Power to postpone or adjourn proceedings (Section 309 of CrPc)

Legal provisions regarding power to postpone or adjourn proceedings under section 309 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

As per Section 309(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, in every inquiry or trial, the proceedings shall be held as expeditiously as possible, and in particular, when the examination of witnesses has once begun, the same shall be continued from day to day until all the witnesses in attendance have been examined, unless the Court finds the adjournment of the same beyond the following day to be necessary for reasons to be recorded.

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According to Section 209(2) of the Code, if the Court, after taking cognizance of an offence, or commencement of trial, finds it necessary or advisable to postpone the commencement of, or adjourn, any inquiry or trial, it may, from time to time, for reasons to be recorded, postpone or adjourn the same on such terms as it thinks fit, for such time as it considers reasonable, and may by a warrant remand the accused if in custody.

However, no Magistrate shall remand an accused person to custody under Section 309 for a term exceeding fifteen days at a time. Further, when witnesses are in attendance, no adjournment or postponement shall be granted, without examining them, except for special reasons to be recorded in writing. And again no adjournment shall be granted for the purpose only of enabling the accused person to show cause against the sentence proposed to be imposed on him.

As per Explanation 1 to Section 309 of the Code, if sufficient evidence has been obtained to raise a suspicion that the accused may have committed an offence and it appears likely that further evidence may be obtained by a remark, this is a reasonable cause for a remand. According to Explanation 2 of Section 309 of the Code, the terms on which an adjournment or postponement may be granted include, in appropriate cases, the payment of costs by the prosecution or the accused.