Section 299 CrPC: Recording Evidence in Absence of Accused – Code of Criminal Procedure

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Section 299 CrPC: Recording Evidence in Absence of Accused

This section of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) deals with the situation where an accused person is absent during the recording of evidence in a criminal trial.

1. The Code

Section 299 CrPC states:

“If, upon the day appointed for the commencement of the trial, the accused person does not appear, the Court may, if it thinks fit, proceed with the trial in his absence, and, in such case, may, if it thinks fit, record the evidence of witnesses for the prosecution.”

2. Explanation

  • This section empowers the court to proceed with the trial even if the accused is absent, provided the court deems it appropriate.
  • The court has the discretion to record evidence of prosecution witnesses in the absence of the accused.
  • The court’s decision to proceed in the absence of the accused should be based on sound reasons and must not be arbitrary.
  • The absence of the accused should not be a deliberate act of evasion or obstruction of justice.

3. Illustration

Imagine a case where the accused is facing charges of theft. On the day of the trial, the accused does not appear in court, despite being served with a summons. The prosecution provides evidence of the theft, including witness testimony and CCTV footage. The court, after considering the circumstances and the accused’s absence, decides to proceed with the trial and record the evidence of the prosecution witnesses in the absence of the accused.

4. Common Questions and Answers

Q1. Can the court record the evidence of the defense witnesses in the absence of the accused?

A1. No. Section 299 CrPC specifically refers to the recording of evidence of prosecution witnesses. It does not mention the recording of defense witnesses in the absence of the accused. The accused’s presence is essential for the defense to present its case effectively.

Also Read  Section 49 CrPC: No Unnecessary Restraint - Code of Criminal Procedure

Q2. What are the grounds for proceeding with the trial in the absence of the accused?

A2. The court should consider factors such as the nature of the offense, the accused’s previous conduct, the reasons for his absence, and the likelihood of his return before deciding to proceed in his absence. The court should ensure that the absence of the accused does not prejudice the fair trial.

Q3. What are the consequences of the accused’s absence during the trial?

A3. The court may proceed with the trial and pronounce judgment in the absence of the accused. However, the accused can appeal against the judgment if he believes that he was prejudiced by his absence and the court’s decision.

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