Madras High Court, noticing the practice of filing of draft charges being insisted upon by the trial Courts, has observed that, Framing of Charges is essentially a judicial function and the Courts vetting it to Public Prosecutors and defense counsel is not authorised by law.
Justice Dr. P.Devadass made this observation while dismissing a challenge against the Trial court dismissing a discharge petition.
FRAMING OF CHARGE A JUDICIAL FUNCTION
The Court observed that Framing of charges in a criminal trial is a judicial function and it is to be performed by the Court.The Court said “Asking a Public Prosecutor to file draft charge is like asking the counsels in a civil case to file draft issues. A Court should not ask it. It cannot delegate its judicial function to them. “
FRAMING OF CHARGE HELPS COURT TO GET GRIP OF THE CASE
The Court also explained the benefit of court framing the charge itself as follows “The benefit of a Court itself framing the charges or learned a Civil Judge himself framing the issues is that the Court will get grip of the case/ matter. The Court will get educated. The Court will put both the Prosecutor and the defence counsel on the right path. The Court's attention would be focussed on the work to be done.”
INSISTING FOR DRAFT CHARGE NOT AUTHORISED BY LAW
Getting a draft charge from the Public Prosecutor and the Court vetting it is not a practice authorised by law and it will be against the spirit of Criminal law to direct the defence counsel to file a draft charge because he is constitutionally bound to defend the accused and not offend him, the judge added. However the Court clarified that there is no harm in the prosecution indicating the charges to be framed.
VICTIM ALSO ENTITLED TO HAVE RIGHT TO SPEEDY TRIAL
With regard to a connected petition filed by the complainant in this case praying for expeditious disposal of the case, the court said “Equally, the victim is also entitled to have similar right. The victim, de facto complainant is entitled to know the result of the case given by him. So also, the dejure complainant/police/prosecution. The quick disposal of a Criminal case has the twin benefit of a guilty being punished or appropriately dealt quickly and an innocent is freed quickly.”
Read the order here.