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Differences Between Acquittal And Discharge In CrPC


Acquittal is defined in section 232 of the CrPC. After taking the evidence for the prosecution and examining the accused and hearing the prosecution and the defence, if the judge considers that there is no evidence that the accused has committed the offence, then the judge records an order of acquittal.


According to Section 227 of CrPC, if the Judge after examining the case record and submitted documents, and hearing arguments from both the accused and prosecution, concludes that there is insufficient evidence to proceed against the accused, then the accused shall be discharged and the Judge must provide a written explanation for this decision.

Differences Between Acquittal and Discharge:

The differences between Acquittal and Discharge according to Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 are given below:
  1. Acquittal means legally freeing the accused, when he is found innocent by the court, after considering all the facts and evidence submitted in this regard. Discharge means a legal order of release given by the police officer or the magistrate or judge when the grounds on which the person is arrested transpired as false or unsubstantiated.
  2. Acquittal is defined in section 232 of the CrPC, whereas Discharge is delineated in section 227 of the CrPC.
  3. Acquittal signifies a judgment of innocence, where the defendant is found not guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Discharge does not imply a judgment on guilt or innocence; it is the termination of proceedings due to procedural or evidentiary issues.
  4. A person can be discharged before framing charges. Only after the charges have been framed can a person be acquitted.
  5. Acquittal is ordered when the innocence of the accused is proven after a full trial in a judicial process. The accused is discharged due to the lack of any prima facie evidence against them.
  6. An acquitted person cannot be rearrested on the same grounds. One who has been discharged can be re-apprehended for the same reasons.
  7. An acquittal requires a trial and verdict, while a discharge does not.
  8. Acquittal results from a determination that the evidence presented by the prosecution failed to prove the defendant's guilt. Discharge can occur due to insufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case against the defendant.
  9. Acquittal establishes the defendant's innocence and protects them from being retried for the same offense (double jeopardy). Discharge does not establish innocence and does not prevent the prosecution from refiling charges if new evidence emerges.
  10. Acquittal is a judicial decision made after considering all the evidence presented during the trial. Discharge is a decision made by the court to terminate proceedings due to procedural defects, lack of evidence, or other legal reasons.
  11. Acquittal may restore the defendant's reputation by affirming their innocence in the eyes of the law. Discharge may not necessarily restore the defendant's reputation since it does not establish innocence.
  12. Acquittal is generally final and conclusive, barring any retrial for the same offense. Discharge may not be final, as the prosecution may refile charges if new evidence emerges or procedural issues are addressed.
  13. Acquittal reinforces the presumption of innocence, affirming that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Discharge does not necessarily reinforce the presumption of innocence since it may occur for reasons unrelated to the defendant's innocence.
  14. An acquittal is entered on the record, whereas a discharge is not.
  15. Acquittal is a formal declaration of innocence, whereas discharge is a release from a criminal case.
  16. Acquittal is a formal judgement, whereas discharge is a process.
  17. Acquittal means that the defendant has been found not guilty, while discharge means that the charges against the defendant have been dropped or dismissed.
  18. Acquittal is a verdict in a criminal case that signifies that the person is not guilty of the offence. A discharge is a mandate in a criminal lawsuit that indicates there is inadequate evidence and justification for the case to proceed.
  19. A person who has been acquitted cannot be prosecuted for the same offence again as per the concepts of autrefois acquit and double jeopardy. A discharged individual may face re-arrest for further questioning.
  20. Acquittal is in the nature of judgment. An order of discharge is not included in judgment.
  21. Acquittal is ordered only by a court, whereas in addition to court even an investigating police officer can discharge an accused person after completion of investigation.

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