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Report No. 244

B. Reform Proposal

(i) Explanation of the charging process

The purpose of a charge in a criminal trial is to give precise information to the accused about the accusation against him. A charge serves as notice to the accused, drawn up in precise and unambiguous legal language, of the nature of the accusation the accused has to answer to in trial. VC Shukla v. State through CBI, 1980 Cri LJ 690, 732. The charges should contain all particular details with respect to the manner, time, place, and persons against whom it was committed etc. Sections 211, 212, and 213, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The procedure leading up to the framing of charges is as follows. After the investigation of a case, the police may file either a charge-sheet or a closure report with the Magistrate. Upon the filing of the charge-sheet, a Magistrate may take cognizance of the offences in the charge-sheet and summon the accused. Charges are framed thereafter in accordance with Section 228 of the CrPC.

The framing of charges requires the court to look into the evidence presented by the Prosecution and apply its mind to the question of what offences, if any, the accused should be charged with. The framing of charges signifies the commencement of a trial. Alternatively, the Judge may hear arguments on charge and find that no prima facie case against the accused is made out, upon which the accused is discharged.

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