The Code of Criminal Procedure most commonly known termed as Criminal Procedure Code. It is the main legislation which focuses on procedure for administration of criminal law in India. It was passed in 1973 and came into force on 1st April 1974. It acts as a tool for the investigation of crime, getting hold of suspected criminals, seizing of an evidence, determination of guilt or innocence of the accused person and the determining the punishment of the guilty. It also deals with maintenance of child, wife and parents, public nuisance and prevention of offences. The act consists of 484 sections which are divided into 37 chapters, 2 schedules and 56 forms.
In medieval India, equivalent to the law followed by the Muslims, the Mohammedan Criminal Law came into existence. The British rulers enacted the Regulating Act of 1773 under which a Supreme Court was established in Calcutta and after it was also set at Madras and in Bombay. The objective of Supreme Court was to apply British procedural law while determining the cases based on the Crown’s subjects. After the Revolt of 1857, the crown took over the administration from East India Company. It was during that when time The Criminal Procedure Code, 1861 was passed by the British parliament. The CrPC was brought into the force for the first time ever in 1882 and then amended in 1898.
Cognizable offences means the offences for which a police officer may arrest without a court warrant, in relation with the first schedule of the code. In case of non-cognizable offences the police officer may arrest only after being duly ordered by a warrant. Non-cognizable offences are relatively less serious offences than cognizable ones. Cognizable offences reported under section 154 Cr.P.C whereas non-cognizable offences are reported under section 155 Cr.P.C.
Section 204 of the code, a Magistrate taking cognizance of an offence is to issue summons for the attendance of the accused, if the case is a summons case. If the case appears to be a warrant case, he may issue a warrant or summons, as he fits in. Section 2(w) of the Code defines summons-case as, a case relating to an offence, and not being termed as a warrant-case. Section 2(x) of the Code defines warrant-case as, a case relating to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years.
The Code and the Constitution of India together provide for multiple ways for the appellate to seek remedy. A person convicted by the High Court exercising original criminal jurisdiction may appeal in Supreme Court. Where the High Court has, on appeal reversed an order of acquittal and sentenced him to death and imprisonment is for a term of ten years or more, the accused may appeal to the Supreme Court. Judgements and orders arising from cases are not appealable unless the sentences are combined with other sentences. There cannot be an appeal when the accused pleads guilty and is convicted on such plea by the High Court.
The functions of a civil court may be performed by a criminal court by righteousness of Section 357, 358 and 359. This has been done to provide, speedy and less expensive redress to the victim. The court is empowered to impose a fine on the offender. Such fine may, wholly or in part, be used for the purpose of compensating the victim according to the amendment of 2009. A new section 357A has been injected which speaks about victim’s compensation scheme. Further in the year 2013 two new sections namely section 357B and section 357C were injected to make compensation in addition to fine imposed under section 364A or 376D of the IPC.
Section 144 has been proven effective in the past to impose restrictions as a means to prevent protests that can lead to riots. It was introduced in 1861. Imposition of Section 144 of CrPC gives power to the Executive Magistrate of a state or any territoryto issue an order to prohibit the formation of four or more people in an area. According to the section 144, every single member of such unlawful assembly can be booked for engaging in rioting.
Other activities restricted under section 144 are-
- It restricts carrying any sort of weapon in that area where it has been imposed and people can be arrested for violating it. The punishment for such an act is imprisonment for 3 years.
- According to this section, there shall be no movement of public and all educational institutions shall also remain closed.
- Moreover, obstructing law enforcement agencies from dispersing and unlawful assembly is a punishable offence.
- Section 144 also authorizes the government to block internet access.
Thus CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE is a machinery to keep control on all the criminal offences and to maintain harmony in minds of common citizens.
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