Code of Criminal Procedure (India)

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Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
Scale of justice 2.svg
Parliament of India
  • An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to Criminal Procedure.
CitationThe Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
Territorial extent India
Assented to25 January 1974
Commenced1 April 1974
Legislative history
Third reading3
Committee report
  • 41st Report of the Law Commission of India (1969)
  • 37th Report of the Law Commission of India (1967)
  • 14th Report of the Law Commission of India (1958)
  • Joint Committee on the Code of Criminal Procedure Bill, 1970
  • Report of the Expert Committee on Legal Aid- Proccessual Justice to the People (1973)
Amended by
see Amendments
Related legislation
Procedure for administration of substantive criminal laws.
Status: In force (amended)

The Code of Criminal Procedure commonly called Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is the main legislation on procedure for administration of substantive criminal law in India.[1] It was enacted in 1973 and came into force on 1 April 1974.[2] It provides the machinery for the investigation of crime, apprehension of suspected criminals, collection of evidence, determination of guilt or innocence of the accused person and the determination of punishment of the guilty. It also deals with public nuisance, prevention of offences and maintenance of wife, child and parents.

At present, the act contains 484 sections,[3] 2 schedules and 56 forms. The sections are divided into 37 chapters.

As of 11 August 2023, the CrPC will be replaced by the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS).[4]


In medieval India, subsequent to the law set by the Muslims, the Mohammedan Criminal Law came into prevalence. The British rulers passed the Regulating Act of 1773 under which a Supreme Court was established in Calcutta and later on at Madras and in Bombay. The Supreme Court was to apply British procedural law while deciding the cases of the Crown's subjects.

After the Rebellion of 1857, the crown took over the administration in India. The Indian Penal Code, 1861 was passed by the British parliament. The CrPC was created for the first time ever in 1882 and then amended in 1898, then according to the 41st Law Commission report in 1973.

Classification of offences under the Code[edit]

Cognizable and non-cognizable offences[edit]

Cognizable offences are those offences for which a police officer may arrest without a court-mandated warrant in accordance with the first schedule of the code. For non-cognizable cases the police officer may arrest only after being duly authorized by a warrant. Non-cognizable offences are, generally, relatively less serious offences than cognizable ones. Cognizable offences reported under section 154 Cr.P.C while non-cognizable offences reported under section 155 Cr.P.C. For non-cognizable offences the Magistrate empowered to take cognizance under section 190 Cr.P.C. Under section 156(3) Cr.P.C the Magistrate is competent to direct the police to register the case, investigate the same and submit the challan/report for cancellation. (2003 P.Cr.L.J.1282)

Ingredients of Section 154
  1. It is an information which is given to police officer.
  2. Information must relate to a cognizable offence.
  3. It is an information of offence first in point of time.
  4. The investigation starts immediately after recording the FIR.
  5. The information may be given by orally or in writing (Even a relevant telephonic information is also sufficient to become FIR).
  6. A copy of the FIR shall be given to the informant free of cost immediately.

Summons-case and warrant-case[edit]

Under Section 204 of the code, a Magistrate taking cognizance of an offence is to issue summons for the attendance of the accused if the case is a summons case. If the case appears to be a warrant case, he may issue a warrant or summons, as he sees fit. Section 2(w) of the Code defines summons-case as, a case relating to an offence, and not being a warrant-case. Section 2(x) of the Code defines warrant-case as, a case relating to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years.

Territorial extent, scope and applicability[edit]

The Criminal Procedure Code is applicable in the whole of India. The Parliament's power to legislate in respect of Jammu & Kashmir was curtailed by Article 370 of the Constitution of India. Though, as of 2019, the Parliament has revoked Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, thus rendering the CrPC applicable to the whole of India.

Provided that the provisions of this Code, other than those relating to Chapters VIII, X and XI thereof, shall not apply-

(a) to the State of Nagaland, (b) to the tribal areas,

However the concerned State Government may, by notification apply any or all of these provisions in these areas. Moreover, the Supreme Court of India has also ruled that even in these areas, the authorities are to be governed by the substance of these rules[5]

Bodies function under the code[edit]

  1. Supreme Court of India
  2. High Courts
  3. District and Session Judge and Additional District Judges
  4. Judicial Magistrates (CJM, JFCM, JSCM)
  5. Executive Magistrates (DM, ADM, SDM, EM)
  6. Police
  7. Public prosecutors
  8. Defence counsels
  9. Correctional Services Personnel

Sentences which Magistrates may pass[edit]


There is no definition of the term "bail" under the code though the terms "bailable" and "non-bailable" have been defined.[6] It has however been defined by the Black's Law Lexicon as security for the appearance of the accused person on giving which he is released pending trial or investigation[7]

The First Schedule[8] to the Code, classifies the offences defined in the Indian Penal Code. Besides specifying whether an offence is Bailable or Non-Bailable it also specifies if it is Cognizable or Non-Cognizable, which Court has the jurisdiction to try the said offence, the minimum and maximum amount of punishment that can or shall be awarded for the said offence.

