Section 370 CrPC: Procedure for Difference of Opinion in Criminal Cases

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Section 370 CrPC: Procedure for Difference of Opinion in Criminal Cases

1. State the code

Section 370 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) deals with the procedure to be followed when there is a difference of opinion between the Magistrates or Judges hearing a criminal case.

2. Explain it

This section applies when:

  • Two or more Magistrates are hearing the same case.
  • There is a difference of opinion regarding any point of law or fact.
  • The difference of opinion cannot be resolved by discussion and agreement.

In such situations, the following steps are to be taken:

  • The Magistrates/Judges will record their respective opinions.
  • The case will be referred to a higher court.
  • The higher court will then decide the case based on the opinions of the lower court.

This section ensures that there is a proper procedure for resolving differences of opinion in criminal cases, thereby upholding the principle of justice and fairness.

3. Illustrate it

Imagine a case where two Magistrates are hearing a theft case. One Magistrate believes that the accused is guilty based on the evidence presented, while the other Magistrate believes the accused is not guilty. After thorough discussion, they are unable to reach a consensus. In such a scenario, Section 370 comes into play. The Magistrates will record their opinions, and the case will be referred to a higher court for a final decision.

4. Gist of common questions and answers regarding the code

Q. Who can refer the case to a higher court under Section 370?
A. The Magistrate or Judge who holds the minority opinion can refer the case.
Q. Can the higher court overturn the decision of the lower court?
A. Yes, the higher court has the power to overturn the decision of the lower court if it disagrees with the opinion of the majority of the lower court.

Also Read  Section 87 CrPC: Warrant in Lieu of or Alongside Summons - Code of Criminal Procedure
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