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CHAPTER5
CHARGE
Whatistheimportanceof`charge'inacriminaltrial?
The'charge'oraccusationhasbeendealtwithinChapterXVIIoftheCodeofCriminalProcedure,1973anditincludesanyheadofchargewhenthechargecontainsmoreheadsthenone.
Inanycriminaltrial,'charge'isanimportantaspectofthetrialasitgivesanopportunitytotheaccusedtounderstandinhisownlanguagethe'accusations'whicharesoughttobemadeagainsthim
by the prosecution in order to bring him to book by the Court/Magistrate. The 'charge' is written in the language of the court which is read out to the accused in open Court and accused is asked
whether he/she pleads guilty or pleads not guilty to the charge. In case, an accused pleads guilty to the charge, the Court records the plea of the accused and convicts him thereon and in case the
accusedchoosestopleadnotguiltyandclaimstobetried,thecourtfixesadatefortheexaminationofwitnessesandonthedatesofixed,thecourtshallproceedtotakeallsuchevidenceasmaybe
producedinsupportoftheprosecutionandtrialproceedsinthecourttilljudgmentofacquittalorconvictionispronouncedbythetrialcourt.
Thecontentsof'charge'havebeengiveninsection211oftheCodeofCriminalProcedure,1973.Thissectionreadsasunder:
Section211
(1)everychargeunderthisCodeshallstatetheoffencewithwhichtheaccusedischarged.
(2)Ifthelawwhichcreatestheoffencegivesitanyspecificname,theoffencemaybedescribedinthechargebythatnameonly.
(3)Ifthelawwhichcreatestheoffencedoesnotgiveitanyspecificname,somuchofthedefinitionoftheoffencemustbestatedastogivetheaccusednoticeofthematterwithwhich
heischarged.
(4)Thelawandsectionofthelawagainstwhichtheoffenceissaidtohavebeencommittedshallbementionedonthecharge.
(5)Thefactthatthechargeismadeisequivalenttoastatementthateverylegalconditionrequiredbylawtoconstitutetheoffencechargedwasfulfilledintheparticularcase.
(6)Thechargebewritteninthelanguageofthecourt.
(7)Iftheaccused,havingbeenpreviouslyconvictedofanyoffenceisliable,byreasonofsuchpreviousconvictiontoenhancedpunishment,ortopunishmentofadifferentkind,fora
subsequentoffenceanditisintendedtoprovesuchpreviousconvictionforthepurposeofaffectingthepunishmentwhichthecourtmaythinkfittoawardforthesubsequentoffence,
thefact,dateandplaceofthepreviousconvictionshallbestatedinthechargeandifsuchstatementhasbeenomitted,thecourtmayadditanytimebeforethesentenceispassed.
Thepurposeofachargeistotellanaccusedpersonaspreciselyandconciselyaspossibleofthematterwithwhichheischargedandmustconveytohimwithsufficientclearnessandcertaintywhat
theprosecutionintendstoproveagainsthimandofwhichhewillhavetoclearhimselfMannalalv.State,MANU/WB/0117/1967:AIR1967Cal478.
Sections211to214,giveclearandexplicitdirectionsastohowa'charge'shouldbedrawnup.Ithasbeenrepeatedlyheldthattheframingofproperchargeisvitaltoacriminaltrialandthatthisisa
matteronwhichthejudgeshouldbestowthemostcarefulattentionBalakrishnanv.State,MANU/KE/0100/1958:AIR1958Ker283.
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Section 212 of the Code says that "charge" must contain such particulars as to the time and place of the alleged offence and the person against whom, or the thing in respect of which it was
committedsothataccusedclearlytakesnoticeofthematterwithwhichheischarged.
Itfurthersaysthatwhentheaccusedischargedwithcriminalbreachoftrustordishonestmisappropriationofmoneyorothermovableproperty,itshallbesufficienttospecifythegrosssumor,as
thecasemaybe,describethemovablepropertyinrespectofwhichtheoffenceisallegedtohavebeencommitted,withoutspecifyingparticularitemsorexactdatesandthechargesoframedshall
bedeemedtobeachargeofoneoffence,providedthatthetimeincludedbetweenthefirstandlastofsuchdatesshallnotexceedoneyear.
Anynumberofactsofbreachoftrustcommittedwithinoneyearamountsonlytooneoffence.ButwhereaseriesofactsextendsovermorethanayearthejoinderofchargesisillegalDhanjibhoyv.
