Petty Offences and Crpc
Petty Offense Mean: A minor crime and for which the punishment is usually just a small fine or short term of imprisonment- Example- Traffic violations under Motor Vehicle Act.
The Code of Criminal procedure 1973 contains certain interesting provisions where under certain “petty offences” can be dealt with without summoning the accused in court. Such provisions have some relevance to the subject of the present study. Although the person dealt with under such procedure under goes a conviction and therefore there is no “decriminalisation” in the literal sense, yet, there is at least a situation where the stigma of criminality is, for all practical purposes, avoided. It is, therefore, desirable to refer to the relevant provisions, which is the object of this Article. Reference to these provisions will serve another purpose also.
With a few modifications, the relevant provisions can form the rough basis for a procedural work, Accordingly, some of these provisions will be referred to in this Article.
Section 206 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 reads as under: –
Special summons in cases of petty offence —
- If, in the opinion of a Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrates taking cognizance of a petty offence, the case may be summarily disposed of under section 260 of Crpc, the Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrates shall, except where he is, for reasons to be recorded in, writing, of a contrary opinion, issue summons to the accused requiring him either to appear in person or by pleader/advocate before the Magistrate on a specified date, or if he desires to plead guilty to the charge without appearing before the Magistrate, to transmit before the specified date, by post or by messenger to the Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrates, the said plea in writing and the amount of fine specified in the summons or if he desires to appear by pleader and to plead guilty to the charge through such pleader, to authorise, in writing the pleader to plead guilty to die charge on his behalf and to pay the fine through such pleader.
Provided that the amount of the fine specified in such summons shall not exceed (1000.00) one thousand rupees.
- For the purposes of this section of Crpc “petty offence” means any offence punishable only with fine not exceeding (1000.00) one thousand rupees, but does not include any offence so punishable as per the Motor Vehicles Act 1939, or under any other law which provides for convicting the accused person in his absence on a plea of guilty.
- The any State Government may, by notification, specially empower any Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrates to exercise the powers conferred by Sub-Section (1) in relation to any offence which is compoundable under section 320 of Crpc or any offence punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding three (3) months, or with fine or with both where the Magistrate is of opinion that, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the any case, the imposition of fine only would meet the ends of justice.
Section 253 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is as under: –
Conviction on plea of guilty in absence of accused in petty offence Cases. – (1) Where a summons has been issued as per section 206 of Crpc and the accused desires to plead guilty to the charge without appearing before the Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrates,
he shall transmit to the Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrates, by post or by messenger, a letter containing his plea and also the amount of fine specified in the summons.
(2) The Magistrate/Metropolitan Magistrates etc. may, in his discretion, convict the accused in his absence, on his plea of guilty and sentence/case him to pay the fine (in rupees) specified in the summons, and the amount transmitted by the accused shall be adjusted towards that fine(in rupees), or where a pleader authorised by the accused in this behalf pleads guilty on behalf of the accused, the Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrates shall record the plea as nearly as possible in the words used by the pleader and may, in his” discretion, convict the accused on such plea and sentence him as aforesaid.”
Summary trials are governed by section 260 of Crpc below: –
“260. Power to try summarily. –
(1) Not withstanding anything contained in this Code –
(a) any Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM);
(b) any Metropolitan Magistrate (MM);
(c) any Magistrate of the first class specially empowered in this behalf by the any High Court, may, if he thinks fit, try in a summary v/ay all or any of the following offences: –
- offences not punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years;
- theft, under section 379 of IPC, section 380 of IPC or section 381 of IPC, where the value of the property stolen does not exceed (200.00) two hundred rupees;
- receiving or retaining stolen property, under section 411 of IPC, where the value of the property does not exceed (200.00) two hundred rupees;
- assisting in the concealment or disposal of stolen property, as per section 414 of IPC, where the value of such property does not exceed (200.00) two hundred rupees;
- offences under sections 454 of IPC and 456 of the Indian Penal Code;
- insult with intent to provoke a break of the peace, under section 504 of IPC, and criminal intimidation, under section 506 of the Indian Penal Code;
- abetment of any of the foregoing offences;
- an attempt to commit any of the foregoing offences, when such attempt is an offence any law;
- any offence constituted by an act in respect of which a complaint may be made as per section 20 of the Cattle Trespass Act 1871.
(2) When, in the course of a summary trial, it appears to the any Magistrate that the nature of the case is such that it is undesirable to try it summarily, the magistrate shall recall any witness who may have been examined and proceed to re-hear the case in the manner provided by Crpc.
Marta v. Piadade, A.I .R. 1969 Goa 94- These trials shorten the record in petty cases and thereby save the work of the Magistrate.
Bindeswari v. Birju, A.I.R. 1959 Pat. 46.- Their validity under article 14 of the Constitution has been upheld.
Can we file appeal against petty (cases) offences?
Section 376 of Crpc that shall be No appeal in petty cases, preliminary objection that it is a petty offence. Petty offence or offences that are treated as simple offence. the appeal, if any, ought to have been filed before the Session Court and not before the High Court.
Under Section 376 Crpc no appeal would lie in petty cases.
Section 376 reads as under:-
No appeal in petty cases: Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 374 of cprc, there shall be no appeal by a convicted person in any of the following cases namely: –
(a) where a High Court passes only a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding (6) six months or of fine not exceeding (1000.00) one thousand rupees, or of both such imprisonment and fine;
(b) where a Court of Session or a Metropolitan Magistrate passes only a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding (3) three months or of fine not exceeding two hundred (200.00) rupees, or of both such imprisonment and fine;
(c) where a Magistrate of the First Class passes only a sentence of fine not exceeding (100.00) one hundred rupees; or
(d) where, in a case tried summarily, a Magistrate empowered to act under Section 260 of Crpc passes only a sentence of fine not exceeding (200.00) two hundred rupees; Provided that an appeal may be brought against any such (cases) sentence if any other punishment is combined with it. but such (cases) sentence shall not be appealable merely on the ground: –
(i) that the person convicted is ordered to furnish security to keep the peace; or
(ii) that a direction for imprisonment in default of payment of fine (in rupees) is included in the sentence; or
(iii) that more than one sentence of fine(in rupees) is passed in the case, if the total amount of fine imposed does not exceed the amount here in before specified in respect of the case”….