH OFFENCE IS INCLUDED IN

OFFENCE CHARGED

Section 222 contemplates a conviction of minor offence included in the offence charged in
either of the two cases:

 Where the offence charged consists of several particulars a combination of some only of
which constitutes a complete minor offence and such combination is proved but the
remaining particulars are not proved.

 Where facts are proved which reduce the offence charged to a minor offence. But there
can be no conviction for major offence on a charge of minor one. This section is an
exception to the rule that a person cannot be convicted of an offence with which he is not
charged.

VI. WITHDRAWAL OF REMAINING CHARGES ON CONVICTION ON ONE OF SEVERAL

CHARGES

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When a charge containing more heads than one is framed and the conviction has been had on
one or more of them the complainant or the person conducting the prosecution may with the
consent of the Court withdraw the remaining charge or charges or the Court may of its own
accord stay enquiry or trial of such charge. The withdrawal of charge or the stay of enquiry or
trial is possible only on the conviction being on any other charge. Section 224 allows
withdrawal or stay of charges only when conviction has been passed on one or more of the
charges. When before the beginning of the trial the public prosecutor withdraws the charge of
the offence under one head the section has no application.

VII. FRAMING OF CHARGE

Before invoking provisions of Sections 227 and 228 dealing with trials before the Court of
Session, no court takes note of Section 226 which obliges the prosecution to describe the
charge brought against the accused and state by what evidence the guilt of the accused would
be proved. This point was stressed by the two-Judge Bench in Satish Mehra v. Delhi Admn.34
But it is a matter of regret that neither the courts nor the prosecution complies with this
section. It may reduce the workload of the courts if the trial courts insist upon the prosecution
to strictly comply with the provisions of Section 226 of the Code inasmuch as the courts can
discharge the accused if there is no prima facie case.

The Supreme Court in Sajjan Kumar Vs. Central Bureau35 of Investigation has examined the
legal provisions and authorities on framing of charge in criminal prosecutions. While
reiterating the legal principles evolved by the courts over the years, the Hon'ble Supreme
Court held as under:

In Union of India v. Prafulla Kumar Samal36, the scope of Section 227 of the Cr.P.C. was
considered. After adverting to various decisions, this Court has enumerated the following
principles:

"(1) That the Judge while considering the question of framing the charges under Section 227
of the Code has the undoubted power to sift and weigh the evidence for the limited purpose
of finding out whether or not a prima facie case against the accused has been made out.

34
1996 (3) Crime 85 SC
35
S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 6374 of 2010
36
1979 AIR 366

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(2) Where the materials placed before the Court disclose grave suspicion against the accused
which has not been properly explained the Court will be fully justified in framing a charge
and proceeding with the trial.

(3) The test to determine a prima facie case would naturally depend upon the facts of each
case and it is difficult to lay down a rule of universal application. By and large however if
two views are equally possible and the Judge is satisfied that the evidence produced before
him while giving rise to some suspicion but not grave suspicion against the accused, he will
be fully within his right to discharge the accused.

(4) That in exercising his jurisdiction under Section 227 of the Code the Judge which under
the present Code is a senior and experienced court cannot act merely as a Post Office or a
mouthpiece of the prosecution, but has to consider the broad probabilities of the case, the
total effect of the evidence and the documents produced before the Court, any basic
infirmities appearing in the case and so on. This however does not mean that the Judge
should make a roving enquiry into the pros and cons of the matter and weigh the evidence as
if he was conducting a trial."

In Dilawar Balu Kurane,37 the principles enunciated in Prafulla Kumar Samal have been
reiterated and it was held:

"12. Now the next question is whether a prima facie case has been made out against the
appellant. In exercising powers under Section 227 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the
settled position of law is that the Judge while considering the question of framing the charges
under the said section has the undoubted power to sift and weigh the evidence for the limited
purpose of finding out whether or not a prima facie case against the accused has been made
out; where the materials placed before the court disclose grave suspicion against the accused
which has not been properly explained the court will be fully justified in framing a charge
and proceeding with the trial; by and large if two views are equally possible and the Judge is
satisfied that the evidence produced before him while giving rise to some suspicion but not
grave suspicion against the accused, he will be fully justified to discharge the accused, and in
exercising jurisdiction under Section 227 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Judge
cannot act merely as a post office or a mouthpiece of the prosecution, but has to consider the
broad probabilities of the case, the total effect of the evidence and the documents produced

37
(2002) 2 SCC 135

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before the court but should not make a roving enquiry into the pros and cons of the matter
and weigh the evidence as if he was conducting a trial (see Union of India v. Prafulla Kumar
Samal).

