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Joinder Of Charges Under Code Of Criminal Procedure

The object of the rule embodied in the sec. 218 of Criminal Procedure is to ensure a fair trial and to see that the accused is not bewildered or perplexed to confuse by having been asked to defend several unconnected charges or distinct offences lumped together in one charge or separate charges.

We will read the rules relating to the joinder of charges described in different parts of this section. There is no exception to the rule that there should be a separate charge for each offence. The detailed study of this section is as under:-

For every distinct offence of which any person is accused there shall be a separate charge and every charge shall be tried separately. Where the accused person by an application in writing, so desires and the Magistrate is of opinion that such person is not likely to be prejudiced thereby, Magistrate may try together all or any number of the charges framed against such person.
  1. Effect of Contravention of Sec.218:
    The Supreme Court has considered the effect of the contravention of the provisions of this sec. in the following number of cases:
    Sushil Kumar v/s Joy Shankar-1970:
    It was held that charges under 408 and 477A of IPC could be tried together. In this case, several persons accused of several items of embezzlement were tried jointly. There was no failure of justice in consequence of the joinder of charges had occurred.

    In V.N. Kamdar v/s Delhi Municipality-1973:
    It was held:
    That the provisions of sec. 218 to 224 would indicate that separate charge and separate trial for such distinct offence is the normal rule and joint trial is an exception when the accused have committed the separate offence.
  2. Failure to Explain injuries on the accused:
    When the prosecution fails to explain satisfactorily the injuries sustained by the accused there are several judicial pronouncements on this point.
    Case State of Gujrat v/s Bai Fatima-1975:
    It was held that the accused had inflicted injuries on the members of the prosecution party in the exercise of the right of self-defence.
  3. Three offences of the same kind within a year may be charged together:- under section 219 of Cr. P. C. when a person is accused of more offences than one of the same kind committed within the space of twelve months from the first to the last of such offences, he may be charged with and tried at one trial for any number of them not exceeding three. Provisions of the section are only enabling provisions, it applies where offences are of the same kind but it does not apply where offences are not of the same kind such as criminal breach of trust and falsification of accounts. Rahmat v/s State of U. P.-1980.
  4. Trial for than one offence:
    If in one series of acts so connected as to form the same transaction more offences than one are committed by the same person, he may be charged with and tried at one trial for every such offence as provided under the section, 220 of the Criminal Procedure Case Krishna Murthy v/s Abdu Subhan- 1965. Case of Kanshiram v/s Jhunjhunwala-1935, with the same it was necessary to ascertain whether they are so connected together as to constitute a whole which can properly be described as a transaction.
  5. Where it is doubtful what offence has been committed:
    Sec.221 provides for the cases where it is doubtful what offence has been committed. It applies to the cases in which the facts are not doubtful but the application of law to the facts is doubtful as held in the case of Abdul Hamid -1935. This sec. applies where the doubt is about the nature of the offence and not about the facts as held in case Jatinder Kumar v/s State of Delhi-1992.
  6. When the offence proved included in the offence charged:
    Sec.222 considered the conviction of minor offence included in the offence charged in either of two cases, where the offence charged consists of several particulars and combination is proved but the remaining particulars are not proved as held in Maung Ba v/s the King-1938. And where the facts are proved which reduce the offence charged to a minor offence as held in case of, Emperor v/s Abdul Wahab-1945.
  7. What persons may be charged jointly:
    Under sec.223 joint trial of several persons is permissible and applies only to trials and not to inquiries. A joint trial of several persons under this section is not vitiated merely by the fact that at the end of the trial the facts found happen to be different from those based on which the charges were originally framed as held in the case of Trilok Chand v/s Rex-1949. It was also held in case of A.R.Autulay v/s R.S.Nayak-1988.
  8. Withdrawal of remaining charges on conviction on one of several charges:
    When a charge containing more heads than one is framed against the same person and when a conviction has been had on one or more of them, the complainant or the Officer conducting the prosecution may with the consent of the Court withdraw the remaining charge or charges. The court of its own accord may stay the inquiry into or trial of such charges. The court may proceed with the inquiry into or trial of the charge or charges so withdrawn.

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