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This article is written by Hari Anand Singh Soni of Iswar Saran Degree College, University of Allahabad


In a democratic setup the only medicine which is effective is that of rule of law. India is a large and most populated nation in the world since its being the biggest democracy and its constitution being the lengthiest   constitution in the world it can be easily inferred that, India is a nation which runs on the highway of rules and regulations and these are the rules and regulations which does not let the arbitrary power of government surpass the streamline working of the nation. Judiciary plays a pivotal role in the streamline working of this nation and from time to time it’s the judiciary which has also taken care of the trial system in India. With the passing of time and the increasing number of pending cases the system has sought to mitigate the working of Judiciary so that they may not pass judgement in haste and which may wipe out the belief system of common man from the Judicial system of this nation. This paper attempts to discuss the trial system in India and most importantly the summary procedure under CrPC and would highlight the distinction between the trial systems in India  

Keywords:  Trial system of India, Summary trial under CrPC.


There is a colossal difference between Illegality and irregularity the former being incurable and later being curable where there is illegality the trial loose is piousness and possess no grounds to remain in field. At all level even at the minor level the lawfulness shall prevail. An infrastructure standing on the base of unlawful base shall be demolished with no feeling of remorse. Besides being lawful fair trial is also the right of every citizen.

The word ‘Trial’ is nowhere defined in any law however if we follow the appropriate nomenclature then it’s the

  1. Hearing the statement of both the sides by judge
  2. Display of evidences by both the sides to the judge  
  3.   And to determine which of the either side is guilty and which isn’t

The Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 provides the procedure of Trial and it is applied in those very proceedings which the court is powered to either convict or acquit a person regarding any offense. However, if we dive deep in then trials are further divided into 3 categories, namely

  1. Summon
  2. Warrant
  3. Summary trial

The first two are applied in those cases which imbibes more serious offenses and the third one is applied in those cases degree of seriousness is rather meagre

The stages of Trial begin once the charges are framed and most importantly the seriousness and gravity of offense are the soul factors for the determinations of nature of trial.

What is Summary Trials?  

In India summary trials in CrPC find their position from Section 260 to 265. These are applied for the offenses which are not of serious character and the maximum imprisonment under the offenses of summary trials is 2years  

Summary trials under Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)1 are applied under certain type of criminal offenses which are trivial in nature and these type of trials are quick in nature and are disposed swiftly. These are designed to ensure speedy and quick justice by easing the procedure and minimizing the timeline with the aim of delivering justice in time.

The power to try Summary trial lies under Section 260 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.2

This Sections provides following dignitaries the power to try offenses under Summary trials, any

  1. Chief Judicial Magistrate – Section 260(1)(a)
  2. Metropolitan Magistrate- Section 260(1)(b) or
  3. Judicial Magistrate of the first class empowered by the High Court Section 260(1)(c)
  4. Judicial Magistrate Class II empowered by High Court- Section 261
    To try the following cases wherein-
  5. Offense of imprisonment not exceeding two years, offense non punishable for life imprisonment and offense which are non punishable with death.
  6. If there is commitment of theft under section 379, 380 or 381 of the India Penal court, 1860 and the value of stolen article is not above 2000 rupees.
  7. If a person has committed an offense wherein, he receives or retains the stolen property worth not more than 2000rupees, under Section 411 of the Indian Penal Court, 1860     
  8. Offenses which come under the purview of Section 454 and Section 456
  9. Under section 504 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 if a person insults with the intention of provoking the breach of peace 
  10. Under Section 414 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, where the person has aided in concealing or disposing of stolen property, of an amount not more than 2000 rupees 
  11. Under Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, in those cases where the criminal intimidation is punishable with the offense of two years
  12.  Abetment of above-mentioned offenses
  13. If an attempt is made for commitment any of the aforementioned offenses, and such an attempt is punished,
  14. If an act is committed under Section 20 of the Cattle Trespass Act, 1871 which constitute an offense.

However if there comes into the mind of magistrate the process of trial, that the nature of case seems not to fit to tried under the purview of summary trial the he is conferred with power to recall any witness who in the course of trial had been examined. After this he can proceed as he may wish to.

