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Sessions Trial under BNSS (Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita)

Introduction


Sessions trial or Trial of Sessions cases like Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CRPC) has a separate and dedicated chapter under Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (BNSS). This article focusses on the key sections of BNSS that deal with the proceedings of sessions trials, detailing on the role of the Public Prosecutor, stages of trial, plea options, and the judgment process.


I. Prosecution Conducted by Public Prosecutor (Section 248):


Section 248 of BNSS mandates that every trial before a Court of Session shall have the prosecution conducted by a Public Prosecutor.


II. Opening Case for Prosecution (Section 249):


Upon the accused's appearance, the prosecutor, as outlined in Section 249 BNSS, opens the case by describing the charges and stating the evidence proposed to prove guilt.


III. Discharge Application (Section 250):


Section 250 BNSS allows the accused to apply for discharge within sixty days of committal. The Judge, after considering the record and hearing both sides, may discharge the accused if there's insufficient ground to proceed, recording the reasons.


IV. Framing of Charge (Section 251):


If the case proceeds, Section 251 BNSS details the framing of charges. The Judge, based on opinion and grounds, frames charges either for trial by the Court of Session or transfers the case to a lower court. The accused is then asked to enter a plea.


V. Conviction on Plea of Guilty (Section 252):


If the accused pleads guilty, Section 252 BNSS allows the Judge to record the plea and, at their discretion, convict the accused.


VI. Date for Prosecution Evidence (Section 253):


When the accused refuses to plead or claims trial, Section 253 BNSS empowers the Judge to fix a date for examining witnesses. The prosecution may request processes to compel witness attendance or document production.


VII. Evidence for Prosecution (Section 254):


Section 254 BNSS outlines the procedure for recording evidence for the prosecution. Notably, audio-video electronic means may be used, offering modern alternatives for capturing witness testimony.


VIII. Acquittal (Section 255):


After the prosecution's evidence, the accused's examination, and arguments, if the Judge deems there's no evidence of guilt, Section 255 BNSS mandates the recording of an order of acquittal.


IX. Entering Upon Defense (Section 256):


If not acquitted, the accused is called to enter the defense. Section 256 BNSS addresses the filing of written statements and the issuance of processes, ensuring a fair opportunity for the defense.


X. Arguments and Judgment (Sections 257-258):


Once the defense concludes, Section 257 BNSS allows the prosecutor and accused to present their arguments. Section 258 BNSS emphasizes a swift judgment within 30 to 60 days after completing arguments.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) based on Sessions Trial.


Q1: What is the role of a Public Prosecutor in sessions trials under BNSS?


A1: Section 248 of BNSS mandates that every trial before a Court of Session must have the prosecution conducted by a Public Prosecutor, ensuring fair representation of the state in criminal proceedings.


Q2: What happens when an accused appears in a Court of Session, according to Section 249 of BNSS?


A2: Section 249 outlines that when the accused appears, the prosecutor opens the case by describing the charges and stating the evidence proposed to prove guilt, setting the stage for a transparent trial.


Q3: Can an accused apply for discharge in a sessions trial under BNSS?


A3: Yes, Section 250 allows the accused to apply for discharge within sixty days of committal. The Judge, after consideration, may discharge the accused if there's insufficient ground to proceed, recording the reasons.


Q4: How are charges framed in a sessions trial under BNSS?


A4: Section 251 details the framing of charges in a sessions trial. The Judge, based on opinion and grounds, frames charges either for trial by the Court of Session or transfers the case to a lower court, asking the accused to enter a plea.


Q5: What happens if an accused pleads guilty in a sessions trial under BNSS?


A5: Section 252 allows the Judge, if the accused pleads guilty, to record the plea and, at their discretion, convict the accused.


Q6: What powers does the Judge have regarding the date for prosecution evidence in a sessions trial?


A6: Section 253 empowers the Judge to fix a date for examining witnesses when the accused refuses to plead or claims trial. The prosecution may request processes to compel witness attendance or document production.


Q7: How is evidence recorded for the prosecution in a sessions trial under BNSS?


A7: Section 254 outlines the procedure for recording evidence for the prosecution. Audio-video electronic means may be used, providing modern alternatives for capturing witness testimony.


Q8: What happens after the prosecution's evidence and the accused's examination in a sessions trial?


A8: Section 255 mandates that if the Judge deems there's no evidence of guilt after the prosecution's evidence, the accused's examination, and arguments, an order of acquittal must be recorded.


Q9: What is the process for the accused entering their defense in a sessions trial under BNSS?


A9: Section 256 addresses the accused entering the defense, including the filing of written statements and the issuance of processes, ensuring a fair opportunity for the defense.


Q10: How soon should a judgment be delivered in a sessions trial under BNSS?


A10: Section 258 emphasizes a swift judgment within 30 to 60 days after completing arguments in a sessions trial under BNSS.


Sessions Trial under BNSS (Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita)



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