Legal provisions regarding alteration of charge by Court and the procedure thereafter under section 216 and 217 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
(1) Any Court may alter or add to any charge at any time before judgment is pronounced.
(2) Every such alteration or addition shall be read and explained to the accused.
(3) If the alteration or addition to a charge is such that proceeding immediately with the trial is not, likely, in the opinion of the Court, to prejudice the accused in his defence or the prosecutor in the conduct of the case, the Court may, in its discretion, after such alteration or addition has been made, proceed with the trial as if the altered or added charge had been the original charge.
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(4) If the alteration or addition is such that proceeding immediately with the trial is likely, in the opinion of the Court, to prejudice the accused or the prosecutor as aforesaid, the Court may either direct a new trial or adjourn the trial for such period as may be necessary.
(5) If the offence stated in the altered or added charge is one for the prosecution of which previous sanction is necessary, the case shall not be proceeded with until such sanction is obtained, unless sanction has already been obtained for a prosecution on the same facts as those on which the altered or added charge is founded.
According to Section 217 of the Code, whenever a charge is altered or added to by the Court after the commencement of the trial, the prosecutor and the accused shall be allowed:
(a) To re-summon, and examine with reference to such alteration or addition, any witness who may have been examined, unless the Court, for reasons to be recorded in writing, considers that the prosecutor or the accused, as the case may be, desires to recall or re-examine such witness for the purpose of vexation or delay or for defeating the ends of justice.
(b) Also to call any further witness whom the Court may think to be material.
When a charge is altered, the accused has the right and the Court is bound to recall any witness whom the prosecution or the accused desires to recall. After an alteration or addition of the charge the interest of prosecution and accused has to be safeguarded by permitting them to further examine or cross-examine the witnesses already examined, as the case may be, and by affording them an opportunity to call other witnesses. And the Court is given the discretion to disallow the request of the prosecutor or the accused to recall witnesses or three grounds, namely, (i) vexation, (ii) delay, or (iii) defeating the ends of justice.