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  • Soumya Mani

SECTION - 313 : AN EPITOME OF FAIRNESS


Section - 313 of Cr.P.C. reads as :

" Power to examine the accused.

(1) In every inquiry or trial, for the purpose of enabling the accused personally to explain any circumstances appearing in the evidence against him, the Court-

(a) may at any stage, without previously warning the accused, put such questions to him as the Court considers necessary; (b) shall, after the witnesses for the prosecution have been examined and before he is called on for his defence, question him generally on the case: Provided that in a summons- case, where the Court has dispensed with the personal attendance of the accused, it may also dispense with his examination under clause (b).

(2) No oath shall be administered to the accused when he is examined under sub- section (1).

(3) The accused shall not render himself liable to punishment by refusing to answer such questions, or by giving false answers to them.

(4) The answers given by the accused may be taken into consideration in such inquiry or trial, and put in evidence for or against him in any other inquiry into, or trial for, any other offence which such answers may tend to show he has committed."


The Apex Court in the case of Samsul Haque v. State of Assam, reiterated that the incriminating material that was brought in as evidence is to be put to the accused during his examination under section - 313 of Cr.P.C. The bench consisting of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph said that "this is in recognition of the principles of audi alterem partem so that the accused gets a fair chance to defend himself."


The question raised before the Court in the present case was that, if the circumstances are not put to the accused in his statement under section - 313 of the Cr.P.C. they must be completely excluded from consideration because the accused did not have any chance to explain them. While referring to the above observation, the bench relied upon the judgement in the case of Shivaji Sahbrao Bobde v. State of Maharashtra, which considered the fall out of the omission to put to the accused a question on the vital circumstance appearing against him in the prosecution evidence and the requirement that the accused's attention should be drawn to every inculpatory material so as to enable him to explain it.


Finally, the Court taking note of the evidence that were put on the record, acquitted the accused.

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