Section 309 CrPC: Postponement & Adjournment of Criminal Proceedings

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Section 309 CrPC: Postponement & Adjournment of Criminal Proceedings

1. State the Code

Section 309 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) deals with the power of the court to postpone or adjourn criminal proceedings.

2. Explanation

This section empowers the court to postpone or adjourn criminal proceedings for various reasons, such as:

  • Absence of the accused or the witnesses
  • Necessity for legal representation
  • Complexity of the case
  • Availability of documents and evidence
  • Illness of the accused or the judge
  • Any other sufficient cause

The court has the discretion to decide whether to postpone or adjourn the proceedings. It is also required to consider the interests of justice while making the decision.

3. Illustration

Suppose a witness in a criminal trial is suddenly taken ill and unable to attend the court proceedings. The court can, under Section 309 CrPC, postpone the trial until the witness recovers and is able to appear in court.

4. Common Questions and Answers

Q. What is the difference between postponement and adjournment?

A. Postponement refers to a delay in the commencement of the trial, while adjournment is a delay during the trial itself.

Q. Can the accused request a postponement or adjournment?

A. Yes, the accused can request a postponement or adjournment, but the court will decide based on the merits of the request.

Q. Can the court refuse a request for postponement or adjournment?

A. Yes, the court can refuse a request if it deems the reason insufficient or if it feels that it would prejudice the interests of justice.

Q. What happens if the court adjourns the proceedings indefinitely?

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A. This is not allowed. The court must specify a date for the adjourned hearing, even if it is a long time in the future.

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