KarimKhan,(1904)PRNo.14of1905.
Achargeforcriminalbreachoftrustframedincontraventionofthissectionismerelyanirregularitywhichcanbecuredundersection215oftheCodeandwillnotvitiatethetrialwhentheaccusedis
notprejudicedKadiriKunhahammad,MANU/SC/0212/1959:AIR1960SC661.
In Sanghi Brother v. Sanjay Choudhary, MANU/SC/8097/2008 : AIR 2009 SC 9, the Supreme Court held that suspicion about commission of offence and involvement of the accused is sufficient to
frameachargeagainsttheaccused.
Section213readsWhenthenatureofthecaseissuchthattheparticularsmentionedinsections211and212donotgivetheaccusedsufficientnoticeofthematterwithwhichheischarged,the
chargeshallalsocontainsuchparticularsofthemannerinwhichtheallegedoffencewascommittedaswillbesufficientforthatpurpose.
In case the charge does not give the accused sufficient notice of the matter with which he is charged, the charge shall also contain such particulars of the manner in which the alleged offence was
committedsothattheaccusedunderstandsthechargefullywell.
Section 214 says that in every charge, words used in describing an offence shall be deemed to have been used in the sense attached to them respectively by the law under which such offence is
punishable, and section 215 says that no error in stating either the offence or the particulars required to be stated in the charge, and no omission to state the offence or those particulars shall be
regardedatanystageofthecaseasmaterial,unlesstheaccusedwasinfactmisledbysucherrororomissionandithasoccasionedafailureofjustice.
Thechargeshouldgiveclearpicturetotheaccusedthatheunderstandsthecontentsofthechargewhichhewoulddefendduringthetrialafterhepleadsnotguiltyandclaimstrial.Incaseanyerror
appearsinthe'charge'andispointedoutbythedefencethenitcanbeconsideredbythecourtiftheaccusedismisledbysucherrororomissionandthesamehascausedafailureofjustice.
"Mereomissionordefectinframingchargedoesnotdisablethecriminalcourtfromconvictingtheaccusedfortheoffencewhichisfoundtohavebeenprovedontheevidenceonrecord".TheCodeof
CriminalProcedurehasampleprovisionstomeetsuchasituationK.PremaS.Raov.VadlaSrinivasaRao,(2003)1SCC:2003CrLJSC69(217).
This section is intended to prevent any failure of justice for noncompliance with the matters required to be stated in the charge, unless the irregularity in the 'charge' has misled the accused and
occasionedafailureofjustice,theconvictioncannotbesetasideYeshwantv.State,(1926)28BomLR497.
The Code of Criminal Procedure under section 216 has given the power to the court to alter or add to any charge at any time before the judgment is pronounced. Such addition or alteration is then
explainedtotheaccusedandthecourtmayproceedwiththetrialasifsuchadditionoralterationwasthereintheoriginalchargeifitdoesnotcauseprejudicetotheaccusedinhisdefence.
Section216readsasunder:
(1)Anycourtmayalteroraddtoanychargeatanytimebeforejudgmentispronounced.
(2)Ifthealterationoradditiontoanychargeshallbereadandexplainedtotheaccused.
(3)Ifthealterationoradditiontoachargeissuchthatthecourtisofopinionthatproceedingimmediatelywiththetrialisnotlikelytoprejudicetheaccusedinhisdefenceortheprosecutorin
theconductofthecase,thecourtmayaftersuchalterationoradditionhasbeenmade,proceedwiththetrialasifthealteredoraddedchargehadbeentheoriginalcharge.
(4) If the alteration or addition to charge is such that the court is of the opinion that proceeding immediately with the trial is likely to prejudice the accused or the prosecutor, it may either
directanewtrialoradjournthetrialforsuchperiodwhichmaybenecessary.
(5)Iftheoffencestatedinthealteredoraddedchargeisonefortheprosecutionofwhichprevioussanctionisnecessary,thecaseshallnotbeproceededwithuntilsuchsanctionisobtained,
unlesssanctionhasbeenalreadyobtainedforaprosecutiononthesamefactsasthoseonwhichthealteredoraddedchargeisfounded.

