Exemption to an accused from personal attendance during trial.

Section 205 Cr.P.C. and Section 317 Cr.P.C. which are relevant provisions for exemption areas under:

“Section 205. Magistrate may dispense with personal attendance of accused.— (1) Whenever a Magistrate issues a summons, he may, if he sees reason so to do, dispense with the personal attendance of the accused and permit him to appear by his pleader.

(2) But the Magistrate inquiring into or trying the case may, in his discretion, at any stage of the proceedings, direct the personal attendance of the accused, and, if necessary, enforce such attendance in the manner hereinbefore provided.

317. Provision for inquiries and trial being held in the absence of accused in certain cases.—(1) At any stage of an inquiry or trial under this Code, if the Judge or Magistrate is satisfied, for reasons to be recorded, that the personal attendance of the accused before the Court is not necessary in the interests of justice, or that the accused persistently disturbs the proceedings in Court, the Judge or Magistrate may, if the accused is represented by a pleader, dispense with his attendance and proceed with such inquiry or trial in his absence, and may, at any subsequent stage of the proceedings, direct the personal attendance of such accused. (2) If the accused in any such case is not represented by a pleader, or if the Judge or Magistrate considers his personal attendance necessary, he may, if he thinks fit and for reasons to be recorded by him, either adjourn such inquiry or trial, or order that the case of such accused be taken up or tried separately.”

Grounds of Exemption

First reason given by the Magistrate is that all the accused appear hale and hearty and there is no suffering from any type of disease which may be impediment in appearing before the court. Application was not filed by the accused on the ground that they suffer from any physical illness and hence the said reason given by the Magistrate is wholly out of place. The second reason is that accused and complainant should be present before the court on each and every date expecting good sense prevail between them. We fail to see this as any valid ground for not considering actual grounds given by the accused for seeking exemption. Third ground given was regarding conciliation which requires the appearance of the accused desirable.

The Magistrate has not considered the grounds which were taken by the appellants for seeking exemption. It was on the record before the High Court that distance between residence of the accused and the place of trial at Patna is 1750 kms. It was further stated that appellant No.3, Ashok Kumar Yadav was a business man and running Company in Pune and appellant No.4 was a student of BCA in Pune. Taking into consideration the entire facts and circumstances and the grounds taken by the appellants in their application under Section 205 Cr.P.C. as well as in the application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. filed before the High Court, we are of the view that sufficient grounds were made out for granting exemption from personal appearance of the appellants in the trial. The Magistrate committed error in not adverting to the grounds taken for praying the exemption and rejected the application on the reasons which were unfounded. The Magistrate under Section 205 sub-Section (2) Cr.P.C. is empowered at any stage to direct personal appearance of the accused hence as and when personal appearance of the accused is required the Magistrate is empowered to issue necessary orders if so decides.

[Source: Rameshwar Yadav vs The State Of Bihar, decided by SC on 16 March, 2018]
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