Report No. 154
27. Procedure for criminal trials.-
(1) In every criminal case trial by the Nyaya Panchayat, as soon as the accused appears before the Nyaya Panchayat, he shall be questioned whether he pleads guilty to the accusation or not. If he pleads guilty the Nyaya Panchayat shall record the plea and pass orders of conviction and sentence him only to fine not exceeding the amount of fine prescribed for the concerned offence under the law.
(2) If the accused does not plead guilty he shall be asked to file a statement of his defence. Where however he gives oral statement it shall be reduced to writing and his signature shall be obtained thereon. After hearing both the complainant and the accused, the Nyaya Panchayat shall give its findings whether the offence is proved or not. If the accused is found guilty, the Nyaya Panchayat shall impose a fine, not exceeding the amount of fine prescribed for the concerned offence under the law; but shall not award any sentence of imprisonment, though prescribed for such offence.
(3) If the Nyaya Panchayat is of the opinion that the case warrants recording of evidence following the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Central Act 2 of 1974) or warrants imprisonment in case of conviction, whether it is a case falling under sub-section (1) of sub-section (2), it shall request the Nyayapalaka to assist and advise the Nyaya Panchayat in the trial and in reaching the findings as far as possible following the summary procedure laid down in sections 260 to 265 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. After the trial is concluded the Nyaya palaka shall tender his advice to the Nyaya Panchayat and after considering the same the Nyaya Panchayat shall take a decision and pronounce the judgment accordingly.
(4) The provisions of section 19 shall apply to the trial of criminal cases also by the Nyaya Panchayat.