Definition of Charge
Charge under crpc is defined under section 2(b) of the code of criminal procedure inclusively. According to this section, the charge includes any head of the charge when there are more than one heads.
The charge under crpc is defined in very vague and beyond the comprehension of the common man. Before defining the charge in simple terms, it is very important to decode the definition of charge and understand it wants to say about the definition of charge.
For example: A stole all the jewellery in B’s house by keeping the housemates at gunpoint. Here, A has committed house-robbery, theft, theft in a dwelling house, illegal possession of weapons, assault and so on. Therefore A is charged for all the mentioned offences.
Meaning of Charge
The definition is already stated in the above-mentioned paragraph. The term ‘charges’ in the criminal law, basically means the allegations or the offences imposed on a person.
For example: A is accused of theft, so here the charge is of theft. Therefore, the charge is a formal recognition given by a magistrate to the accused person’s act which allows the person to know his act.
Purpose of Charge under Crpc
The main objective of Charge under crpc is to give basic and exact knowledge to accused of the offence that he has been charged for it and also give him time to prepare for his Defense.
The common practice and basic rule are that the charge should be specific and not lengthy. This allows the accused to prepare their defence on the specific charge. Apart from this, it also allows the prosecutor to prepare his case and evidence to start the prosecution.
Every crime places a very different burden on the prosecutor to prove his case before the court. However, we say that the prosecutor has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the crimes charged.
Essentials of Charge under CrPC
- Stating the crime: The crime should be expressed in the charge sheet so that the accused can shield themselves.
- Describe crime by name: The name of the crime, as well as the offence, must be clearly defined and explained concerning such charge.
- Defining and understanding crime: In those places where criminal law has not named the crime, then a definition/meaning of the crime should be expressed
- Mentioning of law and clause of law: In this charge, there should be a law or a section of the law against which the crime is said.
- Substantive requirements of offence to be complied with: The charge must satisfy the requirements of the offence, whether or not there are any exceptions and if so, the charge must be followed.
- Charge language: It should be noted that one of the basic imperatives of charge is that the charge is implicated in English or the language of the court or language understood by an accused.
- Previous convictions of accused person: The charge may state the fact, date and place of previous conviction at the places where the accused is liable for the enhanced sentence based on his previous conviction and where such previous conviction is to be proved.
- Description of time, place and person: A charge requires that the time when the offence occurred involves the time at which the offence was committed, the person against whom the offence was committed and any other object or object against which the offence was committed.
- Details of the way the crime was committed: In cases where the above-mentioned information is not sufficient to give notice of the crime with which the alleged accused has been charged, then it is expected that the charge will include details of how the alleged offence was committed.
- In relation to which crime is committed: A charge needs to be expressed in relation to the property about which the offence has been stated.
Types of cases where Charges are formed
It is generally necessary to be charged in three types of cases:
- Session cases under Section 228 of CrPC
- The warrant case was established by the magistrate based on the police reports under section 240 of the CrPC.
- The warrant case has been established by the magistrate on the basis of the police report, otherwise based on a personal complaint under Section 24 (1) of the CrPC.
In the trial of summons cases and summary trials, the plea has been made instead of the charge.
Legal provisions of Charge under Crpc
This is under Chapter XVII of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, in which the charge is mentioned.
Sections 211 to 217 go through again the form of charges and Sections 218 to 224 states the joinder of charges. Further, sections 227, 228, 239, 240 and 464 of the code also talks about the other provisions related to charge which are explained ahead.
- Sections 211 and 212: Under Section 211 and Section 212, the content of Charge under crpc and other details of the accused the material and description of the charge according to the time and place of the alleged offence, the person against whom the offence was committed or in connection with which it took place and sufficient other information. However, it needs to be kept in mind that in cases where there are allegations of criminal breach of trust or dishonour of money or any other movable property, it specifies the gross amount or the dates in which the offence was committed.
- Section 213: It will be noted that the Charge under crpc will include details of how the said offences have been committed at the places where Sections 211 and 212 are not able to properly describe the charges with which the accused are charged.
- Section 214: Section 214 lays down a standard for the translation of words used in a charge; it provides that the words used in delineating a crime in each charge shall be considered by law to be used in the sense separately associated with them, under which such an offence is guilty.
- Section 216: This section deals with changes in the charge. The object is to secure the accused for a fair trial and the court has to ensure that the alteration or addition of the charge does not prejudice him. It should be used judiciously, though the power is broad and wide. However, the court cannot change the prejudice of the accused. Similarly, such power cannot be exercised even after the discharge of all charges by the accused, as no charges exist against him and the provisions of section 216 do not apply.
- V.C. Shukla vs. State, Justice Desai
In this case, the court held that the purpose of framing the Charge is to give notice to the accused of a clear, and accurate notice, that for what purpose the accused is called upon the meeting during the trial.
- Tulsi Ram & Ors. vs. State of Uttar Pradesh
The court was considering these aspects of the case and made it clear that none of the complaints about the allegation had been raised at any stage before and the learned judge came to the conclusion that the allegation by the appellants in the case was fully understood by the appellants. It was understood in a way and they never complained at the proper stage that they were confused or shocked by the charge. The sad thing is true here. Therefore, the Court refused to accept any complaint related to the error in the determination of the charge.