Thursday 7 December 2023

Notes on plea bargaining

 Plea bargaining is a legal process where the accused and the prosecution negotiate and reach a mutually acceptable agreement, usually resulting in a guilty plea in exchange for certain concessions or benefits. It allows for the resolution of criminal cases without going through a full trial.

In India, the concept of plea bargaining was introduced through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2006. The provisions for plea bargaining are primarily governed by Chapter XXI-A{21A} of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973,S 265-A to S 265-L of CRPC.

The applicability and relevancy of plea bargaining in India are as follows:

  1. Applicability: Plea bargaining is applicable to certain offenses where the maximum punishment is imprisonment for seven years or less. Offenses that are punishable with death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for more than seven years are generally not eligible for plea bargaining.

  2. Relevancy: Plea bargaining is relevant in cases where the accused is willing to accept guilt and cooperate with the prosecution in exchange for a reduced sentence or other benefits. It helps in reducing the burden on the courts by promoting speedy disposal of cases and conserving judicial resources.

However, it is important to note that plea bargaining is not an absolute right and is subject to the discretion of the court. The court must ensure that the plea is voluntary, informed, and made with the consent of the accused. The court also has the authority to reject a plea bargain if it deems it to be against public interest or the interests of justice.Plea bargaining does not apply where such offence affects the socio-economic condition of the country or has been committed against a woman, or a child below the age of fourteen years.

265-G. Finality of the judgment.—The judgment delivered by the Court under Section 265-G shall be final and no appeal (except the special leave petition under Article 136 and writ petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution) shall lie in any Court against such judgement.

265-I. Period of detention undergone by the accused to be set off against the sentence of imprisonment.—The provisions of Section 428 shall apply, for setting off the period of detention undergone by the accused against the sentence of imprisonment imposed under this Chapter, in the same manner as they apply in respect of the imprisonment under other provisions of this Code.

265-K. Statements of accused not to be used.—Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, the statements or facts stated by an accused in an application for plea bargaining filed under Section 265-B shall not be used for any other purpose except for the purpose of this Chapter.

265-L. Non-application of the Chapter.—Nothing in this Chapter shall apply to any juvenile or child as defined in clause (k) of Section 2 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (56 of 2000).]

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