History of Plea Bargaining

Plea Bargaining is a relatively new concept that has only recently acquired recognition in the legal world. A 1485 English statute permitted prosecutions for unauthorised hunting before the Justice of the Peace, and this was one of the earliest examples of Plea Bargaining.’ If a defendant confessed to his crime, he was convicted of a summary offence; nevertheless, if the defendant protested his guilt, he was charged as a felon. Many judges, however, disapproved of the practise of plea bargaining since it infringed on the rights of the defendant. Plea Bargaining’s supremacy was not acknowledged until the 1920s, when a number of states and towns undertook criminal justice system studies. The subject of Plea Bargaining did not resurface until the 1960s, following the 1920s. Plea Bargaining was revived in the 1960s as a result of the ‘crime wave’ brought on by World War II, as well as a rise in drug use (particularly marijuana) and other incidents of victimless crime.

In the United States, plea bargaining is an important aspect of the criminal judicial system. Rather than a jury trial, the great majority of criminal matters are handled by a plea bargain. While judges were originally dubious of the practise, Plea Bargaining became more popular in the 1920s, and its link to the growing complexity of the American criminal justice system became clear.  Plea bargaining increasingly dominates the day-to-day operation of the American criminal justice system; guilty pleas account for about 95% of all convictions.” When the constitutional legitimacy of plea bargaining was challenged in 1970, the court quickly accepted that providing an advantage to a defendant who then provides a benefit to the state was not unconstitutional. Plea Bargaining was recognised as important for the administration of justice by the United States Supreme Court in 1971, and it was supported when properly administered. Plea Bargaining is only allowed in some common law nations, such as England, Wales, and Australia, if the prosecution and defence can agree that the accused will plead guilty to some counts and the prosecutor will dismiss the rest. As a result, there is no punishment negotiating and the courts decide on their own.

In their 142nd Report the Law Commission of India had made a pragmatic study, discussion and made recommendation in 1991, for the adoption of the concept of Plea Bargaining. To understand the basic concept of Plea Bargaining and its positive and negative aspect. The study of the Report of the Law Commission of India shall not only be necessary but helpful to understand this new concept. According to the Law Commission’s recommendations, the plan should be implemented in stages, with the first phase, which was implemented by inserting Chapter XXIA into the Code of Criminal Procedure, being followed by the second phase.

Taking into account the history of the evolution of the notion of ‘Plea Bargain,’ as well as different amendments to the provisions of legislation, the Indian legislature has addressed all of the negative aspects, impacts, and practises. The use of the ‘Plea Bargain’ plan is not extensively used and is not applicable for every offence under the recently adopted Chapter XXIA of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Except for one problematic feature of permitting the police and prosecutor to join in the session to work out an acceptable disposition of the case, all precautions to prevent misuse or bad influence on the dispensation of Criminal Justice have been addressed adequately under Indian law.


*Dr. Deepak Miglani, Email. Id.:- [email protected]

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