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Section 313 CrPC Examination Not A Mere Procedural Formality; Trial Court Has To Question Accused Fairly With Care And Caution: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
29 May 2021 6:38 AM GMT
Section 313 CrPC Examination Not A Mere Procedural Formality; Trial Court Has To Question Accused Fairly With Care And Caution: Supreme Court
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"Examination of an accused under Section 313, CrPC cannot be treated as a mere procedural formality"

The Supreme Court, in a judgment delivered yesterday, expressed its concern over recording of statements under Section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure in a very casual and cursory manner.The bench comprising CJI NV Ramana and Justice Aniruddha Bose observed that the examination of an accused under Section 313, CrPC cannot be treated as a mere procedural formality, as it based on the...

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The Supreme Court, in a judgment delivered yesterday, expressed its concern over recording of statements under Section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure in a very casual and cursory manner.

The bench comprising CJI NV Ramana and Justice Aniruddha Bose observed that the examination of an accused under Section 313, CrPC cannot be treated as a mere procedural formality, as it based on the fundamental principle of fairness.

It imposes an obligation on the court to question the accused fairly, with care and caution, the court said.

The court observed thus while dismissing the appeal filed by accused who were convicted under Section 304B IPC.  The appellants were convicted by the Trial Court for the offences under Sections 304­B and 306, IPC and were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years for the offence punishable under Section 304­B, IPC and to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years for the offence punishable under Section 306, IPC. The High Court had upheld the Trial Court judgment.

20. It is a matter of grave concern that, often, Trial Courts record the statement of an accused under Section 313, CrPC in a very casual and cursory manner, without specifically questioning the accused as to his defense. It ought to be noted that the examination of an accused under Section 313, CrPC cannot be treated as a mere procedural formality, as it is based on the fundamental principle of fairness. This provision incorporates the valuable principle of natural justice­ "audi alteram partem", as it enables the accused to offer an explanation for the incriminatory material appearing against him. Therefore, it imposes an obligation on the part of the Court to question the accused fairly, with care and caution. The Court must put incriminating circumstances before the accused and seek his response. A duty is also cast on the counsel of the accused to prepare his defense, since the inception of the trial, with due caution, keeping in consideration the peculiarities of Section 304­B, IPC read with Section 113­B, Evidence Act.

The court also referred to Section 232, CrPC which provides that, "If, after taking the evidence for the prosecution, examining the accused and hearing the prosecution and the defence on the point, the Judge considers that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence, the Judge shall record an order of acquittal".

"Once the Trial Court decides that the accused is not eligible to be acquitted as per the provisions of Section 232, CrPC, it must move on and fix hearings specifically for 'defence evidence', calling upon the accused to present his defense as per the procedure provided under Section 233, CrPC, which is also an invaluable right provided to the accused. Existence of such procedural right cohesively sits with the rebuttable presumption as provided under Section 113­B, Evidence Act.", the court said.

Also Read:  Phrase "Soon Before" Section 304B IPC Cannot Mean 'Immediately Before': Supreme Court Issues Guidelines For Trial In Dowry Death Cases


Case: Satbir Singh Vs. State Of Haryana [CRA 1735­-1736 OF 2010]
Coram: CJI NV Ramana, Justice Aniruddha Bose
Citation: LL 2021 SC 260



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