Key features of Summary trials3

Summary trials have some unique qualities which stands them different from the ordinary trials

  1. fast track process– one of the primary features of Summary trials is the expedited process, there is considerable reduction of time in various stages like investigation, filling of charges, conduction of trial in comparison to regular trial. This ensures swift any timely disposal of case.
  2. uncomplicated process– the process of summary trials is simpler as compared to regular one since numerous legal technicalities such can be skipped at the decision of court, such as recording detailed evidence, and can rely on a summary of evidence to arrive at a decision hence making process less formal
  3. Lesser punishment – over here the offence of a lighter gravity is tried and cases which encompasses higher punishment are dealt through regular trial and the maximum punishment over here is upto 2 years.

Procedure of Summary Trials4

 Section 262 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 discusses the procedure for summary trials

The procedure for summon trial and the summary trials are same however the diminutive difference is that in Summary trials sentence forwarding beyond the duration of three months cannot be passed in case of conviction under this Chapter.

Following are the gist of how the summon case works

  1. For initiating the criminal procedure the prime step is to lodge an FIR after this will be investigated by the police and relevant evidences will be accumulated and once the investigation is done by the police a charge sheet would be filed. This stage is mostly referred as pre-trial stage.
  2. Then the accused is brought before the magistrate wherein he dictates the nomenclature of the offences in Toto to the accused. However in summary and summon trials the charge is not jot down.
  3. After highlighting the outlines of the offenses, the magistrate questions whether if he/she pleads guilty or not. If the accused replies in positive i.e. plead guilty then magistrate takes the note of accused’s statement   then proceeds ahead with his conviction.    
  4. The trial then gets initiated if the accused did not plead guilty. Then after both the prosecution and defence are given equal platform and time to put forward their cases now its upon judge’s discretion to decide the conviction and acquittal of accused


Section 263 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 lays down the manner to formulate the record in summary trial

In all the summary cases the magistrate has to follow the guideline to follow the nomenclature in the format as prescribed by the state government

  1. The serial number of the case
  2. The date upon which the accused committed the offence
  3. The date upon which the report or complaint was filed
  4.  If there is name of the complainant that’s need to be mentioned
  5. The accused’s name, address and parent’s name
  6. The offence about which the complain has been made and if exist any proven offence 
  7. If in any case the worth of property is involved in respect of which offence has been committed falls under Section 260(1) (ii) or Section 260(1) (iii) or Section 260(1) (iv) of the Code;
  8. If there is plea of the accused and his examination
  9. The findings of the court of justice
  10. The sentence or any other final order passed by the Court;
  11. The date on which the proceedings got over

The above particulars need to be necessarily filled by magistrate and not his clerk or any other staff and his signature shall be there in writing and not imprint by stamp

Judgment in cases tried summarily6

Section 264 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 provides an insight about how to declare a judgment in summary trials

The sections provides that during summary trial if accused has not plead guilty of the offence, then the magistrate must record the substance of the evidence and provide a judgement which echoes the concise statement about the reason of his findings

The overall gist and substance of the case and the lucid reason about the findings must be clearly mentioned in the judgement so that in an instance of an appeal, it would be easier for the court to figure out if the findings are accurate and legal. This instance was also discussed in case of Sankaran Unni Vasudevan Unni vs Rasheed and Anr  

Language in Summary Trial7

Section 265 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 provides about the record writing in the language of the court

All the records and judgement are written in the language of the court concerned moreover the high court may extend the power to any magistrate provided he is empowered to try offences summarily, to prepare the record or judgement or both. The chief judicial magistrate can appoint the officer for this purpose and such record and judgement which is prepared has to be signed by magistrate.


The Indian judiciary is enveloped in heavy burden and tons of cases are pending in it due to which the functioning of judiciary to some extent is hampering. So, such method of summarily trial is an efficient tool to ease off the burden since Indian population is rising rapidly and also citizens are becoming legally aware so in future the intensity of cases would be higher.

This system of Summary trial shall be made more wide so that more number of cases may fall over them and more cases shall be disposed off in a reasonable period of time


  1. Summary Trials in CrPC (lawbhoomi.com)
  2. Summary Trial under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 – iPleaders
  3. Summary Trials in CrPC (lawbhoomi.com)
  4. Summary Trial under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 – iPleaders
  5. Summary Trials Under Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) & Its Procedure (lawcorner.in)
  6. Summary Trial under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 – iPleaders
  7. Summary Trials Under Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) & Its Procedure (lawcorner.in)


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