Plea Bargaining and its Procedures

What is plea bargaining?

Plea bargaining essentially is pre-trial negotiation (bargaining) between the accused and the prosecution. In plea bargaining, what really happens is that the accused pleads guilty in exchange of seeking some reduction in the charges or sentence.

Plea bargaining is in operation since 2006, by adding a Chapter XXI-A (Sections 265A to 265L) through an amendment in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC).

The precise object of plea bargaining is to reduce the delay involved in criminal trial and to punish the accused with a lesser sentence when he pleads his guilt.

Elements of Murder under Indian Penal Code

Murder is the gravest form of culpable Homicide (punishable killing). It is the most serious crime having the highest punishment in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). Murder is an act of a person who is causing death of another person. A crime has four elements: an offender, mens rea (guilty mind), actus reus (guilty act) and the victim.

The courts find it difficult to differentiate a case of murder from a case of Culpable Homicide not amounting to Murder because the descriptions in both are provided by using similar words or phrases.

Culpable Homicide v Murder under IPC

The crime of killing a human being by another human being is categorized as Culpable Homicide under Section 299 and as Murder under Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Sections separate the most heinous killing from those which are less serious ones in nature.

Both of them are distinct offences. But the definition and description of both Culpable Homicide and Murder look almost similar in grammatic construction. Therefore making out the subtle distinction between them is quite difficult, even for a learned law professional. Capable Homicide is defined in the code. But neither the term Homicide nor Murder is defined, except by some explanations.

Lok Adalats & Legal Service Authorities

Lok Adalat means people’s court. It is an Alternate Dispute Redressal (ADR) mechanism periodically being conducted under the stipulations in the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.

The legal services authorities established under the act aims to provide free and competent legal services to the weaker section and to organize lok adalats to secure justice to such people in equal terms with others.

The Lok Adalat, being periodically conducted at different levels, settles disputes or cases pending in the court of law or at the pre-litigation stage, in a manner quite satisfying to both the parties.

Importance of Mens Rea in Criminal Cases

The term Mens rea is a crucial ingredient in any crime. It is a mental element of the doer of the crime. It refers to the guilty intention, knowledge or state of mind of an accused in committing a crime. It has come to fore as an indispensable element of crime in tune with a Latin maxim which means, “there can be no crime without a guilty mind” (actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea).

An act done by a person becomes a crime only when it is done with a guilty intention or mental state, in normal course. In other words, an act done with absolutely no guilty intention or state of mind may not become a crime.

What is meant by Cause of Action in a Civil Suit?

What we term as cause of action is a bundle of facts which forms the ground for a civil suit. The plaintiff must have to prima facie convince the court as to the existence of the facts relating to cause of action for the court to proceed with the suit. Cause of action is the foundation of a suit. It is the pivot on which the issues of the suit revolves. The cause of action must have occurred prior to the institution of the suit. The cause of action is the basis of filing the suit.

Ordering police assistance by the civil court

Police assistance by civil courts

No specific provision is provided in the Civil Procedure Code, 1973 (CPC) for enabling a civil court to order police assistance to a party to a case. But the civil court can direct the police to give assistance in implementing its own orders.

In giving such directions the court can invoke its inherent powers under Section 151 of the CPC ( Moidu v Parth Sarathy & others : 1991 KHC 19).

Challenge between the legal heir & the nominee regarding the deposit of the deceased

Who is the legitimate claimant when the bank deposit/insurance amount of a deceased person is claimed simultaneously by both the nominee on the one hand and the legal heir on the other?

The laws have no specific provision to differentiate between legitimacy of a nominee and a legal heir in receiving the deposit/insurance amount of the deceased person. But a few case laws shed light on the issue. This issue, which led to inconsistent decisions by different courts in the yester years, seems to be reasonably well settled right now.

Maneka Gandhi judgment simplified

Landmark judgment in Maneka Gandhi case

The judgment in Maneka Gandhi case ( Maneka Gandhi v Union of India: AIR 1978 SC 597) was a landmark judgment in the judicial history of India. It was a conscious attempt on the part of the Supreme Court (SC) in restoring the people’s faith in the judiciary which reached at its low in the seventies, particularly after the ADM Jabalpur judgment which is considered to be the most infamous judgment in India.

The context, theme & impact of Keshavananda Bharati Case

The Supreme Court (SC) judgment in the Keshavanand Bharati case (Keshavananda Bharati v State of Kerala: AIR 1973 SC 1461), delivered exactly 47 years ago on 24th April 1973, stands out in Indian legal history as a beacon light.

The judgment was delivered by the largest SC Bench so far. The hearing was the lengthiest one spanning 68 days. The judgment running into 703 pages was the longest one then.

The judgment helped India in upholding the lofty principles of Indian Constitution to a great extent, despite the country has been reeling under diverse political pressures over the years. The judgment crystalised the doctrine of basic structure of the constitution and established that any law, amendment of law or even constitutional amendment should not go inconsistent with what is called the basic structure of the Constitution.