There are number of cases pending in the court but still it has been accepted by the people now. Over 3 crore cases are pending in the court which is terrible for them. When we talk about plea bargaining in India we definitely utter the famous saying “Justice delayed is Justice denied.” This concept of plea bargaining was not in the Indian Criminal Justice System since start, it was introduced by various Indian legal scholars and jurists. Plea bargaining is basically an agreement between accused and prosecution wherein the accused agrees to plead guilty and asks for some concession in his punishment. Many Countries have accepted the concept of plea bargaining in their Criminal Justice System since start. Plea bargaining is not available in the cases of death or imprisonment for life or for heinous crimes. Before 1960, there was no legal representation because of which the need for plea bargaining was not felt, but after that legal representation was there and plea bargaining introduced.

Plea bargaining meaning
Plea bargaining is the agreement between accused and the prosecutor, in which the accused pleads guilty in return of having concessions in his punishment. The word “plea” refers to request or prayer and the word “bargaining” refers to the negotiation. It was implanted in the Indian Criminal Justice System after realizing that there are numerous cases pending in the court since long.

Types of plea bargaining

  1. Charge bargain: In this, the accused agrees to plead guilty asking for the concession in the original charges. It is generally not used in the courts as it seems to be in against of the Indian Criminal Justice System.
  2. Sentence bargain: The negotiation between both accused and prosecution is there wherein the accused agrees to plead guilty in replacement of a prosecution’s guarantee to acclaim the lighter sentence. The major motive of this sentence id to have a lighter sentence.
  3. Fact bargaining: In this, the accused agrees to certain facts in order to prevent from other facts which could be used as evidence.

Plea bargaining in India
The 154th law commission recommended the introduction of plea bargaining in India. In Malimath Committee Report, Justice V.S. Malimathcome up to a proposal to deal with the growing number of cases by suggesting the concept of Plea Bargaining. Many debates were there whether Plea Bargaining is acceptable in Indian Criminal Justice System or not. The landmark case of State of Uttar Pradesh vs. Chandrika, it was held that on the basis of mere acceptance court cannot settle the criminal case, there need to be the actual punishment for the accused. After many debates, court found it acceptable that apart from heinous crimes there can be the use of plea bargaining in India. For that matter in Criminal Procedure Code after 2005 amendment, some provisions were added. Section- 265A to 265L deals with the provisions of Plea bargaining wherein:

  • The offenses which are of heinous nature with imprisonment of death or 7 years or more cannot claim plea bargaining.
  • Where the socio-economic condition is not affected in the country, he can claim the same.
  • Where offenses are not committed against any girl or women or the children under 14 years of age, can claim the plea bargaining.

In the case of Kasambhaivs State of Gujarat& Kachhia Patel ShantilalKoderlalvs State of Gujarat and Anrthe Apex court clearly termed plea bargaining as unconstitutional and against the Criminal Justice System. Also, it creates collusion and corruption. But in the case of the State Of Gujarat vsNatwarHarchandjiThakor hon’ble court acknowledged the concept of Plea Bargaining wherein it has been mentioned that it should be a case to case basis whether plea bargaining should be opted or not.

Significant features of Plea Bargaining

  1. Plea bargaining is available for the crimes having punishment up to 7 years.
  2. Where the offense is against woman or the child below the age of 14 years, plea bargaining is not available.
  3. It is used to deduct the timing for long term standing cases.
  4. It drops out the multiple charges.
  5. It is used to cut the delay of dismissal of criminal cases.
  6. No appeal shall to any other court when there is an order of plea bargaining by a court.

Plea bargaining has been introduced in India after 1950 when India got its constitution. The need of plea bargaining was felt because of the plentiful number of cases pending in the court. When there is a delay in trial process, we see that there is a delay in serving justice as the crime was still rising. The implantation of this concept would be successful when there would be effective and positive work of the system. It’s going to be useful for thousand incredibly if used properly through cases to cases. Therefore, we can say that the concept of plea bargaining is actually a profit for our justice system and it adds the new dimensions for the system.

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