Criminal Law-Prosecution & Trials

Criminal Law, in its wider sense, consists of both the substantive criminal law and the procedural (or adjective) criminal law. Substantive criminal law defines offences and prescribes punishments for the same, while the procedural law administers the substantive law. The essential object of criminal law is to protect society against criminals and law-breakers. two main statues which deals with administration of criminal cases in our country are criminal procedure code i.e. CrPC and Indian penal code i.e. IPC being procedural and substantive respectively.  
The procedure of administration of criminal justice in our country is divided into three stages namely investigation, inquiry and trial. The Criminal procedure code 1973 provides for the procedure to be followed in investigation, inquiry and trial, 
The three stages: namely investigation, inquiry and trial are as follows
Investigation is a preliminary stage conducted by the police and usually starts after the recording of a First Information Report (FIR) in the police station. Section 154 [4] provides that any information received in the police station in respect of a cognizable offence shall be reduced into writing, got signed by the informant and entered in the concerned register. Section 156(1) requires the concerned officer to investigate the facts and circumstances of such a case without any order from the Magistrate in this behalf. If Magistrate receives information about commission of a cognizable offence he can order an investigation. In such cases citizen is spared the trouble and expense of investigating and prosecuting the case.
The second phase is, Inquiry dealt under sections 177-189 of the code which consists of a magistrate, either on receiving a police report or upon a complaint by any other person, being satisfied of the facts. 
Lastly, the third stage is trial. Trial is the judicial adjudication of a person’s guilt or innocence.  
Under the Crpc, criminal trials have been categorized into three divisions having different procedures, called warrant, summons and summary trials.
Section 2(x) of the Crpc defines Warrant-case i.e. “Warrant-case" means a case relating to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years; A warrant case relates to offences punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years. Trial of warrant cases is dealt under sections 238-250 of the code.
 A summons case means a case relating to an offence not being a warrant case, implying all cases relating to offences punishable with imprisonment not exceeding two years. In respect of summons cases, there is no need to frame a charge. The court gives substance of the accusation, which is called “notice", to the accused when the person appears in pursuance to the summons. The court has the power to convert a summons case into a warrant case, if the magistrate thinks that it is in the interest of justice. The provisions regarding the Summary trials are dealt under section 260 – 265 of the Crpc the procedure is as provided; the high court may empower magistrates of first class to try certain offences in a summary way where as second class magistrates can summarily try an offence only if it is punishable only with a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months. In a summary trial no sentence of imprisonment for a term exceeding three months can be passed in any conviction. The particulars of the summary trial are entered in the record of the court and in every case which is tried summarily in which the accused does not plead guilty the magistrate records the substance of the evidence and a judgment containing a brief statement of the reasons for the finding.procedure to be followed in summons case is dealt under section 251-259 of the Crpc. 
Summary trials are dealt under section 260 – 265 of the Crpc the procedure is as provided; the high court may empower magistrates of first class to try certain offences in a summary way where as second class magistrates can summarily try an offence only if it is punishable only with a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months. In a summary trial no sentence of imprisonment for a term exceeding three months can be passed in any conviction. The particulars of the summary trial are entered in the record of the court and in every case which is tried summarily in which the accused does not plead guilty the magistrate records the substance of the evidence and a judgment containing a brief statement of the reasons for the finding. 

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