The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2008

Read the Latest:   Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2008 enforced

 

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The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2008 was originally introduced as Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2006. It was then referred to the Committee of Home Affairs, wherein the Committee recommended :

The Committee recommends to the Government to have a relook at the entire Bill in the light of its observations/ recommendations made in the previous paragraphs. The Committee in this context would like to reiterate its recommendations made in the One Hundred and Eleventh Report that Government should attempt to bring forward a comprehensive Bill for revamping the criminal justice system.

Based on this recommendation, The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2008 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on 18th December, 2008 and received President’s assent on 7th January, 2009. It was published in the Gazette of India on 9th January, 2009. 

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Major highlight of the Act -  Power of police to Arrest stands restricted
Law must change with the needs of a changing society, and must in the process safeguard the interest of innocent as well. With a view to protect the dignity and liberty of its citizens, Indian Government has made some sweeping changes in the Powers conferred on Police to arrest an accused. The amendment clearly lays down conditions which need to be met before a person can be arrested. By doing so, the government has given credence to the most basic Right of its citizens – Right to Live with Dignity.

Salient features of the Act 

  1. The scope for the definition of victim has been amended so as to include the victim’s guardian or legal heir in the definition itself.
  2. Referring to amendment in Sec.24, now the court may permit the victim to engage an advocate of his choice to assist the prosecution under this sub-section.
  3. The proceedings for sexual offences are now required to be held, as far as practicable by a court presided over by a woman.
  4. Unrestricted and unlimited powers of Arrest so far enjoyed and exercised by the Police stand restricted and conditioned, both in case of cognizable as well as non-cognizable offences.
  5. New sections 41A, 41B, 41C have been introduced to provide for detailed mandatory procedure in matters of arrest under various circumstances and also to provide for control room in every district, state and police headquarters, etc. in order to display the names and addresses of persons arrested along with the details of the person making the arrest. Arrested person has also been given the Right to meet an Advocate of his choice during interrogation, though not throughout the interrogation.
  6. A number of safeguards in matters of arrest of a woman have been incorporated in the new proviso to Sec.46.
  7. Provisions have been incorporated in Sec.54, and new Sections 55A and 60A of the CrPC Act to provide further safeguards and mandatory provisions regarding examination of arrested persons by Medical Officers, and taking care of their health and safety and such allied matters.
  8. A new proviso to Sec. 157 provides important safeguards to victims of rape.
  9. Provisions have been incorporated in Sec.161 and 164 about use of audio-video electronic means while recording the statements of the accused. Analogous provisions have been incorporated in the new proviso added under Sec.275(1).
  10. Detention of the accused in custody and his production before the Magistrate are now regulated by new provisions and explanations inserted under Sec.167.
  11. Maintenance of the Case Diary by the Police Officer will now be regulated by the new sub-sections 1A and 1B to Section 172.
  12. A very important provision has been made in newly inserted sub-section 1A of Sec.173 wherein its is provided that the investigation in relation to rape of a child may be completed within 3 months from the date on which the information was recorded by the Officer incharge of the police station. If the offence relates to Sec.376, 376A, 376B, 376C and 376D of the IPC, the police officer has also to mention in the case papers whether the report of medical examination of the woman has been attached.
  13. Newly inserted Sec.195A entitles a witness or any other person to file a complaint in relation to an offence under Sec.195A of the Indian Penal Code.
  14. While conducting proceedings under Sec.242 of the CrPC, the Magistrate is now required to supply in advance to the accused, the statement of witnesses recorded by the police during investigation.
  15. Provisions have been incorporated under Sec.309 to regulate adjournment of proceedings on the request of either party for one reason or other. Simultaneously a time limit of 2 months from the date of commencement of examination of witnesses has been provided for completion of trial of offences under Sec.376 – 376D.
  16. Newly inserted Sec. 313(5) states that the court may take the help of prosecutor and defense counsel in preparing relevant questions, which are to be put to the accused and the court may permit filing of written statement under Sec.313 by the accused as sufficient compliance of the section.
  17. The provisions relating to compounding of offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code have been rationalized in the newly substituted tables given under Sec.320.
  18. Substituted new sub-section 3 of Sec.320 CrPC now provides that when an offence is compoundable under this section the abetment or attempt to commit such offence or where the accused is liable under Sec.34 or Sec.149 of IPC, may be compounded in like manner.
  19. Relating to camera trial under Sec.327(2), a new proviso has been added to state that Camera trial shall be conducted as far as practicable by a woman judge or magistrate.
  20. Criminal proceedings against persons of unsound mind and lunatics are now regulated by amended Sec.328, 329 and newly substituted Sec.330. These give detailed procedures and safeguard proceedings against lunatics and persons of unsound mind.
  21. Newly inserted section 357A incorporates a newly introduced Victim Compenstion Scheme in order to alleviate the sufferings of the victim and to provide important safeguards to their Right.
  22. Amendment to Sec.372 provides that the victim shall have a Right to Appeal against any order passed by the court acquitting the accused or convicting for a lesser offence or imposing inadequate compensation.
  23. New Section 437A incorporates a very important provision to provide that before conclusion of trial or disposal of the appeal the court shall require the accused to execute bail bonds with surety to ensure his appearance before the higher court as and when required, and such bail bond may remain in force for 6 months.

Related Reading:
Delhi Police first to make changes as per new CrPC rules
Changes to CrPC half-baked: Lok Ayukta judge
Govt introduces Code of CrPc Amendment Bill in RS
Changes in CrPC likely to ease situation in overcrowded Tihar

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