In India the above common law principle has been embodied in Section 300, Cr.P.C. It lays down that a person, who had once been tried by court of competent jurisdiction for an offence and convicted or acquitted of such offence shall, while such conviction or acquittal remains in force, not be liable to be tried again for the same offence, nor on the same facts for any other offence for which a different charge from the one made against him might have been made under Section 221 (1) (where it is doubtful what offence has been committed), or for which he might have been committed under sub-section (2) thereof (of person charged with one offence can be convicted of another). [Section 300 (1)]
In order that Section 300 may become applicable and bar the trial of a person already tried, the following prerequisites must be complied with:
(1) The accused should have been tried, i.e. there must be a trial of the accused, hearing and determination on the merits.
(2) The trial should have been by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(3) The result of the trial should have been either a conviction or acquittal. A second trial is barred when the accused is convicted or acquitted. A discharge does not amount to an acquittal.
(4) The act or omission against which proceedings are taken must amount to an offence. Security proceedings under Section 187, Cr.P.C. do not fall within the purview of this section.
(5) The previous conviction and acquittal must remain in force, i.e., it has not been set aside by a court of appeal or revision.
A is tried upon a charge of theft as a servant and acquitted. He cannot afterwards, while the acquittal remains in force, be charged with theft as a servant, or upon the same facts with theft simply or with criminal breach of trust.
Exception to the general rule:
The following are three exceptions to the general rule that a person tried and convicted or acquitted or an offence cannot be tried again for the same offence:—
(i) A person acquitted or convicted of any offence may be afterwards tried for any distinct offence for which a separate charge might have been made against him at the formal trial under Section 230, sub-section (1). [Section 300 (2)]
Illustration.—A is tried upon a charge of murder and acquitted. There is no charge of robbery; but it appears from the facts that A committed robbery at the time when the murder was committed; he may afterwards be charged with and tried for robbery.
(ii) A person convicted of any offence constituted by any act causing consequences which, together with such act constituted a different offence from that of which he was convicted, may be afterwards tried for such last mentioned offence, if the consequences had not happened, or were not known to the court to have happened, at the time when he was convicted. [Section 300 (3)]
Illustration.—A is tried for causing grievous hurt and convicted. The person injured afterwards dies. A may be tried again for culpable homicide, since the consequence of hurt (i.e., death) did not happen until after first trial.
(iii) A person acquitted or convicted of any offence constituted by any acts may, notwithstanding such acquittal or conviction, be subsequently charged with and tried for any other offence constituted by the same acts which he may have committed if the court by which he was first tried was not competent to try the offence with which he is subsequently charged. [Section 300 (4)]
Illustration.—A is convicted by a second class Magistrate for an offence under Section 132, I.P.C. (false information with intent to cause a public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person. A may subsequently be tried by a first class Magistrate on the same fact for an offence under Section 211, I.P.C. (false charge of offence made with intent to injure if the latter was not triable by second class Magistrate but only by a first class Magistrate).
(iv) A person discharged under Section 258 (where in a summons case instituted otherwise than upon complaint, the proceedings at any stage are stopped by the Magistrate, shall not be tried again for the same offence except with the consent of the court by which he was discharged or of any other court to which the first mentioned court is subordinate).
(a) A is charged before the court of session and convicted of the culpable homicide of B. A may not afterwards be tried on the same facts for the murder of B.
(b) A is charged by a Magistrate of the second class with and convicted by him of theft of property from the person of B. A may subsequently be charged with and tried for, robbery on the same facts.
(c) A, B and C are charged by a Magistrate of the first class with and convicted by him of robbing D, A, B and C may afterwards be charged with, and tried for, dacoity on the same facts.