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Report No. 41

Report No. 41

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898


Some time after the Law Commission, as first constituted, had submitted its report1 on the Reform of Judicial Administration, the Commission was reconstituted and it was asked by the Government of India to undertake a detailed examination of the Code of Criminal Procedure with a view to its general revision. The work was started immediately and has been going on continuously since 1961.

While this intensive study of the Code was in progress, the Commission found it necessary to consider a few specific problems arising out of certain provisions of the Code and report separately thereon to the Government. In chronological order these were.-

(i) Report on the Evidence of Officers of the Mint and of the Indian Security Press regarding forged stamps, currency notes etc., (connected with section 510 of the Code)2;

(ii) Report on section 9 of the Code regarding the appointment of Sessions Judges, Additional Sessions Judges and Assistant Sessions Judges3;

(iii) Report on section 44 of the Code and a suggestion to add a provision relating to the reporting of, and the disclosure in evidence about, offence relating to bribery4; and

(iv) Report on sections 497, 498 and 499 of the Code with reference to the question of granting of bail with conditions.5

Thereafter the Commission gave its comprehensive Report6 on the first fourteen chapters comprising sections 1 to 176, of the Code.

1. 14th Report, given on September 26, 1953.

2. 25th Report, given on September 27, 1963.

3. 32nd Report, given on May 29, 1967.

4. 33rd Report, given on December 15, 1967.

5. 36th Report, given on January 9, 1968.

6. 37th Report, given on February 19, 1968, was signed by Shri J.L. Kapur (Chairman) and Sarvashri K.G. Datar, S.S. Dulat, T.K. Tope and R.P. Mookerjee (Members). Shri R.P. Mookerjee signed the Report subject to a dissenting note.

The Commission was then r.-constituted in March, 1968, with the following Members.-

(1) Shri K.V.K. Sundaram, retired Chief Election Commissioner of India, (Chairman);

(2) Shri S.S. Dulat, retired Judge of the Punjab High Court;

(3) Shri R.P. Mookerjee signed the Report subject to a dissenting note;

(4) Shri B.N. Lokur, formerly Law Secretary to the Government of India;

(5) Shrimati Anna Chandi, retired Judge of the Kerala High Court; and

(6) Shri S. Balakrishnan, Joint Secretary and Legal Advisor to the Government of India.

Shri B.N. Lokur, however, was with the Commission only for a short period from March 20 to July 4, 1968, when he was appointed a Judge of the Allahabad High Court. His place was taken by Shri R.L. Narasimham, retired Chief Justice of the Patna High Court, on August 5, 1968.

After reconstitution the Commission took up a detailed study of the Code from where the previous Commission had ended its Report, viz., section 177. One matter which particularly engaged the attention of the Commission was the scheme of committal proceedings, both as it operated before the amendment of the Code in 1955 and as it has been operating since that amendment. The opinions received by the Commission from qualified and wel.-informed persons were highly critical of the changes made in 1955. Many of them were of the view that committal proceedings, as now held under section 207A of the Code, served no useful purpose.

There were also suggestions that committal proceedings in any form were unnecessary and should be totally abolished and that all cases triable by a Court of Session should be brought directly before it instead of being committed to it for trial after a preliminary inquiry by a Magistrate. As this was obviously a very important matter, it was decided to obtain the views of the High Courts, the Bar Council and the State Governments and a detailed letter was addressed to them in August 1968 soliciting their views.

Towards the end of its study of the Code, the Commission felt that, before coming to final conclusions, it would be desirable to consult the Bench and the Bar on the more important general questions which had come up for discussion and that their views could be ascertained more quickly and satisfactorily by Members of the Commission going round the High Courts, meeting the Judges and representatives of the Bar interested in criminal procedure and informally discussing with them the questions we had in mind. The Commission accordingly started these discussions in the first week of January 1969, in Delhi itself, meeting first the Judges of the High Court for Delhi and Himachal Pradesh and then representatives of the High Court Bar Association and of the District Bar Association.

Between January 15 and March 15, one or more Members of the Commission visited the High Courts at Allahabad, Bangalore, Bombay, Calcutta Chandigarh, Jabalpur, Madras and Patna and held discussions. At all these centres we took the opportunity of discussing with the concerned officers of the State Governments and police chiefs various problems connected with the constitution of criminal courts, separation of the executive from the judiciary, the organisation of public prosecutors and the Code provisions relating to police investigation.

These discussions have been of invaluable assistance to us in clarifying our ideas and formulating our recommendations for revising the Code. We would, in particular, record our grateful thanks to the Judges of High Courts for readily sparing time for the meetings and giving us the benefit of their individual views on the topics discussed.

Although the first fourteen chapters of the Code have been exhaustively analysed in the previous Report of the Law Commission and a number of amendments have been proposed, we have found it unavoidably necessary to review their recommendations, to modify or alter them here and there, and to suggest in places a different line of revisions. A finely integrated and comprehensive law like the Code of Criminal Procedure cannot possibly be revised piecemeal, since amendments suggested in one part of the Code naturally affect provisions in other parts to a greater or lesser extent. We, therefore, propose in this final Report on the Code to consider it chapter by chapter starting from the beginning and to present the Commission's recommendations in a consolidated form.

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