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Report No. 142

4.6. Basically two questions arise for consideration. The first question is whether the scheme of "plea-bargaining" deserves to be introduced in the Indian Criminal Jurisprudence? If the answer to this question is 'No', further questions do not arise. The second basic question, if the answer to the first question is in the affirmative, is whether the scheme should be applied to all categories of offences without any discrimination or only to specified offences?

4.7. Out of the persons whose views were recorded personally, 65 persons expressed the view that it would be appropriate and beneficial to introduce the concept of "plea-bargaining" whereas 32 persons indicated their mind "against" the introduction of the concept. Out of the 65 persons who reacted "favourably" to the introduction of the concept, 27 persons were of the view that the scheme could be applied to 'all' offences without discrimination. The remaining 38 persons qualified their view by adding a rider. According to them the scheme could be applied to only specified offences. Particularly speaking.

These persons hold the view that the scheme should not be extended to major offences and economic offences. There is again a wide divergence in the concept of "Major offences". Some are of the view that the exclusion should be only of offences which are liable to be punished by death sentence or life imprisonment; some put it as offences for which imprisonment is more than to years; yet others put it as offences punishable with imprisonment for 7 years and more. Such are the views of those persons favourably disposed towards the concept being introduced in our criminal jurisprudence.

4.8. It may be pointed out that there is an almost near unanimity in the view that the scheme should not be extended to socio-economic offences and offences involving moral turpitude.

4.9. It was already mentioned that responses were received from 325 judicial officers by way of replies to the questionnaire. Out of these, 242 judicial officers expressed their views in favour of introduction of the concept while the remaining 83 officers are against the introduction. Out of the 242 officers, 41 officers are in favour of the introduction of the scheme to 'all offences' whereas 201 officers expressed themselves against extension of the principle to all offences.

The 201 officers who expressed themselves against the application of this scheme to major offences hold the view that it can be applied to less serious offences. They are willing to classify less serious offences as offences for which imprisonment is seven years and more: offences for which imprisonment as 10 years and more; and offences which are liable for punishment with death or life imprisonment.

4.10. The statistical data may be summed up as under:

No. of persons who appeared before the Commission in persons and expressed their views.

97

No. of persons who answered the questionnaire

325

422

No. persons in favour of introduction of the concept

307

No. of persons opposed to the introduction

115

422

No. of persons in favour of introduction of the concept to all offences.

68

No. of persons in favour of introducing the concept only to specified offences.

239

307

The survey reinforces the view that an improved version of the practise suitable to law and legal ethos of India needs to be considered with seriousness and with a sense of urgency. But before proceeding to do so it might be useful to take into account the thinking taking place on this very subject in Canada where the Law Commission has issued a working Paper recommending the practise of plea-bargaining in Canada where just like India it does exist at present. That will be the endeavour in the next Chapter.



Concessional Treatment for Offenders who on their own initiative choose to plead guilty without any bargaining Back




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