Types of Trial and Their Differences in CrPC

Types of Trial and Their Differences in CrPC

Abstract: Talking of Trials, it won’t be any big reveal that Trial is nowhere defined under the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973[i] but even with the shallow readings and derived understandings one can be aware with the interpretation of the term and state that Trial means a stage of proceeding that begins with post the frame of the charge followed by the conviction or acquittal. The paper aims to breakdown the meaning of Trial in simpler words with stating that it is the examination that is performed by the Judge, concluding whether the person is adjudicated as guilty or found innocent. The Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 is a procedural law that provides the mechanism in which manner the criminal trial is to be conducted on the basis of substantive criminal law which is the Indian Penal Code and other criminal statutes. The primary objective of the criminal justice system is mainly to ensure the nature of the trial that is mandatorily free and fair.

Trial: under the Code

The word trial is not defined anywhere in the procedural law but the Code maintains to provide the mechanism in which manner the criminal trial should be conducted. The primary object of the criminal justice system is to ensure that the trial must be fair. The Presiding Officer is supposed to treat the accused innocent till the charge is proved against him but at the same time, the guilty person should not be escaped from the punishment.

Under the Criminal Procedure Code, however,  the stage of the trial begins after framing the charge and ends with either conviction or acquittal of the aforesaid. The criminal procedure for judicial adjudications is divided into 37 chapters and classified into two schedules ;

  • the offences classified under Indian Penal Code
  • the offences classified other than Indian Penal Code

The nature of trial is divided on the basis of the seriousness of offences, its gravity and jurisdiction and on the basis of the gravity, seriousness of the offences the substantive law grants separate nomenclature particularly the nature of offences like the offence against State, human body, property, public tranquillity, documents, marriage and other similar in nature to the above.

Types of Trial : [ii]

The Code provides for different types of criminal trials for different types of criminal cases. If the offence is of a serious nature, the trial procedure is more elaborate whereas, for offences of lesser gravity, the trial procedure is simple and less elaborate. Court within whose jurisdiction any offence is committed shall have the power to trial and examine the facts of the case.

  1. Sessions Trial or Trial before a Sessions Court

Section 225-237 [iii]deals with the session trial under the code. A public prosecutor shall conduct the trial of the prosecution before court of session. A public prosecutor tries to prove the guilt of the accused with the help of evidence. While conducting the trial, the prosecutor describes the charges which have been framed against him and refer the evidence to prove the guilt of the accused. After the presentation of evidence and facts by the public prosecutor if the judge does not consider them as sufficient ground for further proceeding, he may discharge the accused.  The judge may not only see the matter, he can also exercise his power by applying the judicial mind. If the judge is satisfied with the prosecutors claim then he shall frame the charge and starts the further proceedings till the truth came forward.

  1. Warrant Trial or Trial of Warrant cases by Magistrates

Under section 238-250[iv] of the Code, warrant trial has been mentioned where the trial of warrant cases been conducted by the magistrate. The warrant trial has been initiated either case instituted on the police report or by the direct complaint to the magistrate. The case instituted by the police shall be investigated first after reported the matter under section 173 of the Code and the same report shall be submitted to the magistrate along with the accused of the cognizance of the offence.
The case which is instituted not to the police but directly to the magistrate by appearing themselves and produces evidence in support of his complaint. Then magistrate after taking cognizance and satisfaction issue summons to any witnesses to present and produce evidence. After complete inquiry, the accused must be either conviction or acquittal.

  1. Summon Trial or Trial of Summons cases by Magistrates

Summon trial cases are those cases in which magistrate issues the summon to the accused to present before the court. Section 251-259[v] of the Code deals with summon trial and prescribes the procedure of the same. A similar procedure is to be followed in summon trials which is followed in the above cases after the appearance of the accused before the court. Under summon trial cases, there is not mandatory to frame charges against accused but he is subject to examined by the magistrate. Summon cases are basically of less grievous offences in nature and their punishment is not much harsh as in the above cases

  1. Summary Trial

Section 260-265[vi] of the Code talks about the summary trial. A summary trial is a speedy and simplified procedure to record the trial and case has been speedily disposed off. The principle which is followed under summary trial is based on legal maxim ‘ justice delayed is justice denied’. Speedy disposal of trial provides a clear picture to the court due to which case stands to dispose off early. This also prevents the miscarriage of justice otherwise it would take several years to complete proceedings.

Differences [vii]

One of the major difference in all the four types of trial under Crpc is about the nature of offence and their punishment.

  • Trials of Warrant cases are more elaborate and are of a more serious nature than that of the Trials of Summons cases. Even under Warrant trials, the cases relating to offences of higher gravity are dealt with by the Sessions Court whereas the cases relating to offences of lesser gravity are dealt with the Magistrates.

  • All the warrant cases where the exclusive jurisdiction is vested under the court of session to conduct a trial of that offence, are session trial. Whereas all the warrant cases are triable by magistrate where offence of which punishment is imprisonment for more than two years.
  • The trial in summons cases are not much serious in nature and their punishment is also lesser. Trial of summary cases is generally for the petty offences.

  • Further, we can distinguish them by the nature of the offence committed and fall under which category of trial. Gravest and most serious nature of offences comes under the definition of session trial. Where the nature of the offence is of serious nature then it falls under the ambit of warrant trial.

