CrPC Section 273: Evidence in Presence of Accused – Code of Criminal Procedure

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CrPC Section 273: Evidence in Presence of Accused

This section of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) deals with the recording of evidence in the presence of the accused.

1. Code:

Section 273. Evidence in presence of accused.

Where any evidence is to be recorded under this Chapter, the accused shall be present, and if he is absent, the Court may, if it thinks fit, proceed to record such evidence in his absence; but no such evidence shall be recorded in the absence of the accused unless the Court has satisfied itself that the accused has been duly served with a summons to attend and has without sufficient cause neglected or refused to attend.

2. Explanation:

This section emphasizes the fundamental principle of a fair trial, which mandates the accused’s presence during the recording of evidence. However, it acknowledges situations where the accused might be absent and provides guidelines for proceeding in such cases.

  • Accused’s presence: The general rule is that the accused must be present when evidence is being recorded. This allows the accused to hear the evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and participate in the legal proceedings.
  • Absence of accused: If the accused is absent, the court has the discretion to proceed with recording evidence. However, it must first satisfy itself that:
    • The accused was properly served with a summons to attend the proceedings.
    • The accused’s absence is without sufficient cause (i.e., not justified).

3. Illustration:

Imagine a case where a witness is scheduled to testify against the accused. The accused, despite being served with a summons, fails to appear in court without any valid reason. In this scenario, the court can, after confirming the accused’s absence is unjustified, proceed to record the witness’s testimony in the accused’s absence.

Also Read  Section 220 CrPC: Trial for Multiple Offences - Code of Criminal Procedure

4. Common Questions and Answers:

  • Q: What if the accused is absent due to illness?
  • A: If the absence is due to a genuine illness, the court may consider postponing the recording of evidence. However, the accused should provide appropriate medical documentation to support their claim.
  • Q: Can the accused’s lawyer be present if the accused is absent?
  • A: Yes, the accused’s lawyer can still be present during the recording of evidence, even if the accused is absent. The lawyer can cross-examine witnesses and represent the accused’s interests.
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