Author : R. Jenifer Ranjani of Government Law College, Villupuram, Tamilnadu


The term ‘Trial’ defined as the Judicial Judgment or Court’s decision by the Court to decide the One’s innocence or guilt. It is important one in a criminal case. With the assistance of Section 190 of Criminal Procedure Code trail can be started by taking cognizance of the case by the Magistrate, usually it can be said  that the Magistrate’s Power to take knowledge of a case. Following with Section 190, Section 204 of Criminal Procedure Code provides Magistrate discretionary power of either to accept or reject the case on some grounds and also determines whether a case can be entered the stage of trial or not[1]. Trails are four types under criminal Procedure Code, 1973. Those are a) Session Trails (Section 225 to 237) b) Warrant Trial (Section 238-250), c) Summons Trial (Section 252-259) and d) Summary Trials (Section 260-265L).

Summary Trial:

The summary trials are for to get speedy justice for the case, ie based on the Legal Maxim ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’ which are to be disposed of speedily and also depend on the jurisdiction, and the process of summary trail cases is quite simplified, swifter procedure and lessening the procedural requirements . The importance of procedural part associated to the summary trials is to record its proceedings. Since this trial is simple one, the components related to evidences and the dispositions are to be recorded in simple and brief manor whereas in regular trials, the substance and all the evidences related to the cases should be considered carefully. In criminal procedure, a trail can be conducted without a jury and also decision upon the facts and the law should be taken by a Judge who should be legally qualified or may be a Magistrate.[2]

The proceedings of summary trail have to be done prudently and cautiously. The implication of summary trial is to try and to dispose the case once. The purpose of the summary trial is preventing an injustice, because in the normal trial it would take several years to complete the proceedings. Summary Trails provisions in Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 are Section 260 to 265.

  • Section 260 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, confers power to Chief Judicial Magistrate, Metropolitan Magistrate and First Class Magistrate to try Summary trial. However, First Class Magistrate has to obtain special permission from the High Court to try summary trail.
  • Section 261, High Court may empower any Second Class Magistrate to try the case summarily of the offence, which is punishable only with fine or with imprisonment for a term not which should not exceed 6 months with or without fine and any of the attempt or abetment of such offences.
  • Section 262, is a breach and imperative thereof amounts an illegality and not has irregularity. Section 262 (1) clearly states that the Summary Trial procedure shall be conducted as per the procedure which has been mentioned to conduct the trials of summons-case, except otherwise provided. Section 262 (2), mentions the sentence of imprisonment for a term exceeding 3 months for the conviction for summary trials. If sentencing exceeds the fixed period by this section can be considered as illegal. In  Asghar Ali[3]  case it was mentioned that the limit of imprisonment (Punishment) should only to the substantive sentence, and should not to an alternative sentence of imprisonment (Punishment) as default of payment of a fine. A magistrate who trails the case may impose a sentence of imprisonment which should be default of payment of fine besides to the maximum sentence of imprisonment for three months, which is imposed for the offence committed.
  • Section 263, states many particulars to be recorded by the Magistrate who is going to try the cases
  1. Case number;
  2. the date when the offence committed;
  3. the report or complaint date when it was recorded;
  4. the complainant Name (Not Mandatory);
  5. Full details of the accused including the name, Parent details and address for communication;
  6. the offence which has been complained of and if any offence is proved,
  7. If accused the plea  any guilty and accused examination (if any);
  8. Any finding;
  9. The final order or sentence;
  10. Proceedings termination date;

The above given particulars should be recorded in the form which has been prescribed by the State Government. This duty should be obliged by the Magistrate to record all the particulars by him. Magistrate should not depute this duty to any of his clerk, or he should not authorize to affix his signature anywhere in the record or judgment by a stamp.

  • Section 264, the Magistrate should record the evidence, when the accused had not pleaded his/her guilty, and pronounce judgment and its reasons thereof in brief manner. Whenever the evidence is being produced in the court Magistrate should record all the substance of evidence. The Karan Singh Case[4], High Court of held that whenever the evidence is not so set forth during the trial, the Magistrate may take steps to examine the witness, or order re-trial.
  • Section 265, each record or Judgment should be written in the Language of the court. For some instances, the High Court can authorize any of the Magistrates to be empowered to try those offences summarily in order to prepare record or judgment or both for an officer who is appointed on behalf by the Chief Judicial Magistrate and the record or judgment, which was prepared, the concern Magistrate should sign on that[5].

A summary trial differs from any regular trials as follows:

  1. A summary trial may be conducted only to specific minor offences whereas non-cognizable offences are tried in regular other trials.
  2. In summary trials, the substance of evidence and the disposition can be recorded briefly whereas in regular trials, the evidence should be recorded carefully and in full.
  3. Formal charge is not required to frame in summary trial by Magistrate whereas in regular trials, drawing of formal charge sheet is mandatory[6].


The preliminary investigation never lead to a prosecution and trial directly, even if the prosecution side may feel that there is enough evidence to prove the crime might has been committed. When accused admits that, he/she committed any of the offence and then the prosecutor can pronounce the type of punishment. The summary punishment has the effect of the Judgment, which has been recorded in the Criminal Records Registry and a form is being sent to the accused on which he/she admits to the guiltiness and accepts the punishment.  The main difference is that the prosecution side may not bring charges, which explains in turn that there will not be trial. This process is voluntary only and the accused may either to choose to allow the prosecutor to bring upon the charges or to have the case tried in a judicial manner.[7] 

[1] Ayush Verma, Trial under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973,, April 18, 2020

[2] Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

[3] Asghar Ali, (1883) 6 All 61.

[4] Karan Singh, (1878) 1 All 680

[5] CrPC, The Practice of Law,,persons%20accused%20of%20certain%20offences.&text=2. Posted 21st February 2015 

[6] Parul Soni, Summary Trials,, November 20, 2018