Section 246 CrPC: Procedure When Accused is Not Discharged

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Section 246 CrPC: Procedure When Accused is Not Discharged

This section of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) deals with the proceedings that follow when the accused is not discharged at the end of the prosecution’s case.

1. Statement of the Code

Section 246 CrPC: When, at the close of the prosecution evidence, the accused is not discharged under section 239, the Magistrate shall proceed to hear the accused.

2. Explanation

The Magistrate, after hearing the prosecution’s case and considering the evidence presented, may discharge the accused if the evidence is insufficient to establish a prima facie case against them (as per Section 239). However, if the Magistrate deems the evidence sufficient, the accused will not be discharged and will be given an opportunity to defend themselves.

Section 246 outlines the following steps in such a situation:

  • Hearing of the Accused: The Magistrate will formally hear the accused’s side of the story and allow them to present their defense.
  • Right to Examine Witnesses: The accused has the right to examine witnesses in their defense. This includes calling their own witnesses and cross-examining the prosecution witnesses.
  • Right to Remain Silent: The accused has the right to remain silent and need not present any evidence in their defense. The burden of proof lies solely on the prosecution.

3. Illustration

Imagine a case where A is accused of theft. The prosecution presents evidence, including witness testimony and CCTV footage, that allegedly shows A stealing a valuable item. At the end of the prosecution’s case, the Magistrate deems the evidence sufficient to establish a prima facie case against A. Therefore, A is not discharged and Section 246 comes into play.

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The Magistrate will then call upon A to present their defense. A can choose to remain silent, present evidence, examine witnesses, or take any other steps deemed necessary.

4. Common Questions and Answers

Q: What if the accused chooses to remain silent?

A: The prosecution’s evidence will be assessed against the accused’s silence. The Magistrate will still consider the evidence and determine if the prosecution has met its burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt.

Q: Can the accused be convicted based solely on the prosecution’s evidence?

A: Yes. If the prosecution’s evidence is strong enough and convincing, the accused can be convicted even if they do not present any defense.

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