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The purpose of any addition or alteration in the charge is to acquaint the accused with the added or altered accusation and in case the same does not prejudice his defence than the trial could be
furtherproceededasiftheadditionoralterationwasalreadyintheoriginalchargebutincaseifitprejudicestheaccused,thenretrialcanbedirectedbythecourtandwitnessescouldberecalled
and examined and crossexamined in the court. The accused gets an opportunity to defend himself if the retrial is directed by the court on the basis of alteration or addition in the charge. The
legislationhasrecognisedthevaluablerightoftheaccusedtodefendhimselfinthecourtiftheoriginalchargeisalteredoraddedandhemayseekfurthertrialanddefendhimselfonthealteredor
addedcharges.Theaccusedisallowedtorecallorresummonanywitnesswhomayhavebeenexaminedpriortoalterationoradditionofcharge,unlessthecourtconsidersthattheprosecutororthe
accused desires to recall or reexamine such witness for the purpose of vexation or delay or for defeating the ends of justice. The court may also grant permission to accused to call any further
witnesswhothecourtthinkstobematerialforthetrialaspersection217oftheCrPC.
TheCrPCprovidesundersection218thatforeverydistinctoffence,thereshallbeaseparatechargeandeverysuchchargeshallbetriedseparately:
Providedthatwheretheaccusedperson,byanapplicationinwriting,sodesiresandtheMagistrateisofopinionthatsuchpersonisnotlikelytobeprejudicedthereby,theMagistratemaytry
togetheralloranynumberofchargesframedagainstsuchperson.Theillustrationis,suppose"A"isaccusedofatheftononeoccasion,andofcausinggrievoushurtonanotheroccasion.A
mustbeseparatelychargedandseparatelytriedforthetheftandcausinggrievoushurt.
Sections219saysthatthreeoffencesofthesamekindwithinayearmaybechargedtogether.
Section219referstothecaseofonepersonaccusedofmoreoffencesthanoneofthesamekindwithinaperiodofoneyear,notexceedingthreeoffences.Itisnotapplicablewhereseveralpeople
aretriedjointlyBudhaiSheikh,(1905)33Cal292.
Itisnotenoughthattheactsmustbesimilarorthattheoffencesmustbesimilar,butinordertobringacasewithinthissection,theoffencesmustbe"ofthesamekind"asdefinedinsubsection(2)
ofsection219Chandrav.State,(1951)53BomLR928(FullBench).
In order to form the same transaction, a group of facts so connected together as to involve certain ideas e.g. unity, continuity and connection. In order to determine whether a group of facts
constitutesonetransaction,itisnecessarytoascertainwhethertheyaresoconnectedtogetherastoconstituteawholewhichcanproperlybedescribedasatransactionKanshiramJhunjhunwallav.
State,(1935)62Cal808.
TRIALFORMORETHANONEOFFENCE
Howthecourthastoproceedforthetrialformorethanoneoffence?
Section220oftheCodeprovidesforthetrialformorethanoneoffence.Thissectionreadsasunder:
Section220
(1)If,inoneseriesofactssoconnectedtogetherastoformthesametransaction,moreoffencesthanonearecommittedbythesameperson,hemaybechargedwith,andtriedatone
trialfor,everysuchoffence.
(2)Whenapersonchargedwithoneormoreoffencesofcriminalbreachoftrustordishonestmisappropriationofpropertyasprovidedinsubsection(2)ofsection212orinsubsection
(1) of section 219, 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,hemaybechargedwith,andtriedatonetrialfor,everysuchoffence.
(3)Iftheactsallegedconstituteanoffencefallingwithintwoormoreseparatedefinitionsofanylawinforceforthetimebeingbywhichoffencesaredefinedorpunished,theperson
accusedofthemmaybechargedwithandtriedatonetrialfor,eachofsuchoffences.
(4)Ifseveralacts,ofwhichoneormorethanonewouldbyitselforthemselvesconstituteanoffence,constitutewhencombinedadifferentoffence,thepersonaccusedofthemmaybe
chargedwith,andtriedatonetrialfortheoffenceconstitutedbysuchactswhencombined,andforanyoffenceconstitutedbyanyone,ormore,ofsuchacts.
(5)Nothingcontainedinsection220shallaffectsection71oftheIndianPenalCode.
Applicabilityofsection220
InJagannathv.StateofHarayana,1983CrLJ1574itwasheldthat,section220oftheCodeisapplicabletooffenceswhicharecommittedinseriesofactssoconnectedtogetherastoformthesame
transaction.