The Supreme Court of India can and has from time to time made certain bailable offences, non-bailable or vice-a-versa by special directions, to curb increasing menace of certain crimes in the society.[9] The State Government has the power to make certain offences bailable or non-bailable in their respective States.[10]

Summary trials[edit]

Section 260 Clause 1 of the Code lists certain offences which may be summarily trialed by any Chief Judicial Magistrate, any Metropolitan Magistrate or any Judicial Magistrate First Class. A First Class Magistrate must first be authorised by the respective High Court to that effect before he may try cases summarily under this Section.

The offences that may be tried summarily under this Section are:

  1. Offences not punishable with death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years.
  2. Theft under Section 379, 380 and 381 of the Indian Penal Code provided that the value of the stolen property is below 2,000.
  3. Receiving or retaining stolen property under Section 411 of the penal code where the value of the stolen property is below 2,000.
  4. Assisting in the concealment or disposal of stolen property, under Section 414 of the penal code, the value of the stolen property being below 2,000.
  5. Lurking house-trespass (Section 454 of the Indian Penal Code) and house-breaking (Section 456 of the Penal Code) at night.
  6. Insult with an intent to provoke a breach of peace under Section 504 and criminal intimidation under Section 506 of the penal code.
  7. Abetting of any of the above-mentioned offences.
  8. Attempt to commit any of the above-mentioned offences.
  9. Offences with respect to which complaints may be made under Section 20 of Cattle Trespass Act, 1871.

Apart from the above, a Second Class Magistrate may, if so empowered by the High Court, summarily try an offence punishable with fine or with imprisonment not exceeding six months or the abetment or attempt to commit such an offence. As per section 262(2) no sentence of imprisonment for a term exceeding three months shall be passed in the case of any conviction under this chapter 21.

A summary trial tried by a magistrate without being empowered to do so is void. The procedure for a summons case is to be followed, subject to special provisions made in this behalf. The maximum sentence that may be awarded by way of a summary trial is three months with or without fine.

The Magistrate may give up the summary trial in favour of the regular trial if he finds it undesirable to try the case summarily. The judgement is to be delivered in abridged form.


Judgment is the final reasoned decision of the Court as to the guilt or innocence of the accused. Where the accused is found guilty, the judgment must also contain an order requiring the accused to undergo punishment or treatment.

Every court must deliver the judgement in the language of that court as determined by the State Government. It must contain the points that lead to the determination of guilt or innocence. It usually commences with facts and must indicate careful analysis of evidence. It must also specify the offence under the penal code or such other specific law as well as the punishment sentenced. If acquitted the offence of which the accused is so acquitted must be specified along with a direction that the accused be set at liberty.

Judgments in abridged form[edit]

According to Section 355 of the Code, a Metropolitan Magistrate may deliver judgments in abridged form and should contain:

  1. Date of commission of the offence
  2. Name of the complainant (if any)
  3. Name of the accused person, his parentage and residence
  4. Offence complained of (or proved, as the case may be)
  5. Plea of the accused and his examination (if any)
  6. Final order
  7. Date of the order
  8. In cases where appeal lies from the final order, a brief statement of reasons for the decision.

Compensation and costs[edit]

The functions of a civil court may be performed by a criminal court by virtue of Section 357, 358 and 359. This has been done to provide just, speedy and less expensive redress to the victim.[citation needed] The court is empowered to levy a fine from the offender. Such fine may, wholly or in part, be used for the purpose of compensating the victim as per the amendment of 2009. A new section 357A has been inserted which talks of victim compensation scheme. Further in the year 2013 two new sections namely section 357B and section 357C were inserted to make compensation to the victim (as defined under section 2(wa))in addition to fine imposed under section 364A or 376D of the IPC as well as treatment of victim respectively.

Post-conviction orders[edit]

Having regards to the age, character and antecedents of the offender, and the circumstances in which the offence was committed, if the Court convicting the accused considers it expedient to release the offender, it may do so either on probation of good conduct or after due admonishment. This provision is contained in Section 360 of the Code.

