Plea Bargaining

Plea bargaining is a process in criminal law where the accused person agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge or to receive a lesser sentence in exchange for the prosecution dropping the more serious charges or for a reduced sentence.

In other words, it is a negotiation between the accused person and the prosecution where the accused person agrees to plead guilty to a lesser offence or to cooperate with the prosecution in exchange for a reduced sentence or other favourable terms.

The concept of plea bargaining is based on the idea that it can save time and resources for the court system by avoiding a lengthy trial, and it can provide some benefits to both the prosecution and the accused person.

Plea bargaining was introduced in India through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2005. However, it was limited to certain offenses and only available for offenders who were facing imprisonment for a term of seven years or less.

In 2008, the Code of Criminal Procedure was amended to provide for a more comprehensive framework for plea bargaining.

The plea bargaining process involves the accused person making a plea of guilt and agreeing to a proposed sentence. The court then considers the plea, hears the prosecutor’s views, and decides whether to accept or reject the plea bargain.

If the court accepts the plea bargain, the accused person is sentenced in accordance with the terms of the plea agreement. However, if the court rejects the plea bargain, the case proceeds to trial.

It is important to note that plea bargaining is not available for certain types of offenses, such as those involving sexual assault, domestic violence, and offenses against the State.

Plea bargaining in India has been criticized for a number of reasons, including concerns about the potential for abuse and the possibility that it may undermine the principle of the presumption of innocence.

However, supporters of plea bargaining argue that it can help reduce the backlog of cases in Indian courts and provide an efficient means of resolving cases.

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