Authority of Criminal Courts to Conduct Investigations and Trials

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Authority of Criminal Courts to Conduct Investigations and Trials
Authority of Criminal Courts to Conduct Investigations and Trials

When a crime is committed in a specific location, the court with authority over the crime often has the power to investigate the case. But when the crime is committed elsewhere, issues may develop. A well-established rule of global law indicates that any crime committed by an individual in a foreign state will be prosecuted according to the laws of the state in which the crime took place.

One of the most important parts of the legal framework is the authority of criminal courts, which determines the power and jurisdiction of these courts in investigations and trials. The ability of a judicial body to hear and rule on particular kinds of issues is referred to as jurisdiction. The framework of the justice system involves figuring out which court has the authority to hold criminal offence investigations and trials.

The differences between an investigation and a trial, as well as the courts that have the authority to hear cases involving certain offences, will all be covered in this article. The requirement of such wide categorization and authority has been doubted deeply, like the authority of the criminal justice system in India.

What is an inquiry?

A “trial” is defined as any inquiry, which is not included under the term of trial, which may be looked into by both the judiciary of a magistrate or by another Court which is permitted by the Code Of Criminal Procedure, as stated in Section 2 of the Rules of the Criminal Procedure. This refers to and includes all actions taken before the submission of charges.

The topic of jurisdiction refers to the categories of issues that a court can consider. Criminal courts are typically divided into groups according to how serious the crimes are. For instance, felonies and less serious crimes may be addressed by lower courts, and homicides and more complicated cases may be handled by higher courts, such as district or superior courts. In addition, certain kinds of criminal matters may fall within the jurisdiction of speciality courts like drug courts or family law courts.

It may be handled in front of a court or by a magistrate. There is no verdict or release from these procedures. It can only lead to a trial sentence or being released. It refers to the actions taken before the start of the trial. Where inquiry ends, the trial begins. Finding out if the claims are true or not is the goal of the investigation. Types of inquiry also include:

  • Court Inquiry
  • Non-Judicial Inquiry
  • Initial Inquiry
  • Local Inquiry
  • Inquiry of a crime
  • Inquiry of subjects other than crimes

What is a trial?

When the inquiry phase ends, the trial begins. It is the third and most crucial component of a lawsuit. It is the procedure used to determine if an accusation against a person is true or false.

Criminal jurisdiction typically varies by the magnitude of the offences, the topic of the matter, and the geographic boundaries. The territory that a court has power over is defined by its geographic jurisdiction. There may be multiple levels of courts in distinct countries, including state, municipal, and national courts, each with an individual set of powers. For example, a state court has jurisdiction over crimes committed within the limits of the state, whereas a local or municipal court might handle small criminal cases that take place within a particular city or county. Offences involving conflicts between states or violations of federal laws are handled by federal courts.

Before the start of the proceedings, a few things must be remembered to comply with Section 190. The portion of the proceedings when the witness examination takes place is called the trial. Additionally, the legal panel determines the cause, which concludes by finding the accused individual guilty or not. Four categories have been developed from the trials, each with its methods and techniques:

  • Trial by session
  • Warrant trial
  • Trial by summons
  • Summary trial

Authority of the Criminal Judiciary

  • Section 177: This provision restricts the jurisdiction of the court to which the crime was committed, allowing it to primarily investigate and trial cases associated with it.
  • Section 178: This addresses circumstances in which a crime has been performed in many places, or in which it is uncertain where the crime took place due to its numerous convictions.
  • When a crime is partially committed in one locality and the remainder elsewhere.
  • When the offence is composed of many acts that are carried out in various localities, a court with jurisdiction over any such local region may investigate or try a crime if any of the above requirements are met.
  • Section 179 indicates that a court that has sufficient authority may investigate or try an offence if it is the result of measures taken that make it an offence.
  • When an act is considered criminal because it is connected to another crime, Section 180 addresses the trial area. It states that when both actions are carried out along with one another and both form crimes, the court whose jurisdiction the act was committed under must investigate or try the crime that was committed first. The location of the offence is always the primary factor in determining jurisdiction under all such rules.
  • Conditions in the event of certain offences are outlined in section 181. In addition to the location where the offence was committed, section 181 permits the trial to begin wherever the accused is located. Section 181 addresses offences that do not occur in a single location. It addresses the cases listed below.
  • Where the crime is done or the accused is located. Looting, or murder committed while committing an act of dacoity with murder, etc.
  • A person’s site of kidnapping or abduction is the location from where they were abducted, hidden from view, shipped out, or incarcerated.
  • Criminal mismanagement or criminal violation of trust occurs when the crime is committed or when the accused receives or keeps any property that is the subject of the crime and is then forced to restore it or account for it.

However, it can be seen from the circumstances of the offences listed in this section, that the offences mentioned above relate to offences committed while the offender is on the move.

