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In India, plea bargain trend catching up

| PRAMOD KUMAR
Published : Sep 5, 2016, 12:34 am IST
Updated : Sep 5, 2016, 12:34 am IST

Wary of protracted legal battles, the trend of “plea bargain”, where the accused seek to get away with lesser imprisonment or penalty while not contesting the charge, seems to be on the increase.

Wary of protracted legal battles, the trend of “plea bargain”, where the accused seek to get away with lesser imprisonment or penalty while not contesting the charge, seems to be on the increase. Sources said that the numbers, which were too few earlier, are growing gradually, going by the cases being handled by the “cyber cell wing” of the country’s premier peobe agency, CBI.

The plea bargain, said officials, simply mean “plead guilty or bargain for lesser sentence”. It is essentially derived from the principle of “nalo contendere”, which literally means “I do not wish to contend”. One such recent case pertaining to the virus attack on security systems at Terminal 3 of IGI Airport was registered by the cyber cell of the CBI in 2011. The accused filed an application for plea bargain, which was agreed to by the complainant company and accepted by the trial court also.

“It was alleged that Common Use Passenger Processing System and Baggage Reconciliation System at Terminal 3 were rendered unavailable on June 29, 2011 during 2.56 am to 2.56 pm due to introduction of a malicious script into primary and back up servers, maintained by a Gurgaon-based private company. Due to system outage, check-in system at T-3 was unavailable, leading to delays in the operation of several flights,” sources said. The agency had registered the case under the IT Act against unknown persons. “A former employee of the company (who was the accused) was found to have allegedly written the said malicious script and introduced the same into the servers of the company. Instead of contending that he was innocent, the accused moved a bargaining plea in the case after filing chargesheet by the CBI”, sources said.

In another case pertaining to the counterfeiting and piracy of Microsoft software products, three accused moved applications for plea bargain which were accepted by the competent court. This case was registered by the CBI in December 2009 on the basis of a complaint filed by the Microsoft, sources said adding that a Delhi-based software company had been booked by the agency in this case. In the US and Europe, plea bargaining is a widely prevalent practice which helps expedite the legal process.

“As Per Section 265-A of the CrPC, the plea bargaining shall be available to the accused who is charged of any offence other than offences punishable with death or imprisonment or for life or of an imprisonment for a term exceeding to seven years. Section 265 A (2) of the Code gives power to notify the offences to the Central government”, sources said.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi