Introductory and Pre-trial Process

A pretrial hearing is a meeting in which the opposing attorneys confer, ordinarily with a judge to work towards the disposition of a case. Generally, it will be seen in Civil cases and in rare situations, it is seen in Criminal cases.

Stages in Pre-Trial:

  • The criminal act takes place.
  • Crime report to the police (FIR).
  • The police investigation, resulting in the unsolved case
  • The arrest of the suspect, resulting in either release
  • Booking at the police station, resulting in the release.
  • Prosecution of the suspect then awaits an initial court appearance.

Meaning of procedure

  1. Criminal procedure deals with the set of rules governing the series of proceedings through which the government enforces the substantive criminal law.
  2. At present, the Act contains 484 Sections, 2 Schedules and 56 Forms. The Sections are divided into 37 Chapters.
  3. Indian Penal Code(IPC),1860 is a Substantive Law which defines various crimes or offences that are punishable in India.
  4. Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973 is a Procedural Law which describes the procedures.
  5. It was enacted in 1973 and it came into force on 1st April 1974.
  6. Got approval on 25th January 1974.
  7. The territorial jurisdiction of CrPC, 1973 is applicable in the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir.

The organization of the functionaries under the Code

There are 2 important functionaries under the Criminal Procedure Code,1973. They are:

    • Functions: The police force is an instrument for the prevention and detection of crime.
    • Powers: The powers of a police are power to make an arrest, search, and investigate. Wider powers have been given to police officers in charge of a police station.
    • Duties: The duty of a public prosecutor mainly consists of conducting the prosecution on behalf of the state.
    • Powers: As per Section 301, a Public Prosecutor or Assistant Public Prosecutor has the authority to appear and plead before any court in any case entrusted to him.
    • As per Section 321, he can withdraw from the prosecution against any person with the consent of the court.
    • As per Section 303 of CrPC, 1973 any person accused of an offence before a Criminal Court has a right to be defended by a pleader of his choice.
    • Powers: They are supposed to take care of the health of prisoners and their safety and security.
    • Duties: Prison officers must maintain order and daily operations of the facility and are responsible for the care, custody, and control of inmates.

Their duties, functions and powers

First Information Report complaint

First Information Report is abbreviated as FIR. Either in Civil or Criminal Cases FIR is filed in the Police Station. Section-153 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 deals with the definition of FIR.

  • FIR is an information recorded by a police officer on duty given either by the aggrieved person or any other person to the commission of an alleged offence.
  • It can be filed by any person.
  • It is filed in the police station in the area of police situation where the incident had taken place.
  • FIR leads to Investigation in which the investigating officers further proceeds to file whether a charge sheet or closure report.
  • Section:-154 of CrPC, 1973 deals with the procedure of filing an FIR.
  • A Zero FIR means every Police officer is law-bound to register the FIR of any cognizable offence committed, irrespective of the jurisdiction in which the offence was committed.
  • The Supreme Court made it mandatory for the police to conduct an enquiry before registering an FIR, except in case of rape, murder, robbery, etc.
  • First Information Report is filed only in cases of Cognizable Offences where Complaint is filed in cases of Non-cognizable Offences.


  • An arrest is an act of apprehending a person and taking them into custody, usually because they have been suspected of committing or planning a crime.
  • There are 6 types of Arrests:
    • Arrest without a warrant: This occurs when a police officer is entitled to arrest an accused person without a warrant. There are a number of grounds, to arrest without a warrant any person who has been or is reasonably suspected of having been involved in an arrestable offence.
    • Arrest with a warrant: Where the offence is not an arrestable offence, either a warrant or summons will be required to be issued in the first instance. Without obtaining a warrant, the police are not allowed to make an
    • Private Arrest: It is made available in two situations
      • First situation: A private person is entitled to arrest a person if he sees a person who is committing a non-bailable offence like murder, theft, robbery etc.
      • The second situation: A victim is entitled to arrest a person when a person commits an offence against the victim or victim’s property.
    • False Arrest: Here the plaintiff alleges he or she was held in custody without probable cause, or without an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.
    • Mass Arrest: A mass arrest occurs when police apprehend large numbers of suspects at once. This sometimes occurs during illegal protests.

Types of trial

A crime is any act or omission which is prohibited and punishable by law. The punishment for such crime is decided by the following procedures of criminal trial.

A Trial is a proceeding in which the opposing parties in a dispute present evidence and make arguments on the application of law before a judge or jury.

There are 3 types of trial.

  • Warrant Trial: 7 years or more than 7 years
  • Summon Trial: maximum 2 years
  • Summary Trial: maximum 6 months

Stages ofWarrant Trial:

  • Complaint/FIR: A FIR is an information given by someone (aggrieved) to the police relating to the commitment of an offence.
  • Investigation: is a collection of evidence by investigating the agency.
  • Bail: Cash or a bond given to the court by a prisoner to secure conditional release from custody
  • Chargesheet: a formal police record showing the names of each person brought into custody, the nature of the accusations, and the identity of the accusers.
  • Discharge: the court feels the charges are groundless, will record the reasons for doing so.
  • The framing of Charge: the court feels that there is a ground of presuming that the accused has committed the offence.
  • Prosecution Evidence: After the charges are framed, and the accused pleads guilty, then the court requires the prosecution to produce evidence to prove the guilt of the accused.
  • Defence evidence: In India, since the burden of proof is on the prosecution the defense, in general, is not required to give any defense evidence.
  • Statement of Accused: Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code gives an opportunity to the accused to be heard and explain the facts and circumstances of the case.
  • Judgement: When the person is convicted, then both sides are invited to give arguments on the punishment which is to be awarded.

Stages of Summon Trial

  1. Pre-trial: In the pre-trial, the process such as filing of FIR and investigation is conducted.
  2. Charges: The accused appears before the court or is brought before the court then the Magistrate would orally state the facts of the offence he is answerable.
  3. Plea of guilty: The accused pleas before the court that he has committed the offence then the court records it.
  4. Prosecution and defense evidence: If the accused does not plead guilty, then the process of trial starts. The prosecution and the defense are asked to present evidence in support of their cases.
  5. Judgment: When the sentence is pronounced in a summons case, the parties need not argue on the amount of punishment given. The sentence is the sole discretion of the judge.

Stages of Summary Trial

  • Pre-trial
  • Charges
  • Plea of guilty
  • Prosecution and defense evidence


Features of a fair trial

  • Section:- 304 of Criminal Procedure Code(CrPC),1973 deals with the fair trial.
  • In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public
  • It requires a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.
  • Principles of a fair trial
  • Adversary trial system
  • Presumption of innocence
  • Independent, impartial and competent judges
  • Autrefois Acquit and Autrefois Convict
  • Knowledge of the accusation
  • Right to open trial
  • Expeditious trial