Accused should be given reasonable time to plead guilty: Madras HC
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Last Updated: Saturday, May 07, 2011, 15:46
Madurai: It was imperative for trial courts to explain to an accused the offences under which he or she is booked and give reasonable time to plead guilty or not guilty when he or she appeared in court in response to summons or produced by police, the Madras High Court has held.

The observation was made by Justice KBK Vasuki while setting aside the conviction as well as the punishment imposed on a married couple by Tiruvallur Judicial Magistrate on March 14, 2007 on the basis of their supposed confession on the same day in a case registered under Sec.75 (Penalty for drunkenness or riotous or indecent behaviour) of the Madras Police Act.

In their revision petition, the couple contended they were sentenced without even being produced before the Magistrate. Also, neither the case document was provided to them nor an opportunity given to engage a lawyer to argue the case registered by police.

The case was registered by the Pattambiram Police in Chennai outskirts on a complaint lodged by a woman, who was "inimical" to them due to some dispute, the petitioners said.

Allowing the petition, Justice Vasuki said "In this case, the couple were not given time. The serious allegations raised on the side of the learned counsel for the Petitioners has full force of law and the entire proceedings are liable to be vitiated for violation of Sec 251 (Magistrate to state Substance of offence to the accused) of the Code of Criminal procedure.

The Judge remitted the case back to the Magistrate for retrial which should be concluded in three months.

She also set aside the penalty of Rs.500 imposed on the two petitioners as well as the order to undergo simplement imprisonment of two weeks in case of failure to pay the fine and ordered refund of the amount.


First Published: Saturday, May 07, 2011, 15:46

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