Code of Criminal Procedure Criminal Law LAW EXPLAINED
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The term ‘charge’ is provided under Section 2(b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The central idea of framing the charges before the beginning of the trial is to inform the accused in an accurate and clear manner the allegations and the claims which have been raised against him by the victim before the Court. It is vital for the accused to recognize what the court means to accuse him of, which the prosecution requires to prove.

So, what exactly is the meaning of charge?

As defined under Section 2(b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, it goes as, “charges means the head of the charge when there is more than one charge.” From this, it can be said that the definition of charge given is very vague and unclear and is beyond the understanding of a layman. The definition can be understood with the help of an example.

Example: Let’s assume, there is a thief A who broke into B’s house and stole all the jewellery by keeping the inmates of the house at gunpoint. Here, A has carried out certain offences like trespass, theft, possession of arms and ammunition, assault, etc.

Thus, now whenever the trial will commence against the accused, the Magistrate charges the accused and illuminates him for the multiple offences that have been claimed against him. All of these offences are called heads of charge and every one of them exclusively and together is known as ‘charge’. This is what is contemplated by Section 2(b) of CrPC.

Meaning of Charge

The basic guideline of criminal law depends on the way that it is the right of the accused to be briefed about the specific idea of the charge leveled against him. The definition has already been stated in the previous contexts. Thus, the term charge is basically associated with the allegations of offences that have been charged against the accused. Hence, it is seen that the charge which is levied against the person is imperative for him to be aware of it in order to let him prepare for his defence and also for the justice to be done by him.

Purpose of Charge

The central idea or the main objective of charge was reflected by Faizalali J. in the case of V.C. Shukla v. State. It was observed that the purpose or reason for the charge is to give the exact and precise information to the accused of the offence that he has been charged with to permit him a chance to prepare for his defence.

Each offense puts upon the prosecutor an altogether different burden to prove its case before the court. Despite the fact that in common parlance, we state that the prosecutor has the burden to prove past a sensible uncertainty that the accused is guilty of the offences charged with. Thus, the general idea and basic rule are that the charge must be particular and not outstretched. This permits or allows the accused to prepare for his defence on the specific charge.

By and by, the weight of this burden changes from offence to offence. Thus, it is imperative and necessary that all the heads of the charges are particularly and fully elucidated in order to allow the prosecutor to analyze the amount of evidence and witnesses that would be important to obtain a conviction.

Form of Charge

A charge isn’t a form however the charge that is imposed against the accused is referenced in the charge-sheet which is the type of charge. The charge-sheet is a general term utilized for the Final Report that the researching authority (typically Police) is required to submit under Section 173 of the CrPC. The charge-sheet contains the offences which the police presume the accused to have submitted based on the proof that can be found throughout an examination. Be that as it may, the real charges are those and real charge-sheet is where the Magistrate puts a charge on the accused.

The accused with the last report is brought before the Judicial Magistrate. The Magistrate, after inquiry, advises the accused regarding the offences that he is charged with and specifies them on a different sheet which is the charge-sheet.

Other Sections related to Charge

  • Section 215: Section 215 establishes that no error or exclusion in the charge will be viewed as a material except if it has occasioned a failure of justice. In the case of Tulsi Ram & Ors. v. State of Uttar Pradesh, The court was considering these parts of the issue and clarified that a grievance about the charge was never raised at any prior stage and the scholarly Judges came to the conclusion that the charge was completely comprehended by the appellants in that case and they never complained at the proper stage that they were bewildered by the charge. Thus, the Court refused to acknowledge any complaint relating to a mistake in the surrounding of the charge.
  • Section 218: This section is basically related to a general rule which says that for every distinct offence, there must be a different charge and a separate trial for every one of the charges.
  • Section 219: This section deals with the concept that three offences of a similar kind within the year may be charged together. This implies that if the nature of three offences is the same, at that point they will be charged together.


Thus, it can be said that the framing of the charge is the most important step of the process of the beginning of a trial. The aim behind a charge is actually to let secure the accused the offence he is being charged with. Also, due care is to be taken while the framing of the charges as the wrong framing may lead to denial of justice.

This blog is written by Rashi Srivastava, Amity University.

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