LAHORE: The Punjab government intends to have the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1898, amended so as to change the procedure of registration of criminal cases and submission of challans in courts for trial.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has reportedly approved the amendments in a meeting held here a few days ago, official sources confirmed here on Sunday.
It is the federal government that has the constitutional right to amend the CrPC. And, official sources said, the required changes in the CrPC could not legally and constitutionally affect cases already registered or being tried by the courts of law.
‘Move to save time and money’
According to some high placed sources, the first suggestion is to amend Section 154 of the CrPC to provide for powers to the SHO to conduct initial inquiry to discard fabricated and false FIRs prior to registration of cases.
At present police are bound to register cases after the lodging of the FIRs. This involves useless investigation and prosecution in courts which officials say is just a waste of time and money.
The second proposed amended is in Section 173 of the CrPC. It aims at allowing prosecutors to assess challans before their submission in courts for indictment of accused to find out whether they contain sufficient evidence for punishment, or not. In case of lack of sufficient evidence, the prosecutor will have the authority not to pursue the case.
Sources said the prosecutor would apply the code of conduct prepared by the prosecution department in January this year to check whether the challan was fit for prosecution or not. This would again prevent prosecuting cases not fit for trial, saving time and money of the courts, police, prosecution department and of the litigants.
They said an appeal against the decision of prosecutor would lay with the prosecutor general, or the affected party could avail the right to file a writ.
They said the law, home, and prosecution departments were considering what would be the legal status of the cases to be declared not fit for prosecution, or who would have the powers to quash them.
The government also intends to have Sections 161 and 162 of the CrPC amended to allow recording of the audio/video statements of the prosecution witnesses, and Section 510 to make DNA reports admissible evidence.