Section 313 CrPC Examination Not A Mere Procedural Formality; Trial Court Has To Question Accused Fairly With Care And Caution: Supreme Court

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Section 313 CrPC Examination Not A Mere Procedural Formality; Trial Court Has To Question Accused Fairly With Care And Caution

Case: Satbir Singh Vs. State Of Haryana

Coram: CJI NV Ramana, Justice Aniruddha Bose

Case: [CRA 1735­-1736 OF 2010]

Court Observation: “It is a matter of grave concern that, often, Trial Courts record the statement of an accused under Section 313, CrPC in a very casual and cursory manner, without specifically questioning the accused as to his defense. It ought to be noted that the examination of an accused under Section 313, CrPC cannot be treated as a mere procedural formality, as it is based on the fundamental principle of fairness.

This provision incorporates the valuable principle of natural justice­ “audi alteram partem”, as it enables the accused to offer an explanation for the incriminatory material appearing against him. Therefore, it imposes an obligation on the part of the Court to question the accused fairly, with care and caution. The Court must put incriminating circumstances before the accused and seek his response. A duty is also cast on the counsel of the accused to prepare his defense, since the inception of the trial, with due caution, keeping in consideration the peculiarities of Section 304­B, IPC read with Section 113­B, Evidence Act.”

“Once the Trial Court decides that the accused is not eligible to be acquitted as per the provisions of Section 232, CrPC, it must move on and fix hearings specifically for ‘defence evidence’, calling upon the accused to present his defense as per the procedure provided under Section 233, CrPC, which is also an invaluable right provided to the accused. Existence of such procedural right cohesively sits with the rebuttable presumption as provided under Section 113­B, Evidence Act.”

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