Criminal Trial : Summary Trial


The Code of Criminal Procedure,1973, hereinafter mentioned as the code, is the law that governs the procedural aspects of criminal law. This act establishes the mechanism for conducting trials for offenses that are punishable under substantive laws, like the Indian Penal Code(IPC) and other criminal statutes. The word trial has not been defined under the code.

A trial begins after the framing of charges, and the nature of a trial is determined on the basis of gravity and the seriousness of the offense. The primary purpose of having different procedures of a trial is to have a speedy resolution of cases.

With this article, the Summary trial(criminal) and its provisions as stated in the code, shall be briefly discussed.

Chapter XXI of the code is titled summary trials. The provisions under this chapter range from S.260 to S.265.

This article shall be detailing each of them in brief, giving you an abstract understanding of the procedure as established under the code.

Section 260 of the code states that Three individuals of the designation namely –

  1. Chief Judicial Magistrate;
  2. Metropolitan Magistrate;
  3. Magistrate of the first class so empowered in this behalf by the High Court

shall have the jurisdiction to try cases wherein –

  1. The offenses are not punishable by death or the term of imprisonment does not exceed two years;
  2. Theft, when the value of the property does not exceed two thousand;
  3. Receiving or retaining stolen property, wherein the value of the same does not exceed two thousand;
  4. Assisting in concealment or disposal of stolen property when in the value of the same does not exceed two thousand;
  5. In the case of house trespass and related offenses
  6. Insult with the intent to provoke a breach of peace and criminal intimidation with imprisonment for a term that may not exceed two years or a fine or both.

During the course of a summary trial, if the application reads to the magistrate that the nature of the case is so undesirable that it may not be tried summarily, the magistrate may recall any witness who may have been examined and try the case again, in a manner as provided under the code.

Section 261 of the code states that the High Court, in its jurisdiction, may invest such power to a magistrate of the second class, to try cases summarily for any offenses which are punishable with a fine or with imprisonment for a term that may not exceed a period of 6 months, with or without fine, and any abatement or attempt to commit such crime.

Section 262 of the code states that no sentence of imprisonment for a term exceeding three months shall be passed in the case of any conviction under this chapter, unless specifically mentioned.

Section 263 of the code states that the magistrate shall record in such form as the state government directs the following particulars –

  1. The serials number of the case
  2. The date of the commission of the offense
  3. The date of the report or complaint
  4. The name of the complainant
  5. The name, parentage, and the residence of the accused
  6. The offense complained and the offense (if any ) proved the value of property in respect of the offense so committed.
  7. The please of the accused and their examination
  8. The finding in the case
  9. The sentence or the final order in the said case
  10. The date of termination of said proceedings

Section 264 of the code states, that in every case that is tried summarily and in which the accused does not plead guilty, the magistrate shall record the substance of the evidence and a judgment containing a brief statement of the reason for the finding.

Section 265 of the code states that every record and judgment of cases tried under this chapter shall be written in the language of the court. The High Court may also authorize any magistrate to try offenses summarily to prepare a record or judgment or both, by the means of an officer so appointed by the court, in this behalf by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, and the same shall be signed by such magistrate.

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