Posted October 16, 2013 by advocateguru in Learning Centre

Joinder of Charges

The next part of the charges id joinder of charges. Inclusion in the same indictment of the charges based on the same facts or that are a part of a series of offenses of the same nature.1 Section 218 states that for all the offences committed by the accused should be tried separately.

The object of this section is to save the accused from being exploited because the two offences might not be related with each other at all and it would not be right to make conclusions and convict a person of such offences on the basis of same evidence. “The expression ‘every distinct offence’ must have a different content from the expression ‘every offence’ or “each offence’. A separate charge is required for every distinct offence and not necessarily’ for each separate offence. ‘Distinct’ means “not identical.’ It stresses characteristics that distinguish while the word ‘separate’ would stress the ‘two things not being the same.’ Two offences would be distinct if they be not in any way inter-related. If there be some interrelation, there would be no distinctness and it would depend on the circumstances of the case in which the offences were committed whether there be separate charges for those offences or not. Such a view has been the basis of certain decisions by the High Courts and this Court.”2

U/s 219 three offences committed within the same year, if of same type, can be charged together. This section is exception to section 218. Hence following offences can be joined together for the trial purpose:

  1. Forgery and perjury

  2. Adultery and bigamy

  3. Falsification of account and criminal breach of trust

  4. Murder and grievous hurt.

u/s 220 the trial for more than one offence is described. If in course of committing a particular offence the person commits certain other offences they can be tried together in the similar trial. Similarly, u/s 221 if there is a problem in managing to know what exactly the offence has been committed the person can be tired for the similar offences and all or anyone of them.

Section 222 of the code talks about the minor offences committed. A person can be convicted for a minor offence even if he is not charged with it.

“15. Section 222(1) of the Code deals with a case “when a person is charged with an offence consisting of several particulars”. The section permits the court to convict the accused “of the minor offence, though he was not charged with it”. Sub-section (2) deals with a similar, but slightly different situation.

16. What is meant by “a minor offence” for the purpose of Section 222 of the Code? Although the said expression is not defined in the Code it can be discerned from the context that the test of minor offence is not merely that the prescribed punishment is less than the major offence. The two illustrations provided in the section would bring the above point home well. Only if the two offences are cognate offences, wherein the main ingredients are common, the one punishable among them with a lesser sentence can be regarded as minor offence vis-`-vis the other offence.”3

Section 223 states when can several people can be charged and tried together/jointly. This can be done if

  1. The accused persons committed the offence in the course of same transaction

  2. Persons accused of an offence and persons accused of abetment of, or attempt to commit, such offence;
  3. Persons accused of more than one offence of the same kind, within the meaning of Section 219 committed by them jointly within the period of twelve months.

  4. Persons accused of an offence which includes theft, extortion, cheating, or criminal misappropriation, and persons accused of receiving or retaining, or assisting in the disposal or concealment of, property possession of which is alleged to have been transferred by any such offence committed by the first-named persons, or of abetment of, or attempting to commit any such last-named offence;

  5. Persons accused of offences under Sections 411 and 414 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860,

  6. Persons accused of any offence under Chapter XII of the Indian Penal Code relating to counterfeit currency.

Section 224 gives the power to the complainant to take back his complaint once the accused is convicted for some of the offence/s he is charged with. However it is subject to the court’s decision.



2 Banwarilal jhunjhunwala v UOI AIR 1963 SC 1620


3 Shamnsaheb M. Multtani v. State of Karnataka, (2001) 2 SCC 577