This article on ‘RIGHTS OF AN ACCUSED PERSON IN INDIA‘ is written by Priyal, a 4th year student from ICFAI University, Dehradun and an intern at Legal Upanishad.
The article will be discussing the rights of an accused person under different Indian statutes supported by the judicial pronouncements.
Every individual has certain rights which they exercise on their behalf. When we say an individual, it includes the accused individual. Since the Indian judiciary supports a fair trial, therefore some rights are given to the accused person to exercise during the trial procedure.
RIGHTS OF AN ACCUSED PERSON
Generally, we understand the accused person as the one who is charged for committing some acts forbidden by the law but yet not convicted. In India, there is a presumption of innocence made on part of the accused until proven guilty and such rights of an accused incorporates a fair decision of acquittal or conviction.
An accused has rights that can be exercised before, within and after the trial. Different statutes provide different rights for the same. The rights of an accused person in India are as follows:
Rights before the Trial
Before the initiation of the trial, the rights of an accused person provided are:
Right to be aware of the charges
When an accused is arrested upon a certain accusation, he gets elaborated with the charges made against him in a thorough manner u/s. 50 & 75 of CrPC, 1973. The accused has a right to be aware of all the alleged offences against him with all the essential particulars.
Right against unlawful arrest
An unlawful arrest of a person is against his right under A.21 of the Indian Constitution which is illegal. When an accused gets unlawfully arrested and detained under A.22(2) & S. 57 of CrPC, 1973, he has the right to claim against such arrest.
Right against infringement of privacy
Since A.21 of the Indian Constitution includes the right to privacy which needs to be preserved, therefore, a warrant is issued for conducting a search at an accused place to restrict the infringement of his privacy.
Right against self-incrimination
According to A.20(3) of the Indian Constitution and S. 161(2) of CrPC, 1973, no accused can be compelled to appear as a witness against himself during the trial. Although the facts require to be supported by the statements made by both the parties but the accused cannot be incriminated by being compelled to make statements against himself.
Right against Double Conviction
As per A. 20(2) and S. 300 of CPC, 1903, an accused cannot be convicted of identical offences twice even if he is guilty of the same. It restricts the double conviction by the court.
Right against the retrospective effect.
As per A. 20(1) of the Indian constitution, an accused cannot be convicted for an act that was not illegal before the statute was enforced and became illegal after the enforcement. This article bars the retrospective effect of the provisions under the Indian Constitution.
Right to get bail
In criminal matters, as per S. 50 of CrPC, 1973, bail can be granted to an accused charged with a bailable offence and he cannot be deprived of the same. Also, bail can be granted in a non-bailable offence based upon the discretion of the magistrate.
Right to get legal aid
According to S.304 of CrPC, 1973, where an accused is incapable to get a council to appear in his defence for the case, the court can provide the defence council to take up the case of an accused at the expense of the state.
Right to have a fair trial
The right to have a fair trial is also associated with under A. 21 of the Indian Constitution and so no prejudice should restrict the justice of an accused.
Right within the trial
Certain the rights of an accused person available within the trial are:
Right to be present during the trial
The trial requires evidence as well as documents to support the case. The court orders the accused to be present at the time of the trial and not be absent intentionally so as to proceed with the trial further under S. 273 of CrPC, 1973.
Right to have copies of the documents
As per S.76 of the Evidence Act, 1872, the copies of documents that are produced during the trial is required to be given to the accused so as to prepare the defence.
Right to be presumed innocent
As a general rule, an accused is presumed innocent until the guilt has been proven before the court of law. It is a universal right under A. 11 of the UN declaration of Human Rights.
Right of cross-examination of a witness
In the trial, witnesses from both sides get examined and cross-examined and their statements are recorded thereof. The accused under S.137 of the Evidence Act, 1872 has the rights of an accused person to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses during the trial.
Rights after the Trial
The rights of an accused person after the trial totally depend on the judgment passed. In case if he is convicted then he has the right to appeal under S.372 of CrPC,1973 & A.132, 134 as well as 136 of Indian Constitution before the higher court against such judgment.
However, if a judgment is passed in favour of the accused, he is entitled to receive copies of the judgment making acquittal of the accused.
- Nandini Sathpathy v. P.L. Dani, 1978 SCR (3) 608.
In this case, the court said that an accused cannot be forced to give such statements which derogate his chances to meet justice.
- Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration, (1980) 3 SCC 488.
The higher court held that mental harassment, physical torture, ill-treatment is against A. 21 of the Indian Constitution.
SUGGESTIONS AND CONCLUSION
When we analyze the administration of justice, it has great lacunas to overcome. The rights of an accused person is justified but there are several rights that need reconsideration.
- The double conviction rights of an accused person can be against the rights of mass individuals as the commission of same crime again and not being convicted for the same is hampering A.21 of other peoples.
- The right to get free legal aid and be heard even in brutal cases is not justified. Where the mens rea and intentions establishes by the act committed and conviction prima facie applicable then the same should be done without delaying the justice.
It is finally concluded the rights given to the accused shall be such which balances the ends of the purpose of legal rules formulated.
1. Archana Jaiswal. Sept,15, 2021. What are the rights of an accused person in India? The economic times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/readersblog/your-life-your-decisions/what-are-the-rights-of-the-accused-person-in-india.
2. Anubha Nilu. (n.d.). Legal protection available to the accused during criminal trial. Legal Services India. http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/1524/Legal-Protection-available-to-the-accused-during-a-criminal-trial.html.
3. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Bare Act.
4. The Evidence Act, 1872, Bare Act. 5. My Advo. Sept 12, 2019. What are the rights of an accused person in India? My Advo. https://www.myadvo.in/blog/rights-of-accused-in-india/.
Error: Contact form not found.