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Whennatureofoffenceisdoubtful
Section221providesfortheprovisionswhereitisdoubtfulwhatoffencehasbeencommitted.Thissectionsaysthat:
Section221
(1)Ifsingleactorseriesofactsisofsuchanaturethatitisdoubtfulwhichofseveraloffencesthefactswhichcanbeprovedwillconstitute,theaccusedmaybechargedwithhaving
committedalloranyofsuchoffences,andanynumberofsuchchargesmaybetriedatonceorhemaybechargedinthealternativewithhavingcommittedsomeofthesaidoffences.
(2) If in such a case, the accused is charged with one offence, and it appears in evidence that he committed a different offence for which he might have been charged under the
provisionsofsubsection(1),hemaybeconvictedoftheoffencewhichheisshowntohavecommitted,althoughhewasnotchargedwithit.
Whomaybechargedjointly?
Discussthesetofpersonswhomaybechargedjointly?
Section223oftheCodeprovidesforthejointtrialofpersonsincertaincircumstances.Thissectionsaysthat:
Section223
Thefollowingpersonsmaybechargedandtriedtogether,namely:
(a)personsaccusedofthesameoffencecommittedinthecourseofthesametransaction
(b)personaccusedofanoffenceandpersonsaccusedofabetmentof,orattempttocommit,suchoffence
(c)personsaccusedofmorethanoneoffenceofthesamekind,withinthemeaningofsection219committedbythemjointlywithintheperiodoftwelvemonths
(d)personsaccusedofdifferentoffencescommittedinthecourseofthesametransaction
(e) persons accused of an offence which includes theft, extortion, cheating, or criminal misappropriation, and persons accused of receiving or retaining, or assisting in the
disposal or concealment of, property possession of which is alleged to have been transferred by any such offence committed by the firstnamed persons, or of abetment of or
attemptingtocommitanysuchlastnamedoffence
(f)personsaccusedofoffencesundersections411and414oftheIndianPenalCode(45of1860)oreitherofthosesectionsinrespectofstolenpropertythepossessionofwhich
hasbeentransferredbyoneoffence
(g)personsaccusedofanyoffenceunderChapterXIIoftheIndianPenalCode(45of1860)relatingtocounterfeitcoinandpersonsaccusedofanyotheroffenceunderthesaid
Chapter relating to the same coin, or of abetment of or attempting to commit any such offence and the provisions contained in the former part of this Chapter shall, so far as
maybe,applytoallsuchcharges.
Provided that where a number of persons are charged with separate offences and such persons do not fall within any of the categories specified in this section, the
Magistrate or Court of Session may, if such persons by an application in writing, so desire, and if he is satisfied that such persons would not be prejudicially affected
thereby,anditisexpedientsotodo,tryallsuchpersonstogether.
Withdrawalofcertaincharges
Section224oftheCodeprovidesforthewithdrawalofremainingchargesonconvictionononeofseveralchargesinthefollowingwords:
Section224
When a charge containing more heads than one is framed against the same person, and when a conviction has been had on one or more of them, the complainant, or the officer
conducting the prosecution, may, with the consent of the court, withdraw the remaining charge or charges, or the court of its own accord may stay the inquiry into, or trial of, such
chargeorchargesandsuchwithdrawalshallhavetheeffectofanacquittalonsuchchargeorcharges,unlesstheconvictionbesetaside,inwhichthesaidcourt(subjecttotheorderof
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thecourtsettingasidetheconviction)mayproceedwiththeinquiryintoortrialof,thechargeorchargessowithdrawn.
Section224providesforcertainchargestobewithdrawnwiththepermissionofthecourtaftertheaccusedhasbeenconvictedononeormoreofthecharges.Suchwithdrawalofthechargesshall
havetheeffectofacquittalinrespectofthosecharges.
TheCourtwillnotappreciateevidenceatthetimeofframingcharge
InHemChandv.StateofJharkhand,MANU/SC/7322/2008:AIR2008SC1903,itwasheldthatatthestageofframingchargetheCourtexercisesalimitedjurisdiction.AtthatstagetheCourtwillnot
weightheevidence.Itwouldonlyhavetoseeastowhetheraprimafaciecaseshasbeenmadeoutandwouldnotdelvedeepintothematterforthepurposeofappreciationofevidence.TheCourt
would not ordinarily considers as to whether the accused would be able to establish his defence, if any. The stage for appreciating the evidence for the purpose of arriving at a conclusion as to
whethertheprosecutionwasabletobringhomethechargeagainsttheaccusedornotwouldariseonlyafteralltheevidencearebroughtonrecordsatthetrial.
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