Plea Bargaining under Crpc India |Concept, Meaning, Procedure

Plea Bargaining under Crpc India – Chapter XXI A of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 added by the Criminal law amendment Act of 2005 which provides plea bargaining. It came into force on July 5, 2006. Section 265A to 265L, of the Criminal Procedure Code, deals with the concept of Plea Bargaining.

Plea Bargaining under Crpc India


The concept of plea bargaining was first recommended in the 154th report of the law commission.

Its purpose is to find new ways to deal with criminal cases and For this, the Government of India had constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Justice Malimath, former Chief Justice of Karnataka and Kerala High Courts. The Malimath Committee recommended plea bargaining in India.

The purpose of plea bargaining is to reduce the delay in criminal proceedings and to give lesser punishment to the accused of pleading guilty.

History of Plea Bargaining

Plea Bargain is an American concept. It was used in the American judiciary in the early 19th century. In India, It was added by the Criminal law amendment Act of 2005.

Types of Plea Bargaining

  1. Fact bargaining.
  2. Sentence bargaining
  3. Charge bargaining

Meaning – Plea Bargaining under Crpc India

 Plea bargaining is an agreement between the accused and the public prosecutor where the accused plead guilty in exchange for certain concessions.

Plea Bargaining in Crpc – Procedure

1)Sec.265A – Application of Chapter 

This chapter applies to the accused against whom-

a) The report u/s 173 has been forwarded of the offense for which punishment is not of death, imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for the term exceeding 7 years. or

b) A Magistrate has taken cognizance of offense on a complaint for which punishment is not of death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for the term exceeding 7 years. & after examining complainant & witnesses u/s 200 and issued the process u/s 204.

The chapter does not apply to – 

1) Offences affecting the socio-economic condition of the country 

2) offenses committed against women 

3) offenses committed against a child below the age of 14 years.

2) Sec.265B – Application for plea bargaining

1)An application may be filed by the accused in court in which such offense is pending trial.

2) Such application contains a brief description of the case & is accompanied by an affidavit by accused

That he has voluntarily preferred for plea bargaining after understanding the nature of punishment for the offense

And also that he has not been previously convicted by the court for the same offense.

3) After receiving such application court issues notice to the public prosecutor or complainant,

And the accused to appear on a date fixed for the case.

4) After the appearance of the above parties on the date the Court examines,

the accused in camera in absence of the other party to satisfy itself that accused has filed such application voluntarily.


a) The court is satisfied with such application being voluntarily filed, it provides the time to public prosecutor/complainant

And the accused to work out a mutually satisfactory disposition of the case & thereafter fix the date for the next hearing. This time may include compensation to the victim by the accused and other expenses during the case.

b) The court finds that such application is involuntarily filed or the accused has been convicted previously for the same offense,

it shall proceed in accordance with the stage of application been filed under subsection (1).

Plea Bargaining under Crpc India

3) Sec.265 – C – Guidelines for mutually satisfactory disposition

In working out mutual disposition under clause (a)sub sec.4 of Sec.265B the Court follows procedure i.e.-

a) In a case instituted on a police report, the Court issues notice to :

1) public prosecutor, 

2)police officer who investigated a case

3) the accused 

4) the victim 

to work out mutual satisfactory disposition.

In carrying out such a process it is the duty of the Court to ensure the entire process is completed voluntarily by parties participated in such meetings.

Provided further that, if accused desires he may participate in such meeting with his pleader.

4) Sec.265 D – Report of mutual satisfactory disposition to be submitted before the Court

If mutual disposition is worked out under sec.265C the Court shall prepare a report which has to be signed by

the presiding officer of the Court and all persons participating in such meeting.

If no mutual disposition is worked out the Court shall record observation and proceed further in accordance with provisions from the stage the application is filed under subsec.(1) of Sec. 265B.

5) Sec.265E – Disposal of the case

Where the mutually satisfactory disposition is worked out under Sec.265D the Court disposes of the case in the following manner –

a) The Court shall award compensation to the victim in accordance with the disposition under sec.265D and hear parties on : 

1) Quantum of punishment

2) Releasing of accused on probation of good conduct or after admonition u/s 360 or dealing with accused under Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 

b) After hearing the parties if the Court is of view that sec.360 or Probation Act,1958 are attracted,

The court may release such accused on probation or provide any such benefit under any law time being in force.

c) After hearing the parties if there is minimum punishment is provided for the offense committed by the accused,

the Court may sentence the accused half of such minimum punishment.

d) In case after hearing the parties the Court finds that offense committed by the accused is not covered,

under clause (b) or clause (c), it may sentence the accused to one-fourth of punishment provided or extendable for such offense.

6) Sec.265F – Judgement of the Court 

The Court delivers its judgment in terms of Sec.265E in open court which shall be signed by the presiding officer of Court.

7) Sec.265G – Finality of the Judgment

The judgment delivered by Court shall be final and no appeal shall lie in any Court against such judgment,

except SLP under Article 136 and writ petition under Article 226 & 227 of Constitution.

8) Sec.265H – Power of the Court in plea bargaining

The court shall have all the powers vested in it under the Code in respect of bail,

a trial of offenses and other matters relating to the disposal of the case.

9) Sec. 265 I

The provisions of Sec.428 of Code shall apply in setting off a period of detention undergone by the accused against the sentence of imprisonment imposed under this chapter.

10) Sec.265J – Savings

The provisions of this chapter shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other provisions of this code.

11) Sec.265K – Statements of accused not to be used

The statements of the accused in an application for plea bargaining shall not be used for any other purpose except for the purpose of this chapter.

12) Sec.265L – Non Application of Chapter

This chapter of plea bargaining is not applicable to any juvenile or child as defined in clause (k) of section 2 Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.

Advantages of Plea Bargaining

There are many advantages of plea bargaining not only for the accused but for the state/complainant also. The Advantages of Plea Bargaining are as follows

  1. Plea bargaining assures a conviction
  2. Time-saving
  3. Solve Issue quickly
  4. It can reduced caseload
  5. Reduced expenses

Plea bargaining assures a conviction

Assurance of conviction is one of the most important advantages of plea bargaining. At trial, there is uncertainty about being found guilty. There is a possibility that the judiciary will not find the accused guilty. But if the accused agrees to plea bargain then it assured the conviction.


A criminal trial is very time-consuming and as we know the principle of justice delayed is justice denied becomes realistic. But the concept of a plea bargain is time-saving and it gives the prosecution more time for a more important case.

Solve Issue quickly

plea bargaining gives speedy justice to the victim. It removes the legal process which is time-consuming. Many people are in jail and waiting for trials which means they are kept in jail without conviction. A plea bargain is the best way to resolve issues quickly and deliver speedy justice

It can reduced caseload

In India, the criminal justice system is replete with millions of cases. Many of the accused were jailed without trial and millions of victims await justice. The plea bargain resolves the issue quickly and will help ease the burden on the criminal justice system.

Reduced expenses

Plea bargaining reduces the costs of a Criminal trial. The government can use these expenses for rehabilitation of the accused or anything that will improve the criminal justice system

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