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Trial before session court

 Trial before court of session


In India, we follow the adversarial system. It implies that the Judge acts as a neutral party and hears the prosecution and defence on the point of law without actually taking part in the proceeding. Under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 every individual has a right to fair trial and hearing by an independent and unbiased tribunal. Section 303 confers a right upon the accused to be defended by a lawyer of his choice. Under Section 304 where an accused person is unable to represent his case by a pleader, the Court shall appoint a pleader for him at the state’s expense. The accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty of the charges against him. Moreover, the accused has a right to cross-examine the witnesses of the prosecution. All offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 are inquired, investigated and tried according to the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 except otherwise provided. The Code describes the procedure for the trial of a criminal case and its stages. In India, there is a uniform judicial system at the apex position being the Supreme Court, the High Court has the power of superintendence over all the courts and tribunal within the state. The CrPC divides criminal trial into sessions trial and magistrate trial. Whether an offence is triable by a Court of Session or Magistrate’s Court is specified under the First Schedule of the Code. When a District Court exercises its jurisdiction over criminal matters it is referred as a Court of Session. A Court of Session is considered as a court of first instance which deals with offences which are of a serious nature at a district level. It is the highest criminal court in a district. According to Section 9 of the CrPC, the State Government is empowered to establish a Court for every sessions division and every Court of Session is presided over by a Judge appointed by the High Court.

Scope of the topic

This topic mainly covers the procedure and the steps followed in trials where the case has come up before the Court of Session. 

Initial steps in the trial

Initially, a Magistrate takes cognizance of an offence and thereafter as per Section 209, he will commit the case to the Court of Sessions. A Magistrate is empowered under Section 190 to take cognizance of an offence upon receiving a complaint; upon a police report; upon information received from a person other than a police officer; or upon his knowledge. According to Section 193, Court of Session cannot take cognizance of an offence directly but the Court of Session is permitted to take cognizance of an offence without a case being committed to it if the Magistrate commits the case to it or if it acts as a special Court. 

Under Section 207 and Section 208 the Magistrate is required to supply copies of documents like First Information Report, the statement recorded by the police or Magistrate, etc to the accused. Under Section 209, if it appears to the magistrate that the offence is triable exclusively by the Court of Session, he may commit the case to the Court of Session and send all the documents and records to it and either grant bail or remand the accused into custody and shall also notify the Public Prosecutor. The procedure for trial before a Court of Session is mentioned from Section 225 to Section 237. As per Section 225, every trial before a Court of Session is conducted by a Public Prosecutor.

Opening case for prosecution

When the magistrate commits a case under Section 209 to the Court of Session and the accused appears or is brought before the Court, the prosecutor is required under Section 226 to open his case by explaining the charge against the accused and also states the evidence by which he will prove the guilt of the accused. At this stage, full details of the evidence need not be stated. The opening of the prosecution case must only be to matters which are necessary to follow the evidence. It is not necessary for a Public Prosecutor in opening the case for the prosecution to give full details of the evidence with which he intends to prove his case.


The Court, on considering the documents and records of the case, and hearing the prosecution and the accused on the matter, shall discharge the accused if the Judge thinks that there is no sufficient ground to proceed against the accused. The Judge is required to record his reasons for discharging the accused under Section 227. It was held in State of Karnataka v. L. Muniswamy that the object of this Section is to require the Judge to give reasons for discharging the accused is to enable the superior court to examine the correctness of the reasons for which the Sessions Judge has held that there is or is not sufficient ground or not to proceed against the accused.

Framing of charge

Under Section 228, The Judge after considering the records of the case and the documents submitted along with it in evidence and hearing the prosecution and the defence, he thinks that there is a ground to presume that the accused has committed the offence and is exclusively triable by the Court of Session, he will frame a charge against the accused.

For procuring the evidence of the prosecution the following steps have to be followed as mentioned below:

Oral arguments and memorandum of arguments on behalf of the prosecution

Under Section 314 the prosecutor has to submit his oral arguments after the conclusion of prosecution evidence and before any other steps in the proceedings are taken. It is also necessary to submit a memorandum, in brief, stating the arguments in his favour and a copy of that memorandum should be given to the opposite party. Adjournment for filing of written argument shall only be given if the court thinks it proper and record reasons for the same. The court will regulate an oral argument If it thinks it is irrelevant or not concise. The prosecution argument at this stage helps the court to conduct an examination of the opposite party and seeking his explanation on the issue raised by the prosecution.

Explanation of the accused

Under Section 313 the Court may examine the accused after the evidence for the prosecution has been taken. The object of this Section is to give an opportunity to the accused of explaining any circumstances that seem to appear against him. After the witness for the prosecution have been examined and before the accused is called upon for his defence, Section 313(1)(b) requires the court to question the accused person generally on the case for the purpose of enabling the accused personally to explain any circumstances appearing in the evidence against him.

It was ruled by the Supreme Court in Shivaji Sahabrao Bobade v. State of Maharashtra, it is basic that the prisoner’s attention should be attracted to each inculpatory material in order to allow him to clarify.

It was held in Asraf Ali v. State of Assam that, if a matter is significant against the accused and the conviction is proposed to be founded on it is correct and legitimate then the accused be examined concerning the issue and be given a chance to clarify it.

Hearing the parties

Section 232 gives an opportunity to both the prosecution and defence to address the court before calling upon the accused to enter upon his defence and to adduce evidence in support of it. The comments of the parties should be related to the evidence given by the prosecution and the examination of the accused.

Order of the acquittal

An accused may be acquitted if there is no evidence against him that he has committed the offence. Under Section 232 the Judge will record an order of acquittal in favour of the accused if he thinks that there is no evidence against the accused that he has committed the offence.

been made liable to pay compensation shall not be exempted from any civil or criminal liability. If any sum has already been paid to the accused that sum shall be taken into consideration while paying compensation in any subsequent proceeding relating to the same matter.      

The award of compensation does not apply to President, Vice-President, Governor of the State or Administrator of Union territory.

A person can also appeal to the High Court against the order of the Court under this Section.


The above article outlines all the procedures relating to the sessions trial. The Code of Criminal Procedure provides an opportunity for the accused for fair trial and makes an effort to avoid any delay in investigation or trial. The Judge in every case ensures that the accused is given a fair opportunity of hearing and defending his case. The Code also provides for legal aid to an indigent accused who is unable to engage a lawyer in compliance with the constitutional requirements and also as required by Section 304 so that any person accused of committing an offence is not wrongly convicted and justice is served.