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Double Jeopardy

Plea of autrefois acquit and autrefois convict on protection against double jeopardy (Sec 300 r/w Art. 20(2)):

Where the accused appear or is brought before the court, he can raise that plea that he earlier tried for the same offence and convicted or acquitted for the same. And that according to the principle of double jeopardy, he cannot be tried again.

The above said principle is recognized as fundamental right under Art. 20 (2) of the constitution and has been clearly embodied in Sec 300 of Crpc.

Difference between sec 300 and Art. 20 (2):

In State of Tamil Nadu vs. Nalini 1999SC

Held: that the spirit of Art.20 (2) has been incorporated in sec 300 Crpc. However sec 300 is wider in scope and covers both previous acquittal or conviction of the same offence.

Sec 300 contains a bar to the second trial of the same offence against the same person as the Supreme court observed in the case of Manipur Administration vs. T. Birla Singh 1965 SC, it was held that if there is no punishment for the offence as a result of prosecution, Art. 20(2) has no application as it embodies only autrefois convict while sec 300 embodies both autrefois acquit and autrefois convict.

Analysis of Sec 300:

1. Clause 1: The basic rule says that a person who has once been tried by a court of competent jurisdiction for an offence and convicted and acquitted of such offence, shall not be tried again for the same offence while such acquittal or conviction remain in force.

The word 'tried' in Sec 300 is given wider meaning in case of Haveli ram vs. M.C. Delhi 1966 ,held that when a court has taken cognizance of an offence and has ordered for the appearance of the accused this itself may be considered sufficient to hold that the accused has been tried.

The words 'same offence' discussed in the case
State of Rajasthan vs. Hat Singh 2003(2) SCC 152 relied on
State of Bombay vs. S.L. Aptey 1961 sc 578, held that the word 'same offence' indicates that the offence foe which the accused has been tried and the offence for which he is again being tried must be identical.

The second trial is barred only if the ingredients of the two offences are identical and not when ingredients are different even though they may have resulted from the commission or omission of the same set of facts.

Sec 300(1) further says that even though the offence in the second trial is not the same offence still the second trial is not the 'same offence', still the second trial will be barred if it is based on the same facts for any other offences for which a different charge from the one made against such accused person might have convicted.

Eg. A is charged before the court of session and convicted of culpable homicide of B. A may not afterwards be tried on the same facts for the murder of B.

Exceptions to the above basic rule :

2. Sec 300(2)

A person acquitted or convicted of any offence may be afterwards tried, with the consent of the State Government, for any distinct offence for which a separate charge might have been made against him at the former trial under sub- section (1) of section 220. In such a case, second trial will be allowed with the consent of the state govt.

3. Sec 300(3)

A person convicted of any offence constituted by any act causing consequences which, together with such act, constituted a different offence from that of which he was convicted, may be afterwards tried for such last- mentioned offence, if the consequences had not happened, or were not known to the Court to have happened, at the time when he was convicted.

Eg: A is tried for causing grievous hurt and convicted. The person injured afterwards dies. A may be tried again for culpable homicide.

4. Sec 300(4)

A person acquitted or convicted of any offence constituted by any acts may, notwithstanding such acquittal or conviction, be subsequently charged with, and tried for, any other offence constituted by the same acts which he may have committed if the Court by which he was first tried was not competent to try the offence with which he is subsequently charged.

Eg: A magistrate of second class convicts A for theft of property from B. A magistrate of first class may subsequently try A on a charge of robbery on the same because the magistrate of second class is not competent to try offence of robbery.

5. Sec 300(5)

A person discharged under section 258 shall not be tried again for the same offence except with the consent of the Court by which he was discharged or of any other Court to which the first- mentioned Court is subordinate.

6. Sec 300(6)

Nothing in this section shall affect the provisions of section 26 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 , (10 of 1897 ) or of section 188 of this Code.

Ranvir Singh vs. State of Haryana 2008(4) RCR (Criminal) 421 (P & H)

Held dismissal of a complaint does not amount to acquittal of the accused but is only a discharge. Fresh complaint against accused is maintainable.

Lawpreneurz Details of Code of Criminal Procedure

Sr No. Topics
Lecture 1 CrPC Cognizance
Lecture 2 Issue of Process
Lecture 3 Appeals
Lecture 4 Complaint Part I
Lecture 5 Complaint Part II
Lecture 6 Double Jeopardy
Lecture 7 CrPC Question Bank

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