Discharge and Acquittal in Bangladesh Criminal Law

There are two measures which mount to the release of an accused: Discharge and Acquittal.

As per section 265C of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, if, upon consideration of the records of the case, submitted documents and statements of the accused and the prosecution, the magistrate considers that there are no grounds to frame charges and prosecute the accused, then it shall discharge the accused and record his reasons. This has to be done before the framing of charges against the accused.

According to section 265H of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, after evaluating the statements and evidences of the prosecution and the accused, if the magistrate considers that the accused has not committed a crime shall acquit the accused and record it. Considering exemption cases, they are only investigated however, judicial proceedings are not initiated. In case of emergence of new evidences, the accused can be re-charged after the previous acquittal. Considering acquittal in a trial, the accused cannot be charged with the same crime again once acquitted.

The fine understanding between the order of discharge and order of acquittal is that when an accused is discharged, it does not indicate that he or she has not committed an offence. It simply means that the magistrate does not have sufficient reasons to believe that the matter shall proceed to trial. Such order of discharge is not a judgment as the accused maybe tried again if evidences emerge. On the other hand, if the accused is acquitted it signifies that he is innocent and cannot be tried for the same offence again. Such order of acquittal is a court’s judgment.