Edited by: Vaani Garg
Criminal Procedure Code basically refers to the machinery adopted by the state in case of violation of the penal law. It lays down the principles that must be used while adjudicating and prosecuting. It also governs inquiry and trail of offenses. The Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 is the main legislation which deals with the process of administrating substantive criminal law in India. It is a procedural law which contains 484 sections further divided into 38 chapters , 2 schedules and 56 forms. It provides procedural law relating to investigation of crime, determination of guilt, collection of evidence etc. In Iqbal v. State of Maharashtra (1975) 3 SCC 140, the honorable Supreme Court stated that Code of Criminal Procedure differentiates between the rule of law and the rule of whom and Caprice.
Relevance of Criminal Procedure
One of the major objective of criminal law is to punish offenders in order to protect society. In such case , the concept of ‘free trail’ plays an essential role. The major rationale behind the criminal procedure is that no one can be punished without a free trial. In order to be punished, a person must be tried and adjudged to be guilty by competent court. One of the most common principle of criminal procedure is that everyone must be presumed innocent unless the guilt is proved . Apart from this, the Constitution of India under Article 20 and 22 also provides for certain rights for the accused person.
Code of criminal procedure is applicable to whole of India. Under Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, the term “offence” is defined as any act or omission made punishable by law. It also provides Functionaries which include the Judges of Supreme Court and High Court , police, defense council, public prosecutor and prison authorities.
Police has given specific powers under CrPC such as power to search , investigate and to arrest . Under Section 36 of the code “the police officers superior in charge of a police station may exercise the powers of such officials”. Public prosecutor or assistant public prosecutor is assigned as a state council for criminal trials. They only conduct prosecution on behalf of states and cannot defend the accused. Accused is always provided with the defense counsel, as under Section 303 of the code . Every accused before criminal court has a right to be defended by defense council of his choice. Under Section 304 , court shall assign a pleader for the accused only if he has no means to hire one for himself. Apart from this, the code presumes the existence of prison authorities and it also empowers courts to impose punishment of imprisonment and send the accused to the prison.