Can an accused be granted exemption from personal appearance? -Understanding Section 205 and 317 of the code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

An essential principle of criminal law is that the trial of an offence should take place in the presence of the accused. This principle has been embodied in Section 273 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (“CrPC”), which provides, as a general rule, that all evidence taken in the course of trial shall be taken in presence of the accused. While it cannot be denied that such a rule is mainly for the protection of the interest of the accused, CrPC has provisions allowing courts the discretion, in certain circumstances, to exempt an accused from personal appearance. However, exemption from personal appearance is not available to an accused as a matter of right; and is subject to the discretion of the Court.


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