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Report No. 77

12. Criminal cases

(68) In criminal cases, it is particularly necessary that delay be eliminated, since the decision depends upon oral rather than documentary evidence, and with the passage of time, the memory of witness fades;1

Every criminal court should keep a register sho g the number of witnesses summoned for a date, the number examined, t number sent back and reasons for sending them back without examination.2 The tendency of some criminal courts of sending back witnesses without examinin them must be deprecated.

1. Para. 12.1.

2. Para. 12.2.

(69) The law should be amended to enable a ssions Judge to act on evidence partly or wholly recorded by his predecessor1

1. Paras. 12.3 to 12.7 (section 326, Cr PC, 1973).

(70) At least two police officials at every police station should be set apart for getting service of summonses effected upon witnesses for cases relating, to that police station and for ensuring their presence on the date of hearing1

1. Para. 12.8.

(70A) The police quite often deliberately refrain from producing all material witnesses on one date, the object being to clear up the lacunae in the prosecution evidence after the defence case becomes manifest by cross-examination. This practice is unfair and not warranted by the Criminal Procedure Code, and results in prolongation of the trial.1

1. Para. 12.8A.

(70B) In one metropolitan city, in the courts of Magistrates, there was a huge pending files relating to traffic and municipal offences to be tried summarily, some of which were more than one or two years old. Delay in disposal was attributed to th0.act that the police had not been able to get service elected upon the accused.1

1. Para. 12.8B.

(71) Officials at the police station who are concerned with investigation should concentrate on investigation. As far as possible, they should not be deputed for other purposes.1

1. Para. 12.9.

(71A) Desirability of separating the investigating agency of the police from that dealing with law and order may have to be considered. The question whether the investigating agency should be not susceptible to executive interference and, for that purpose, be independent of executive control may also need consideration.1

1. Para. 12.9A.

(72) The Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, section 130(1) provides for a special procedure for certain traffic offences whereunder the accused can plead guilty to the charge by post and remit the specified fine. In the case of persons other than professional drivers for some specified offences of a minor nature, the ticket issued by the policeman should also contain separately the amounts of fine for various categories of traffic offences in respect of different types of vehicles, so that if the person committing the infraction of law is so inclined, be can plead guilty and also remit the amount of fine to the court concerned before the date of hearing.1

1. Para. 12.11.

(73) Disposal of cases in which there is a large number of accused, gets delayed because one of the accused absents himself on the date of hearing. The trial court in such contingencies should consider the advisability of directing representation of the absent by counsel.1

1. Para. 12.12.

(73A) Having regard to the importance attached to the framing of the charge, the trial magistrates should not leave it to the prosecutor to frame a charge.1

1. Para. 12.12A.

(73B) In recording statements of the accused under section 313, Cr. P.C. the magistrates should ensure that all incriminating pieces of evidence are put to the accused.1

1. Para. 12.12A.

(74) Complaints have been heard that there are not enough number of prosecutors, particularly in cases under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and those investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Steps should be taken to ensure that there are as many prosecutors as there are Criminal Courts.1

1. Para. 12.14.

(75) Where the same Judicial Officer exercises both civil and criminal powers, normally he should not fix both the type of cases on the same day. If such a course cannot be avoided, he should set apart separate time for civil and criminal cases.1

1. Para. 12.15.

(76) Cases in which there is possibility of death sentence should receive priority over all other cases.1

1. Para. 12.16.

Delay and Arrears in Trial Courts Back

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