  • Letter-related offences are covered by Section 182. This section stipulates that if an offence involves cheating and the victim was tricked through letters or telecommunications, the Court with local jurisdiction over the letters or messages, as well as the Court with local jurisdiction over the property delivered by the tricked organization or received by the accused party, will investigate the matter.
  • Section 183 addresses offences committed during a voyage or travel. When someone commits a crime while travelling, against an individual who is travelling, or while the item for which the crime has been carried out is in the process of travelling, the crime must be investigated or tried by a court in the area where the victim or the object recently passed through.
  • Two conditions decide the trial location for offences that are acceptable together. When someone commits crimes for which he may be prosecuted and convicted in a single trial by section 219 and section 220, when one or more people have committed the offences in a way that enables the court to charge and trial them all at once in alignment with section 223, the Court that has the authority to investigate and try these kinds of cases will act in both instances.
  • Whether a case is heard in a lower court or a higher court is frequently determined by the level of seriousness of the offences. This is commonly known as the jurisdictional barrier of the court. For example, a crime might be under the authority of a higher court, but a minor offence might be under the authority of a lesser court. Parallel jurisdiction is another factor to take into account in certain legal systems, as different courts might have jurisdiction over a single case. This could end up in lawyers making calculated decisions about which court they will present an appeal in or possibly transferring cases across courts depending on certain circumstances.
  • The State Government’s authority is defined in Section 185, which permits the government to order that any case or class of cases that have been assigned for prosecution in any area be heard in a conference court. It must make sure that this instruction does not conflict with any decisions that have previously been made by another Superior Court, with the terms of the Constitution, the Criminal Code Procedure, or any other presently established regulation.
  • By Section 186, just the High Courts of India have the jurisdiction to settle disputes arising from the consideration of a certain crime by multiple courts. In these situations, it is unclear which court will investigate or try the offence. These are the requirements for addressing such problems. If the courts in question are overseen by the same High Court, then the proceedings will be carried forward.
  • The High Court that started the process as an appeal against a criminal court will oversee the relevant courts if the previous High Court is not in charge of them. All further legal actions connected to that offence will then be dropped.
  • A magistrate may issue an injunction or warrant for crimes that have been committed outside of his local jurisdiction, according to Section 187. The magistrate in control of the case can order the individual in question to appear before him and proceed to refer him to the court with the appropriate jurisdiction.

Section 188 addresses the circumstances surrounding the offences committed outside of India’s borders. This provision states that when an offence is committed outside of India:

  • By an Indian national, in the outer seas, or somewhere else.
  • By a person who is not one of these citizens inside any aircraft or ship that is registered in India.
  • About the offence, such an individual may be dealt with on the assumption it had taken place anywhere in India, even wherever he might be. No such offence may be investigated or tried in India without prior approval from the Central Government, according to the exception to this section. The location of the offence is the most crucial element in the provision mentioned above.

In particular, Section 188 addresses situations in which the offence takes place outside of India. If an Indian citizen commits certain offences, it must be assumed that they were committed in India, whether in the oceans or somewhere else, or even when an individual who isn’t an Indian citizen but is travelling in an Indian ship or aircraft commits the offence.

  • In cases where Section 188 applies, the government of India may, if it sees fit, order that copies of statements or exhibits provided to a judge or before an Indian diplomatic or consular indicative in or for the area in question be admitted as proof by the magistrate conducting the inquiry or trial. This can happen in any case where the court may issue a commission to gather testimony on the issues about the statements or exhibits.
  • It is recommended to read Sections 188 and 189 simultaneously. They operate under the premise that there is a criminal in India who may be located anywhere in the country. The accused must be located by the court, and this must be done wherever the accused appears. The preceding section makes it obvious that the accused person cannot be identified by the police or by an ordinary report.
  • Visiting India to attempt and find the accused’s location before approaching the court is extremely difficult for an innocent victim of a crime committed away from India. For such a victim, convenience plays more in their direction. Therefore, when formulating Sections 188 and 189 of the Criminal Code Procedure, all of these considerations are taken into account. The mentioned victim has the right to submit an appeal in any Indian court of his choosing against the offence that an Indian national committed against him outside.
  • The topic of whether English courts have jurisdiction over crimes performed in a country outside India by foreign nationals travelling on England-borne ships was brought up in the matter of Benito Lopez v. Reg. It was decided that the nation that prosecuted the defendants did not exceed its boundaries. The ruling brought to light an essential principle of global law, which is, that regardless of the location of an offence, the offender is subject to punishment for all the crimes.


The first question that comes up whenever an offence is committed is which jurisdiction it would come under. The most crucial question that must be resolved before the proceedings can start smoothly is the legal one. Chapters 177 through 189 address the idea of authority. In typical scenarios, the court under whose jurisdiction the offence was committed will investigate and try the case.

There are several situations in which multiple courts have the authority to investigate and resolve the instances. The Criminal Code Procedure contains specific regulations that address these kinds of concerns. The Code also specifies what happens when an Indian national commits a crime abroad or when a foreign national travels in a ship or aircraft that is registered in India. The Code of Penal Procedure must be consulted before the courts begin any proceedings and take into account every circumstance controlling their authority.

It’s crucial to remember that jurisdictional standards support the efficiency and organization of the legal system. By ensuring that disputes are considered by the proper court, they avoid selecting the wrong court and promote justice. They also help to ensure that the law is applied properly within certain limits. The effective operation of the criminal justice system depends on a knowledge of jurisdictional principles.

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