The concept of plea bargaiing is a ignificant development in the fieldof criminal justice system in India that stems from the idea ofalternative dispute redrassal and the consequent processes of negotiations and bargaining. The concept of plea bargainig can be understood as a kind of pre trial understanding between the prosecutor and the defendant where the defendant in exchange of a promise of a lesser sentence or any other legal concession agrees to plead guilty to the charges against him/ her. The defendant should voluntarily file the application of plea bargaining in the the trial court an the proceedings are held in camera and confidentiality is maintained so as to ensure that the defendane speaks without any fear or favour. This is a mutually beneficial concord between the parties and the concept of ADR is therfore well established and well maintained in plea bargaining. Plea bargaining that has its roots in the American Legal Justice System, found a place in the Indian Criminal Justice System (ICJS) after the insertion of sections 265A to 265L, chapter XXIA in the Criminal Procedure Coden after the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2005 which documented the cases where plea bargaining could be used as an option. In cases where the maximum punishment of imprisonment does not exceed seven years, where the offence is against women and children of fourteen years and the offences are non- compoundable in nature under secton 320 of the Criminal Procedure Code are not included within the scope of plea bargaining.
The system of plea bargaining enjoys an upper- hand over other forms of criminal trial ledaing to its popularity and wide usage. Firstly, the plea bargaining is a confidential procedure similar to the other forms of ADR. High levels of confidentiality is maintained in the process so that the defendant can speak his mind without any apprehension of threat or danger. Secondly, a hassle free approach is ensured by plea bargaining since it reduces the time required for the trials as the accused pleads guilty to the charges earlier than a normal trial. Thirdly, in a country like India where the societal status is of a great significance, the person against severe charges are instituted, social stigmatization comes as a major repurcusson of it. In such a case, a lesser charge or a lesser sentence on the accused can be of some relief to the his family and the accused hislef since it may comparatively reduce the burden of sociatal stigma on the parties.
TYPES OF PLEA BARGAINING :
CHARGE BARGAINING : in charge bargaining the accused plead guity of a charge lesser than what he has been booked for. The lesser charge will have lesser charge assigned to it.
SENTENCE BARGAINING : in sentence bargaining the prosecutor requests the judge to sentencethe accused to a lesser penalty/ punishment in exchange for the accused's plea of being guilty. The wide range of esntence possibilities allows for the place of sentence bargaining. It should be approved by a trail judge.
FACT BARGAINING : in fact bargaining, the introducton of certain facts stipulating to truth and the existence of a proveable fact is done, thereby eliminating the need for the prosecutor to prove them. This relieves the prosecutor of having to prove the facts.