Warrant cases means the cases which are a more serious offence that is punishable with death, life imprisonment or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years. The trials of warrant cases are conducted by the Court of Session or by Magistrate. If the offence is more serious then it is triable by the Court of Sessions, whereas if the offence is less serious warrant case then it is triable by the Magistrate.
Trial of Warrant cases is divided into two parts:
i) “Trial before a Court of Sessions”
ii) “Trial by a Magistrate”
Trial before a Court of Sessions (Section220-237)
Section 225-Trial to be conducted by the Public Prosecutor.
Before a Court of Session, the prosecution shall be conducted by the Public Prosecutor. The Public Prosecutor represents the State in all the trials before the Court of Sessions. In Shiva Kumar v. Humum Chand[i] , it is held that the prosecution in the Court of Sessions should be conducted by Public Prosecutor and no other person can conduct.
Section 226-Opening Case For Prosecution.
When the accused commits an offence under Section 209, and the accused was brought before the Court, the Prosecutor shall open his case by explaining the charge against the accused and states the evidence he proposes to prove the guilt of accused. The opening of prosecution always is to matters which are necessary to follow the evidence. It is not necessary to include the full documents of evidence to present before the Court Of Sessions during the opening of prosecution. The Prosecutor is required to address the witnesses of the case and whom he proposes to call.
The Court, after consideration of the records of the case and the documents submitted, and hearing the prosecution and the accused, if the judge considers that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused, he shall discharge the accused under Section227. And it is necessary to record the reasons for discharging of accused.
Section 228-Framing Of Charge
The Court, after considering the record of cases and documents as evidence and hearing the prosecution and the accused, if it is found that the accused has committed the offence, and exclusively triable in Court of Session, he will frame the charge against the accused. If the case is not exclusively triable in Court of Session, the judge may frame the charge and transfer the case to Chief Judicial Magistrate or any other Judicial Magistrate of First Class
In Bhawna Bai v. Ghanashyam& Ors [ii], it was held that while framing the charges, prima facie case has to be seen and at that stage, the Court is not required to record order. Also, it is not necessary to record whether the case is beyond reasonable doubt
According to sec228(2) of CRpC the charge must be read and explained to the accused by the Court and ask the accused whether we want to plead guilty.
Section 229 – Conviction on Plea of Guilty
Under this section, the Court can accept the plea of the accused and he also ensures that the plea of the accused is made by himself, not under any influence. The judge after recording the plea may in his discretion convict the accused.
Section 230 – Date For Prosecution Evidence and Section 231 – Evidence for Prosecution
If the accused refused to plead guilty or does not plead, or claim to be tried then the Judge may issue any process for compelling the production of any document or for the attendance of the witness or other thing. The judge shall proceed to take all the evidence produced by the Prosecution.
Section 232 – Acquittal
If there is no evidence against the accused then the judge can order acquittal under Section232 or the evidence submitted by the prosecution against the accused, if the court found it as groundless then a judge can order an acquittal
Section233 – Defence
If the accused is not acquitted the steps for defence may starts and he shall be entered on his defence to produce the evidence in his support. The evidence produced by the defence in written form will be filed by the Judge as a record.
Section 235 – Judgement Of Acquittal or Conviction and Section 236 Previous Conviction
After hearing the arguments(Section 234 CrPC), the judge will decide the case. The judgement of acquittal or conviction is only after the hearing of both the prosecution and the defence. Section 236 of CrPc states that, if the accused is convicted previously under Section 211(7) and if the accused not admitting the previous conviction, then the judge may call for the evidence of the previous charge.
Trial Of Warrant Cases By Magistrate
Section 238 – 250 deals with the trial of warrant cases by the magistrate. And it is classified into two types:-
1.Trial of Cases Instituted on Police Report
2. Trial of Cases Instituted Otherwise than on Police Report
Before the trial, the Magistrate assure that accused has been supplied with copies of FIR, Police report and the statement recorded by police from the witnesses and all other necessary documents that stated under Section 207CrPC.
Discharge of Accused- Section 239
Considering the police report and other documents, the Magistrate finds the charge against accused as baseless, he shall discharge the accused and record the reasons. The discharge of the accused is before the framing of charges. But the order of discharge under the section will not amount to the acquittal of the accused as the trial is not commenced.
Framing of Charges- Section 240
The Magistrate, after considering the police report, documents and records of case will frame the charges against the accused if he is satisfied with the grounds for presuming that the accused has committed the offence. And after framing the charges it shall be read and explained to accused and shall be asked whether the accused is guilty.
Evidence For Prosecution – Section 247
The accused refused to plead, or does not plead, or claims to be tried the Magistrate fix a date for the examination of prosecution witnesses. And the Magistrate, on the application of the prosecution, will issue a summons to any person as a witness and ask him to produce the documents.
Statement Of Accused
Under Section 313 CrPc accused is examined to explain the circumstances appearing in evidence of the case against him. During the examing of the accused the questions and answer which given is recorded.
Evidence For Defence
The accused enters upon the defence and produce the evidence and if the accused puts in a written form, the Magistrate file it to record. In Rasik Behrj v. State of U.P [iii], it was held that after the examination the accused may call for entering the defence and produce the evidence and it is considering as a right of the accused. The Magistrate has to give a reasonable opportunity to the accused to produce evidence.[iv]
Argument And Judgement
The last two stages are consist of argument and the judgement by the Magistrate. The argument is when the defence complete with their evidence, and Prosecutor sum up the case and the accused or his lawyer has to reply on it. After the argument, the next stage is acquittal or conviction of the accused by the Magistrate.[v]
Frequently Asking Questions
What is a Warrant Case?
Warrant case is more serious offences which are punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term of two years. Trial of warrant cases is conducted either by the Court of Sessions or by the Magistrate.
“The views of the authors are personal“
[i] (1999) 7 SCC 467
[ii] Appeal (Crl.), 1820 of 2019
[iii] 1973 CriLJ 1648
[iv] Section 243 The Criminal Procedure Code 1973
[v] Section 248 The Criminal Procedure Code 1973