  • Summon trial consists of the offences whose nature is minor and at last, the where the petty offences are committed it covers under summary trial.

  • Another distinction can be made on the basis of Quantum of the sentence. Where the offences punishable with the death penalty, life imprisonment or imprisonment for more than 7 years, the session court has complete jurisdiction to trial. Offences which are punishable with imprisonment more than a period of two years comes under the definition of warrant trial. Cases related to offences which are punishable with imprisonment for a period of less than two years are summoned case trial. Offences which are punishable by the imprisonment for the term of less than 3 months, covers under summary trial cases.

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  • Under warrant trial, accused may be discharged after reviewing the evidence if magistrate does not satisfied with the claims of prosecution , However, there is no such stage of discharge in summon trial before or after the recording of evidence.

  • In session or warrant trail cases, the participation of police must be there as they frame charges and submit the report in a similar case. While in summon or summary trial , there is no such participation of police can be seen.

  • The procedure of summary and summon trial are simpler and speedier in comparison to session trial or warrant trail cases. Due to speedy trial by the magistrate, there are chances of early disposal of the case while it is contrary in other such trials which would led to a miscarriage of justice.

  • After examination of facts and evidence during the trial, the magistrate is competent enough to convert summon case into the warrant case. But he is not empowered by the code to convert warrant cases into summon cases.

  • In cases where an offence is exclusively tried by Sessions Court, it cannot take cognizance of such an offence. According to Section 209 of the Code, A competent Magistrate may take cognizance of such an offence and then commit the case to the Court of Sessions for Trial.

  • Under summon trial, the person accused need not be present physically and he is being informed about the charges orally rather to frame charges against him.
Summarisation of the Differences [viii]

In a warrant case relates to offences punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years. The CrPC provides for two types of procedure for the trial of warrant cases triable by a magistrate, especially those instituted upon a police report and those instituted upon complaint or on own information of magistrate. While on the other respect of cases instituted on the police report, it provides for the magistrate to discharge the accused upon consideration of the police report and documents sent with it. In respect of the cases instituted otherwise than on police report, the magistrate hears the prosecution and takes the evidence. If there is no case, the accused is discharged. If the accused is not discharged, the magistrate holds regular trial after framing the charge, etc.

In respect of offences punishable with death, life imprisonment or imprisonment for a term exceeding seven years, the trial is conducted in a Sessions court after being committed or forwarded to the court by a magistrate. Whereas in a summons case consists of all cases relating to offences punishable with imprisonment not exceeding two years. In respect of summons cases, there is no need to frame a charge. The court gives the substance of the accusation, which is called “notice”, to the accused when the person appears in pursuance to the summons. The court has the power to convert a summons case into a warrant case, if the magistrate thinks that it is in the interest of justice.

Summary case: The high court may empower magistrates of first class to try certain offences in a summary way. Second class magistrates can summarily try an offence only if punishable only with a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months. In a summary trial, no sentence of imprisonment for a term exceeding three months can be passed in any conviction. The particulars of the summary trial are entered in the record of the court. In every case tried summarily in which the accused does not plead guilty, the magistrate records the substance of the evidence and a judgment containing a brief statement of the reasons for the finding.


Trial is a proceeding which involves examination and determination of a cause by a judicial tribunal, and which ends in conviction or acquittal of the accused. A Trial is always an examination of offence. Trial is the examination and determination of a cause by a judicial tribunal which has jurisdiction over it. Trial is the third stage in a criminal case.

Under the Code, the trial is a critical element in criminal cases and it is helpful to determine the cause in a particular matter. The trial comes into effect after investigation or inquiry is completed and to find out the guilt or innocence of a person, court orders to conduct the trial. The trial is a necessary part of a criminal case to avoid the contradiction of facts and evidence. One major reform which is necessary in trial procedure is that it must be concluded in time or as early as possible, otherwise, both the parties could suffer. The trial is examination if not concluded in time an innocent person may face complications or the complainant part could suffer from inadequacy of justice. As discussed above trial is followed by the investigation and inquiry and depends upon the magisterial orders.

There must be one lacunae which are to prevent unnecessary delay and to set up a mechanism to keep a check over the time consumption of every trial so that justice could not be denied. So, the trial is the necessary part where both the parties to suit tries to prove their side effects along with evidence and the conclusion came out from their arguments is either to conviction or acquittal of the accused. It is also pertinent to mention here that a person once tried in a case cannot be tried in the same offence. Section 300 of the CrPC restrict the authority not to try the person again in the same offence.

Types of Trial and Their Differences in CrPC

Also Read: Complaint Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

[i] To be referred as Code in the paper

[ii] Reading based on : Different Kinds Of Trial Under CRPC Law Essay, UK ESSAYS https://www.ukessays.com/essays/law/different-kinds-of-trial-under-crpc-law-essay.php

[iii] Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

[iv] Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

[v] Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

[vi] Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

[vii] Reading based on : R.V.Kelkar’s Lectures on Criminal Procedure, 6th Ed, 192.

[viii] Read under the heading: ‘Different Kinds Of Trial Under CRPC Law Essay’ https://www.ukessays.com/essays/law/different-kinds-of-trial-under-crpc-law-essay.php

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