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Plea Bargaining A comparative analysis

Between United States and India


Comparative Criminal Procedure

Sarita Gaur
Roll No.09BAL014
Semester IX
B.A.LL.B. (Hons.)


Mr.Sushant Rochlani
Asst. Prof., ILNU

Submitted to

Chapter 1
1.1 Introduction:In modern times, plea bargaining has become the primary procedure through which vast
proportion of cases can be disposed off. It is a non- trial mode of procedure. Plead
Guilty and ensure Lesser Sentence is the shortest possible meaning of Plea Bargaining.
It can be also be defined as pre-trial negotiations between the accused and the
prosecution during which the accused agrees to plead guilty in exchange for certain
concessions by the prosecution. Plea Bargaining can be defined as Pre-Trial
negotiations between the accused and the prosecution during which the accused agrees
to plead guilty in exchange for certain concessions by the prosecution. It gives criminal
defendants the opportunity to avoid sitting through a trial risking and conviction on the
original more serious charge. For example, a criminal defendant charged with a theft
charge, the conviction of which would require imprisonment in state prison, may be
offered the opportunity to plead guilty to a theft charge, which may not carry jail time.
Plea Bargaining can be of two types1:viz. Charge Bargaining and Sentence bargaining .

Plea bargaining is a significant part of criminal justice in the United States as

roughly 90% of criminal cases are settled through the method rather than by a jury trial.
Plea bargains in the US are subject to the approval of the court and different states and
jurisdiction have different rules. On account of its efficiency, plea bargaining has won the
endorsement of the Supreme Court as "an essential component of the administration of
justice"2 In the case of Santobello v. New York, Chief Justice Burger explained there that
plea bargaining "is to be encouraged" because "if every criminal charge were subjected to
2 Santobello v. New York, 404 U.S. 257, 260, 1971

a full-scale trial, the States and the Federal Government would need to multiply by many
times the number of judges and court facilities."
In India the 154th Report of the Law Commission first recommended the
introduction of plea bargaining as an alternative method to deal with huge arrears of
criminal cases, the recommendation of the Law Committee finally found a support in
Malimath Committee Report. When the draft Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2003
was introduced in the parliament. The statement of objects and reasons, for introduction
of plea bargaining, mentions that, the disposal of criminal trials in the courts takes
considerable time and that in many cases trial do not commence for as long as 3 to 5
years after the accused was remitted to judicial custody, though not recognized by the
criminal jurisprudence, it is seen as an alternative method to deal with the huge arrears of
criminal cases3 thus the concept of plea bargaining was introduced in India Criminal
Justice System in the year 2005 by means of Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2005. By
this amendment, a new Chapter XXI A has been introduced in the Code of Criminal

1.2Research problem:-

Plea bargaining has been criticized as it feels that it is not recognized and is against
public policy and criminal justice system. It has several drawbacks. This paper makes a
comparative study in implementation of plea bargaining in India in comparison to
United States where it has been very successful.


1.3Hypothesis:The hypothesis developed on the basis of study in this research case is as follows:
That plea bargaining will lead to speedy trial, which is the essence of criminal
justice. Plea-bargaining will solve cases involving petty offences and the courts
will concentrate on more serious offences.
That both the victims and the accused will benefit from the scheme, victim can
get compensation and also save himself from long drawn Judicial Process. Less
time and money consuming.

1.4 Research Methodology:The research methodology herein is used is the doctrinal and analytical
one. Thus, the research being doctrinal one, the material has been collected from the
secondary sources, i.e. books, various websites, and case laws. Apart from secondary
sources primary sources by case study has also been done.

1.5 Objective:The fundamental objectives of the present research project are: To analyze the provisions of law for Plea bargaining.
To study mechanism for Plea bargaining in India with comparison to United

1.6 Scope of research project:4

Implementation of plea bargaining will no doubt would speed up disposition

of piled up cases before courts.However,the same has been criticized as it seems that
the concept is not legally justified. However, it is the need of the hour. Main issues
pertaining to the concept has been discussed with reference to law, mechanism for its
adoption in Indian conditions.

1.7 SCHEME OF THE STUDY:Chapter 1-Introduction

Chapter 2- Meaning and Concept of plea bargaining
Chapter 3- Procedure regarding plea bargaining in India
Chapter 4-Procedure regarding plea bargaining in United States

1.8 Literature review:In the book of Law relating to Plea Bargaining written by Dr.Suman Rai ,author
discussed the reason to introduce the concept of plea bargaining in India .In U.S it has
been practiced successfully, it was prevalent in many American states. However, the
concept of plea bargaining does not prevalent in India as such. The author also compares
the concept of plea bargaining in India and US with reference to some landmark cases.