16. It is clear that at the initial stage, if there is a strong suspicion which leads the Court to
think that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence, then it is
not open to the court to say that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding against the
accused. The presumption of the guilt of the accused which is to be drawn at the initial stage
is only for the purpose of deciding prima facie whether the Court should proceed with the
trial or not. If the evidence which the prosecution proposes to adduce prove the guilt of the
accused even if fully accepted before it is challenged in cross-examination or rebutted by the
defence evidence, if any, cannot show that the accused committed the offence, then there will
be no sufficient ground for proceeding with the trial. A Magistrate enquiring into a case under
Section 209 of the Cr.P.C. is not to act as a mere Post Office and has to come to a conclusion
whether the case before him is fit for commitment of the accused to the Court of Session. He
is entitled to sift and weigh the materials on record, but only for seeing whether there is
sufficient evidence for commitment, and not whether there is sufficient evidence for
conviction. If there is no prima facie evidence or the evidence is totally unworthy of credit, it
is the duty of the Magistrate to discharge the accused, on the other hand, if there is some
evidence on which the conviction may reasonably be based, he must commit the case. It is
also clear that in exercising jurisdiction under Section 227 of Cr.P.C., the Magistrate should
not make a roving enquiry into the pros and cons of the matter and weigh the evidence as if
he was conducting a trial.

17. Exercise of jurisdiction under Sections 227 & 228 of Cr.P.C. On consideration of the
authorities about the scope of Section 227 and 228 of the Code, the following principles
emerge:-
(i) The Judge while considering the question of framing the charges under Section 227 of the
Cr.P.C. has the undoubted power to sift and weigh the evidence for the limited purpose of
finding out whether or not a prima facie case against the accused has been made out. The
test to determine prima facie case would depend upon the facts of each case.

(ii) Where the materials placed before the Court disclose grave suspicion against the
accused which has not been properly explained, the Court will be fully justified in framing a
charge and proceeding with the trial.

~Code of Criminal Procedure~


Principles of Framing of Charges Page XVII

(iii) The Court cannot act merely as a Post Office or a mouthpiece of the prosecution but has
to consider the broad probabilities of the case, the total effect of the evidence and the
documents produced before the Court, any basic infirmities etc. However, at this stage, there
cannot be a roving enquiry into the pros and cons of the matter and weigh the evidence as if
he was conducting a trial.

(iv) If on the basis of the material on record, the Court could form an opinion that the
accused might have committed offence, it can frame the charge, though for conviction the
conclusion is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused has committed
the offence.

(v) At the time of framing of the charges, the probative value of the material on record
cannot be gone into but before framing a charge the Court must apply its judicial mind on
the material placed on record and must be satisfied that the commission of offence by the
accused was possible.

(vi) At the stage of Sections 227 and 228, the Court is required to evaluate the material and
documents on record with a view to find out if the facts emerging therefrom taken at their
face value discloses the existence of all the ingredients constituting the alleged offence. For
this limited purpose, sift the evidence as it cannot be expected even at that initial stage to
accept all that the prosecution states as gospel truth even if it is opposed to common sense or
the broad probabilities of the case.

(vii) If two views are possible and one of them gives rise to suspicion only, as distinguished
from grave suspicion, the trial Judge will be empowered to discharge the accused and at this
stage, he is not to see whether the trial will end in conviction or acquittal.

~Code of Criminal Procedure~


Principles of Framing of Charges Page XVIII

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Books

 Kelkar, R.V., Criminal Procedure Code, 5th edition Eastern Book Company,
Lucknow, , (2008)

 Misra, S.N., The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 with Probation of Offenders Act
& Juvenile Justice Act, 17th ed, Central Law Publications (2011)

 Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, Code of Criminal Procedure, 17th edition, Lexis Nexis
Butterworths Wadhwa, Nagpur (2004)

 Sarkar’s, The Code of Criminal Procedure, Dwivedi Law Agency Allahabad,


Reprint (2007)

Articles

 Chitnis, S.R., “Framing of Charge in Criminal Cases”, Eastern Book Company


(2002)

 Jain, Tarun, “Framing of ‘charge’ in criminal trial: The law revisited”, Law in
Perspective (2010)

 Sathasivam, Justice P., “Framing of Charge: Principles and Law”, The Legal Blog,
(2011)

~Code of Criminal Procedure~


Principles of Framing of Charges Page XIX

Websites

 http://www.ebc-india.com/lawyer/articles/2002v2a3.htm

 http://legalperspectives.blogspot.in/2010/10/framing-of-charge-in-criminal-trial-
law.html

 http://www.legalblog.in/2011/08/framing-of-charge-principles-and-law.html

~Code of Criminal Procedure~