Thus the court may direct that the offender be released on his entering into a bond, with or without sureties. The offender is further required to keep peace and be of good behaviour as well as appear thereafter before the court when called upon during such period as the court may decide. This period should not exceed three years. The following conditions have to be satisfied:

  • There is no previous conviction proved against the offender.
  • In case the person convicted is a woman of any age, or a man aged below twenty-one years, the offence committed is not punishable with life imprisonment or death penalty.
  • In case the person is a man above twenty-one years of age, the offence of which he is convicted is punishable with fine.

Alternatively, the offender may be released after due admonition, if the following conditions are satisfied:

  • There is no previous conviction proved against the offender.
  • The offence of which the accused is convicted is any of the following:
  1. Theft,
  2. Theft in a building,
  3. Dishonest misappropriation,
  4. Any offence punishable under the Indian Penal Code with no more than two years of imprisonment,
  5. Any offence punishable only by fine.

No Magistrate of Second Class may release an offender under in such manner without being empowered to do so. He may transfer the case to a Magistrate for consideration.

Section 361 narrows down the discretion of the Court to sentence an offender without taking into consideration the provisions of Section 360 and similar provisions contained in the Probation of Offenders Act or any other law for treatment, training and rehabilitation of youthful offenders.[citation needed] It requires that when such provisions are applicable, the Court must record in writing, the reason for not allowing the benefit of the same to the offender.

Section 30 provides the Court of a Magistrate with the power to award imprisonment for additional terms over the substantive period awarded.


The Code and the Constitution of India together provide for multiple ranges of appellate remedy.[citation needed] A person convicted by the High Court exercising original criminal jurisdiction may appeal before Supreme Court.[11] Where the High Court has, on appeal reversed an order of acquittal and sentenced him to death and imprisonment for a term of ten years or more, the accused may appeal to the Supreme Court.[12] The Constitution provides that an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court against the direction of Supreme Court if the High Court certifies that the case involves substantial questions of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution.[13]

Judgements and orders arising from petty cases are not appealable unless the sentences are combined with other sentences.[14] There can not be an appeal when the accused pleads guilty and is convicted on such plea by the High Court. If the conviction from a plea of guilt is by a Sessions Court, Metropolitan Magistrate or a Magistrate of First or Second Class, only the legality of the sentence may be brought into question in an appeal.[15]


The Code has been amended several times.[16]

S. No. Short title of amending legislation No. Year
1 The Repealing and Amending Act, 1974 56 1974
2 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1978 45 1978
3 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1980 63 1980
4 The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1983 43 1983
5 The Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 1983 46 1983
6 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1988 32 1988
7 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1990 10 1990
8 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1991 43 1991
9 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1993 40 1993
10 The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1993 42 1993
11 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2001 50 2001
12 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005 25 2005
13 The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2005 2 2006
14 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Amending Act, 2006 25 2006
15 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2008 5 2009
16 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2010 41 2010
17 The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 13 2013
18 The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 1 2014


Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 provides a 9-point checklist which must be used to decide the need for an arrest.[17] In 2014, Arnesh Kumar Guidelines were formulated by the Supreme Court stating arrests should be an exception, in cases where the punishment is less than seven years of imprisonment.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bharti, Dalbir (2005). The Constitution and criminal justice administration. APH Publishing. p. 320.
  2. ^ Menon, N. R. Madhava; Banerjea, D.; West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (2005). Criminal Justice India Series: pts. 1-2. Chandigarh. Allied Publishers. p. 229.
  3. ^ "All Sections in CrPC". Archived from the original on 12 January 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Mowu v. Suptd., Special Jail, 1972 SCC (Cri) 184, 189:(1971) 3 SCC 936
  6. ^ Moti Ram v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (1978) 4 SCC 47: 1978 SCC (Cri) 485, 488
  7. ^ Black's Law Lexicon, 4th Edn., p. 177
  8. ^ "The First Schedule of CrPC". Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Make acid attacks non-bailable". The Indian Express. 19 July 2013. Archived from the original on 16 September 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Criminal Law Amendment Act 1932". Archived from the original on 16 September 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  11. ^ Section 374 (1)
  12. ^ Section 379
  13. ^ Article 132 (1) of the Constitution of India
  14. ^ Section 376
  15. ^ Section 375
  16. ^ The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Current Publications. 11 May 2015. p. LX. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  17. ^ "No arrests under anti-dowry law without magistrate's nod: SC". The Times of India. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  18. ^ "DGP Must Issue Directions to Police To Adhere to SC Guidelines in Arnesh Kumar: Madhya Pradesh HC". The Wire. 20 May 2021. Retrieved 21 November 2021.

External links[edit]