Power of Court to Postpone or Adjourn Proceedings under Section 309 of Cr.Pc

Section 309 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that at every inquiry or trial, the proceedings must be held as expeditiously as possible. In particular, when the examination of witness has once begun, it must continue from day-to-day until all the witnesses have been examined, unless the Court finds the adjournment of the same beyond the following day to be necessary for reasons to be recorded by it.

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If, after taking cognizance of the offence, or after the commencement of the trial, the Court finds it necessary or advisable to postpone the commencement of, or adjourn, any inquiry or trial, it may do so from time to time for reasons to be recorded by it, and in such cases, it may, by a warrant, remand the accused if he is in custody.


However, no Magistrate can remand an accused to custody under this section for more than 15 days at a time. Moreover, when witnesses are present, no adjournment or postponement is to be granted without examining them, except for special reasons to be recorded by the Court in writing.

As seen earlier, under the present Code, an opportunity is to be given to an accused to show cause against the sentence proposed to be passed against him. In other words, the accused is to be given a chance to plead separately on the quantum of the sentence. As it is desirable that this healthy provision should not indirectly lead to any delay in the proceeding, it is also clarified that no adjournment can be granted only for the purpose of enabling the accused to show cause against the sentence proposed to be imposed on him.


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