What a charge in a criminal case is
A charge in a criminal case is a written notice in which precise and
specific accusation against the accused in regard to the offence is
stated. It is the foundation of the criminal trial. The charge conveys
the accused the accusation which the prosecution intends to prove
against him in the court. It enables him to prepare for his defence in
regard to the accusation.
The charge is drawn up in the form of a statement and contains the
description of the offence alleged to have been committed. The
prosecution needs to tender evidence only on matters put in the charge
and not on any other matter. Therefore the charge enables the accused to
know the accusation against him in the case and remain ready to give
evidence in his defense once the prosecution produces its evidence.
At the stage of framing of charge the court is not expected to foresee
whether the prosecution will be able to prove the case against the
accused. On the other hand the judge needs to be convinced that there
exists a prima facie case.