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Summons Trial under BNSS (Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita)

Updated: Feb 22

Introduction


Summons trial or Trial of Summons cases, like Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CRPC) has a separate and dedicated chapter under Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (BNSS). In this article, we will examine the key sections of BNSS related to Summons trial, detailing on the trial process, plea options, and the powers of the Magistrate.


I. Substance of Accusation and Plea Options (Sections 274-276):


Section 274 BNSS emphasizes the importance of stating the particulars of the offence when the accused appears before the Magistrate. Plea options include pleading guilty or presenting a defense. It should be remembered that, if the Magistrate deems the accusation groundless, the accused may be released with a discharge effect.


II. Conviction on Plea of Guilty (Section 275):


Section 275 BNSS addresses situations where the accused pleads guilty. The Magistrate, at their discretion, may record the plea and convict the accused accordingly.


III. Conviction in Absence of Accused in Petty Cases (Section 276):


For cases where the accused desires to plead guilty without appearing, Section 276 BNSS provides a mechanism. The accused can transmit a plea and fine to the Magistrate. The Magistrate, exercising discretion, may convict the accused in their absence, adjusting the fine accordingly.


IV. Procedure When Not Convicted (Section 277):


Section 277 BNSS outlines the steps when the Magistrate does not convict the accused. It involves hearing both the prosecution and the accused, summoning witnesses if necessary, and ensuring reasonable expenses are deposited before witness summoning.


V. Acquittal or Conviction (Section 278 BNSS):


Upon evaluating the evidence and hearing the accused, the Magistrate must either record an order of acquittal or, if finding the accused guilty, pass a sentence according to law.


VI. Non-Appearance or Death of Complainant (Section 279):


Section 279 BNSS deals with scenarios where the complainant does not appear on the appointed day. The Magistrate may acquit the accused, but exceptions exist if the complainant is represented by a pleader or if personal attendance is deemed unnecessary.


VII. Withdrawal of Complaint (Section 280):


Section 280 BNSS allows a complainant to withdraw their complaint before a final order is passed, leading to the acquittal of the accused against whom the complaint is withdrawn.


VIII. Power to Stop Proceedings (Section 281):


Section 281 BNSS grants the Magistrate the authority to stop proceedings at any stage for recorded reasons, leading to either an acquittal judgment or the release of the accused.


IX. Power of Court to Convert Summons-Cases into Warrant-Cases (Section 282 BNSS):


In certain circumstances during a summons-case trial, the Magistrate, if in the interest of justice, may convert it into a warrant-case. This allows for a re-hearing following the procedure outlined in BNSS for warrant-cases.


Let us now see some FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on Summons trial the basis of above article!


Q1: What is the significance of Section 274 in BNSS regarding sessions trials?


A1: Section 274 emphasizes the importance of stating the particulars of the offence when the accused appears before the Magistrate during sessions trials. It also outlines plea options, including pleading guilty or presenting a defense.


Q2: How does BNSS address situations where the accused pleads guilty?


A2: Section 275 of BNSS addresses situations where the accused pleads guilty during sessions trials. The Magistrate, at their discretion, may record the plea and convict the accused accordingly, highlighting the efficiency of resolving cases where guilt is promptly admitted.


Q3: Can an accused plead guilty in absence during petty cases under BNSS?


A3: Yes, Section 276 of BNSS provides a mechanism for cases where the accused desires to plead guilty without appearing. The accused can transmit a plea and fine to the Magistrate, who may, at their discretion, convict the accused in their absence.


Q4: What steps does the Magistrate take when not convicting the accused in summons trial?


A4: Section 277 outlines the steps when the Magistrate does not convict the accused. It involves hearing both the prosecution and the accused, summoning witnesses if necessary, and ensuring reasonable expenses are deposited before witness summoning.


Q5: What happens if the complainant does not appear on the appointed day in summons trials?


A5: Section 279 of BNSS deals with scenarios where the complainant does not appear. The Magistrate may acquit the accused, but exceptions exist if the complainant is represented by a pleader or if personal attendance is deemed unnecessary.


Q6: Is there a provision for the withdrawal of complaints in summons trials under BNSS?


A6: Yes, Section 280 allows a complainant to withdraw their complaint before a final order is passed, leading to the acquittal of the accused against whom the complaint is withdrawn.


Q7: Can the Magistrate stop proceedings at any stage in summons trials?


A7: Yes, Section 281 of BNSS grants the Magistrate the authority to stop proceedings at any stage for recorded reasons, leading to either an acquittal judgment or the release of the accused.


Q8: Under what circumstances can a summons trial be converted into a warrant-case?


A8: Section 282 of BNSS allows the Magistrate, during a summons trial, to convert it into a warrant-case if, in the interest of justice, it appears necessary. This permits a re-hearing following the procedure outlined in BNSS for warrant-cases.


Summons Trial under BNSS (Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita)



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