Section 251 CrPC: Substance of accusation to be stated-
When in a summons- case the accused appears or is brought before the Magistrate, the particulars of the offence of which he is accused shall be stated to him, and he shall be asked whether he pleads guilty or has any defence to make, but it shall not be necessary to frame a formal charge.
Section 251 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) deals with the framing of charges against an accused person. This section lays down the procedure to be followed by a magistrate when framing charges in a criminal case.
The section reads as follows: “When, in any warrant-case instituted on a police report, the accused appears or is brought before a Magistrate at the commencement of the trial, the Magistrate shall satisfy himself that the documents referred to in Section 173 have been furnished to the accused, and if he finds that the accused has not been furnished with such documents or any of them, he shall cause them to be so furnished.”
The magistrate must then proceed to hear the prosecution and the accused, and examine any witnesses produced by them. After considering the evidence and hearing the arguments of both sides, the magistrate must decide whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed against the accused. If the magistrate finds that there is sufficient evidence, he must frame charges against the accused.
The charges must be read and explained to the accused, and the accused must be asked whether he pleads guilty or not guilty. If the accused pleads guilty, the magistrate may convict him without a full trial. If the accused pleads not guilty, the trial must proceed, and the prosecution must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
It is important to note that the framing of charges is a crucial stage in a criminal trial, as it determines the nature and scope of the trial. If the charges are not framed properly or if there is no sufficient evidence to support them, the accused may be acquitted.
In conclusion, Section 251 of the CrPC lays down the procedure to be followed by a magistrate when framing charges against an accused person in a warrant case. The section ensures that the accused is provided with all necessary documents and given a fair opportunity to defend himself. The framing of charges is a crucial stage in a criminal trial, and must be conducted in accordance with the principles of natural justice.