Plea Bargaining

Plea Bargaining came in the amendment Act of 2005 in Code of Criminal Procedure, there are not much cases regarding it but even though, position under Indian Judiciary is very clear.

Section 265-A to 265-L provides for the plea-bargaining under Code of Criminal Procedure. It is a devise which ensures that victims receive acceptable justice in reasonable time without risking the prospects of hostile witness, inordinate delay and non- affordable costs.Plea-bargaining is the process whereby the accused and the prosecutor in a criminal case work out a mutually satisfactory disposition of the case subject to the court approval. It usually involves the defendant’s pleading guilty to lesser offence as to only one or some of the courts of a multi-count indictment in return for a lighter sentence than that possible for the graver charge. Therefore, it can be said that plea-bargaining refers to pre-trial negotiations between the defendant through his/her counsel and the prosecution during which the accused agrees to plead guilty in exchange for lesser punishment.

  • It is applicable only in respect of those offences for which punishment of imprisonment is up to a period of 7 years.
  • It does not apply where such offence affects the socio- economic condition of the country or has been committed against a woman or a child below the age of 14 years.
  • The application should be filed by the accused voluntarily.
  • An accused must file an application for Plea-bargaining in the court in which such offence is pending for trial
  • The accused and prosecution both are given time to work out a mutually satisfactory disposition of the case, which may include giving compensation to the victim by the accused and other legal expenses incurred during pendency of the case.
  • Where a satisfactory disposition of the case has been worked out, the Court shall dispose of the case by sentencing the accused to one-fourth of the punishment provided or extendable, as the case may be for such offence.
  • The statement or facts stated by an accused in an application for plea-bargaining shall not be used for any other purpose other than for plea-bargaining.
  • The judgment delivered by the Court in the case of plea-bargaining shall be final and no appeal shall lie in any court against such judgment.

This principle is not applicable for hard crimes or serious crimes, therefore, Indian Law does not provides plea-bargaining for the offences in which (a) offence in punishable with death or imprisonment for life; (b) punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding 7 years; (c) committed against socio economic conditions of the country; (d) offence committed against women and children below the age of 14 years.

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