What is plea bargaining and how does it work?

News: Many members of the Tablighi Jamaat belonging to different countries have obtained release from court cases in recent days by means of plea bargaining.


  • Plea Bargaining: It refers to a person charged with a criminal offence negotiating with the prosecution for a lesser punishment than what is provided in law by pleading guilty to a less serious offence.
  • Origin: Plea bargaining was introduced in 2006 as part of a set of amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code(CrPC) as Chapter XXI-A, containing Sections 265A to 265L.
  • Who can initiate plea bargaining: The plea bargaining process in India can be initiated only by the accused and the accused will have to apply to the court for invoking the benefit of bargaining.
  • Cases where Plea Bargaining is allowed:
    • Someone who has been chargesheeted for an offence that does not attract the death sentence, life sentence or a prison term above seven years.
    • The offence does not have an impact on the socio-economic condition of the country.
    • The offence is not committed against a woman or a child below the age of 14.