Trial: Meaning and Definition

A trial is a crucial step in figuring out if the accused is guilty of the crime. Every trial is an investigation of the facts surrounding an offence. A fair and reasonable trial is required. Criminal trials are held with the intention of reducing crime in society and using punishment as a deterrent. The trial will proceed on a daily basis without interruption. Depending on the severity of the offences, their intensity, and the jurisdiction, several types of trials are conducted.

What is the meaning of Trial?

The term "trial" refers to the phase of a case's procedures when the judge considers the accusations and renders a decision; it is not defined in the Code of Criminal Process. The trial phase begins upon the formulation of the charges and concludes with the verdict. In the past, India had the idea of a jury trial, which was a process wherein a group of jury members was forced to vote on what they determined after the proceeding of the case were over, and the verdict was to be pronounced based on the majority of that vote. After the landmark case of K.M. Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra (1962 AIR 605 1962 SCR Supl.) this method was abandoned.

Kinds of Trial

The four different kinds of trial and these are as follows −

Warrant Trial

When the case begins with the filing of an F.I.R. in a Police Station or before the Magistrate, this trial is held. In a warrant case, the offences are those that carry sentences of more than two years in jail, life in prison, or the death penalty. The provisions for a trial to be held before the Sessions Court are found in Chapter XVIII, Sections 225–237, of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Procedure Followed by the Warrant Trail Under Cr.P.C.

Sections 244–247 of the Cr.P.C., 1973, deal with situations when the case was not instituted at the police station. Sections 238–243 of Cr.P.C. 1973 deal with the procedure to be followed in the case of an F.I.R. filed before the police. The end of the trial is covered in Sections 248–250 of Cr.P.C., 1973. In police proceedings, the magistrate must be satisfied with the supporting documentation included with the charge sheet and has the authority to exonerate the accused if there are no clear grounds for guilt.

In private complaints, the defence must provide their evidence after the prosecution has presented theirs, and if the magistrate is not pleased, he or she may dismiss the accused. If the accused is not discharged, however, the processes outlined in Section 246 must be followed.

Summon Trial

This sort of trial is held when the crime committed carries a sentence of less than two years in jail. Because the Magistrate issued a summons to the accused according to Section 204(1)(a), there is no need to formulate charges in relation to this trial. These trials don't require as many procedures to be taken and are less formal than sessions, so they warrant trials. The provisions pertaining to the trial of summons cases are covered in Chapter XX, Sections 251–259, of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

Procedure Followed by Summon Trial Under Cr.P.C.

Section 251 requires that the accused person's accusing chemicals be disclosed to the magistrate, and the accused is then asked whether he enters a plea of guilty or not based on those substances. If the accused enters a guilty plea, Section 252 specifies the method to be followed, and Section 253 specifies the procedure to be followed if the accused enters a guilty plea through a messenger; if the accused does not enter a guilty plea, Section 254 procedure is followed, and Section 255 judgement is rendered based on the proceedings.

If the magistrate determines that the case may be dropped, the complainant may also withdraw his complaint prior to the case's conclusion. Section 259 of the law gives the court the authority to convert a summons case into a warrant case.

Session Trial

If the crime committed carries a sentence of more than seven years in jail, life in prison, or death, this trial process is initiated. This trial is being held at the Court of Sessions, which received the case from a magistrate. The provisions for a trial to be held before the Sessions Court are found in Chapter XVIII, Sections 225–237, of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Procedure Followed by Session Trial Under Cr.P.C.

According to Section 225, a public prosecutor must conduct this trial, and the judge has the authority to acquit the defendant. If the accused enters a guilty plea, the judge can rule on the matter; if not, the judge sets a date for the presentation of pertinent evidence. According to Section 232, the judge has the authority to exonerate the accused if the evidence and other pertinent facts and figures do not satisfy them.

According to Section 233, the accused must offer evidence supporting him as his defence. The process of argument and the judge's ultimate verdict of conviction or acquittal are covered in Sections 234 and 235. Cases brought out by section 199(2) of the Cr.P.C. are addressed under section 236.

Summary Trial

This trial is held in jurisdictions where matters can be quickly tried to an end. Generally, this type of trial is used for straightforward and less complex issues. Sections 260–265 of Chapter XXI of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, cover summary trials.

Procedure Followed by Summary Trial Under Cr.P.C.

The ability of a court to conduct a summary trial is stated in Section 260, and Section 261 states the provision under which a Magistrate of Second Class can conduct a summary trial. Section 262 deals with the procedure to be followed for a summary trial, which is nearly identical to that of a summons trial. If the accused does not enter a plea of guilty, the Magistrate is required to record the evidence and make a brief statement of it while pronouncing his judgement under Section 264.


The Indian judicial system is complex, and the trial process is separated according to how serious the offence was and where it was reported. As the legislation is always susceptible to change, new and more sophisticated procedures can be anticipated in the future. The code has been meticulously designed for better outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is a trial before a court under Cr.P.C.?

Ans. A public prosecutor will handle the prosecution in a trial before a court of session. The accused is entitled to hire the lawyer of his choice. If he cannot afford to hire a defence lawyer, the court hires one at the expense of the state.

Q2. What is a fair trial in Cr.P.C.?

Ans. A fair trial is one in which there is no bias or prejudice for or against the defendant, the witness, or the issue under trial.

Q3. Which section of Cr.P.C. defines right to a fair trial?

Ans. One of the essential rights guaranteed to every citizen of our nation and contained in Article 22(1) of the Indian Constitution is the right to free legal representation. Section 304 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 also incorporates this philosophy.

Updated on: 14-Apr-2023


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