Report No. 154
C. Plea Bargaining: Insertion of New Chapter Xiia: Procedure For Pre-Trial Bargaining and Plea Bargaining
1. Whether before the commencement of trial an endeavour should be made by the Magistrate to explore the willingness of the parties to compounding the compoundable offences?
2. Do you agree with the suggestion that a separate chapter XIIA for concessional treatment to offenders willing to plead guilty be introduced in the Code of Criminal Procedure on the lines recommended by the Law Commission of India in its 142nd Report on "Concessional Treatment for Offenders who on their own initiative choose to plead guilty without any bargaining"? Such procedure may inter atia provide for the following:
(a) Competent Authority.-The jurisdiction for the exercise of the powers under this chapter shall be exercised by the Competent Authority mentioned hereunder:
In respect of criminal cases where the relevant statute provides for imprisonment of less than 7 years for the offences alleged to have been committed, a metropolitan magistrate or a magistrate of the first class, designated by the High Courts and in respect of criminal cases where the relevant statute provides for imprisonment is between years to 10 years for the offences alleged to have been committed a Bench consisting of two services, duly designated in the High Court shall be the Competent Authorities under this Chapter for the purposes of receiving, considering and disposing the application files under this chapter.
(b) The procedure may be invoked only by the offender himself by making an application pleading guilty with a plea bargaining after cognizance is taken and before the evidence is recorded.
(c) The application will be entertained only after the Competent Authority is, upon ascertaining in the manner specific in the procedure, is satisfied that it is made voluntarily and knowingly.
(d) The Competent Authority will hear the application in the presence of the aggrieved party and the public prosecutor.
The Competent Authority shall thereupon impose the necessary such punishments as it deems fit, keeping in view the nature of the offence and the penal provision attracted and plea of the accused.