Scope of Section 313 of Criminal Procedure Code

Section 313 of CrPC infers duty upon the court to examine the accused person. The basic purpose of this section is to provide accuse a chance to justify his position in the circumstances mentioned in evidence provided by prosecution against him. This section has proven to be of great help in situations where accused is undefended as well as it provides help to those accused who are ignorant and uneducated, who have difficulty in understanding the facts of alleged offense. 

Section 313 of CrPC is inspired by Principle of natural justice “Audi Alteram Partem” which means no one should be condemned unheard.[1] It is also based on the fact that accused is innocent till proven guilty. Herein, accused is given a chance to explain himself for the evidence presented by prosecution against him. The object of examination of accused under section 313 CrPC was reiterated in Sanatan Naskar & Another vs. State of West Bengal[2] is to create a direct communication between accused and court. In other words objective of this section is to grant accused an opportunity to explain circumstances with respect to every evidence held against him.

In Clause (a) of Sub-section (1), the scope of this section to examine the accused is not limited to any specific stage of an inquiry or trial. It is expanded to all stages and says that “court may at any stage, without a previous warning can call upon accused for examination”.[3] Herein, the word ‘may’ is mentioned which means, if court finds it necessary under special circumstances and facts of case, it can call accused for examination under this section at any stage.[4]

In clause (b) of Sub-section (1), the scope of this section is narrowed down to particular stages. It reads as “Court shall after the witness for the prosecution have been examined and before he is called on for his defense, question him generally on the case.” Which means in general circumstances, court should call accused only after the prosecution has presented all its evidence and before the attorney of accused is called for his defense. The use of the word ‘shall’ in this clause is to specify the obligatory nature of this section.

Proviso given in this section mentions that this section is not obligatory in summon cases if the accused is discharged from appearing in the court he may be discharged from examination under clause (b). This proviso, in general circumstances limits the scope of this section only to warrant cases and does not expand it to summon cases. But in exceptional circumstances, this proviso can be discharged and accused can be called personally in court for the purpose of examination.[5]

Sub-section (5) expands the scope of preparing questions for examination of accused under this section to public prosecutor and defense council as well and does not restrict it only to court.

From the above discussion, it can be concluded that in general circumstances, scope of examination of accused under Section 313 of CrPC is limited to a particular stage i.e., after prosecution has completed its presentation of evidence and before defense is called also this section is limited only to warrant cases however, some exceptions are provided for special circumstances. 

[1] Section 313 of Criminal Procedure Code: Power to examine the accused., ,

[2] Sanatan Naskar & Another vs. State of West Bengal, , AIR 3507 (2010).

[3] Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, .


[5] Id.

Aishwarya Says:

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