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Chargsheet is filed, what next?
Vicky Nanjappa | February 25, 2009 15:48 IST
The chargesheet in the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks [Images] was filed on Wednesday afternoon. What next, you may think.
Here we give you a lowdown on what follows:
Legal experts say that once the chargesheet is filed, the trial can commence. However, there is no particular timeframe for the trial to commence against the accused.
Though both the Constitution of India and the Code of Criminal Procedure mandate a speedy trial, there is no fixed timeframe.
Moreover, even if the court takes a long time to commence the trial against the accused, there is no provision for the accused to seek an acquittal in the case.
Once the chargesheet is filed, a major burden will be off the shoulders of the police and the jail authorities is the extension of remand. Once the chargesheet is filed, the accused will remain in custody and the police authorities will not have to seek extension of his remand. However, the accused can seek bail once the chargesheet is filed.
Once the chargesheet is filed, the next procedure will be for the court to take congisance of the same. The magistrate would then supply copies of the chargesheet to all the accused persons and their lawyers under Section 207 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Once the copies are supplied under Section 209 of the CrPC, the magistrate would commit the case to the court of sessions.
After this is complete all relevant documents and property seized will be transferred to the sessions court which will hear the matter. In case of the Mumbai 26/11 case, under the orders of the state government in coordination with the high court and the principal sessions judge a special court will be set up considering the fact that the case is sensitive in nature.
A court could also be set up on the jail premises.
Once the court is seized of the matter, then the judge will issue summons to all the accused. In case any of the accused are on bail, then a summons is issued. However, in the case of the Mumbai case where the accused is in custody, the sessions court will issue a body warrant to jail authorities to produce the accused before the court.
Once the accused appear before the court, then there will be two stages.
Under Section 227, the accused could seek a discharge from the case. In case, the court finds that the charges do not have substance then the accused will be granted bail.
If the material against the accused is found to be satisfactory then the court will order framing of charges under Section 228 of the Cr PC.
The accused will then have to answer to the charges. The accused could then either plead guilty or not guilty.
However even if the accused pleads guilty, s/he cannot be convicted directly without facing trial.
Once this procedure is complete then summons will be issued to the witnesses to appear before the court. After they appear before the court and their statements recorded then the trial in the case would commence under Section 313 of the Cr PC.