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Rights Of Accused In India: A Critical Analysis Of The Legal Framework

The right of the accused is a fundamental aspect of criminal justice that ensures that individuals accused of a crime are afforded certain legal protections. These protections are essential to ensuring that the criminal justice system work fairly and justly. Every person has their own right to life, right to Equality, right to Dignity and Right to liberty without any unlawful interference.

This paper deals with "rights of accused" person given under criminal procedure code 1973 and Indian constitution. This paper would like to elaborate rights of accused provided under the relevant convention and legal provision with case laws and how government can make better policies to strengthen the rights of accused person. This paper will give advance knowledge in matters relating to the rights of accused .

The term "Accused" has not been specifically defined in the code but we generally understand is that "Accused" is a person who has been arrested for or formally charged with a crime. It is a general name for the defendant in a criminal case. There is difference between accused , convicted and arrested person. Convicted person means person who has been proven or declared guilty of an offence, especially after a fair trail by competent court.

Arrested person means taking into custody of another person under authority of law usually because the person has been suspected of or observed committing a crime.The legal protection available to accused based of the principles of presumption of innocence. The principle provides that there is always a presumption of innocence lie on the favour of accused person and he is always presumed to be innocent until the prosecution proves his guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

The accused persons are also granted certain rights under Indian laws . The right of the accused is enshrined in various international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These instruments recognize the importance of the right of the accused in protecting individual rights and freedoms. An accused has certain rights during the course of any investigation, inquiry or trial of offence with which he is charged, and he should be protected against arbitrary or illegal arrest. if any person is arrested it does not means he/she waived off all his fundamental right " .

Research methodology
The methodology used for conducting this research is Doctrinal research. Doctrinal research is a type of legal research that focuses on analyzing and interpreting the doctrines or principles of law as they are expressed in legal sources, such as statutes, case law, and legal commentary..

Doctrinal research in law is an important component of legal education and practice, as it helps to develop the critical thinking and analytical skills necessary for effective legal analysis and advocacy. It is also an essential tool for scholars and researchers seeking to understand the underlying principles and structures of legal systems.

Right to life

Article 21 is a fundamental right and it is given under Part-III of Indian Constitution. This right is available to every person . It is a fundamental right as well as natural right " No person shall be deprived of his life and person liberty except according to the procedure established by law. Most of rights of accused evolved from this Article.

Sunil Batra vs Delhi administration (1980)
In this case court was held that keeping undertrial with convict in jail is a violation of Article 21 .

Right to counsel

According to Article 22 of Indian Constitution every criminal case accused has right to have a advocate of his choice who represent accused in court of law if the defendant cannot afford a lawyer, requires that the government appoint one or pay the defendant's legal is also given in section 303 of CRPC to have a lawyer of his choice .

Ranjan Dwivedi vs Union of India (1983)
In this case it was held that there is no doubt that the accused is entitled to financial assistance to engage a counsel of the accused choice. Court also opined that the government should make appropriate schemes for proper implementation of free legal aid.

Protection against retrospective penal law

It is provided under article 20(1) of Indian constitution. It means individual cannot be prosecute for act which was committed in the past because at that there was no law to prohibit that act The maxim "Nullum Crimen Sine Lege" literally means 'no crimes without law.' It means that a person cannot be punished for an action that was legal at the time it was taken, but later made illegal by a new law. It is related to the principle called "Nullum Crimen, Nulla Poena Sine Praevia Lege Poenalia", which means penal law cannot be enacted retrospective.

Right Against Double Jeopardy

It is provided under article 20(2) of Indian constitution double jeopardy means No person can be punished and prosecute for same offence more than once.

Two aspects of Doctrine of Jeopardy:
Autrefois convict or Autrefois acquit:
Person who has been previously convicted in respect of the same offence or person who has been previously acquitted in respect of same offence.

State (NCT of Delhi) vs Sanjay, (2014)
In this case it was held that It is well-known concept that the rule against double jeopardy is based on a maxim nemo debet bis vexari pro una et eadem causa, which means no man shall be prosecute for same offence more than once.

Protection against self incrimination

According to Article 20(3) of Indian constitution a person who is accused of any offence cannot be compelled to witness against himself. This means that a person cannot be forced to provide testimony or other evidence that would incriminate them in a crime.

The protection against self-incrimination is based on the belief that individuals should not be forced to testify against themselves, as it violates the fundamental principle of due process and the presumption of innocence.

Nandini Satpathy vs P.L. Dani (1978)
In this landmark case, the Supreme Court held that the right against self-incrimination is a fundamental right under Article 20(3) of the Constitution and applies not only to the accused in a criminal trial but also to any person who is required to give evidence.

Selvi & Ors. vs State of Karnataka (2010)
In this case, the Supreme Court held that the use of narcoanalysis, brain mapping, and other similar techniques violates the right against self-incrimination as they involve involuntary exposure of the subject's mental processes and can result in self-incrimination.

Right to free legal aid

It is given under Article 39(A) of Indian constitution. Free legal aid is a provision of legal services provided to individuals who are unable to afford legal representation. The provision of free legal aid is based on the principle that access to justice is a fundamental human right, and that individuals should not be denied this right due to their incapable to pay for legal services.

Implementation: Legal Services Authorities Act 1987 (NALSA/DALSA)

MH Hoskot vs. State Of Maharashtra (1978)
In this case Supreme Court held that right to free Legal Aid is a part and parcel of right to life and liberty.

Hussainara khatoon vs state of Bihar(1979)
In this case it was held that if any accused is not able to afford lawyer then he has right to free legal aid at the cost of state.

Right to fair investigation and fair trial

Right to fair trial is guaranteed under Article 21 of Indian constitution. The right to a fair trial provides the accused to protect himself and defend against the allegations made against him. This means that accused should be tried within a reasonable time, by an independent and impartial court. The right to a fair trial is an essential component of the rule of law and is important to protect human rights and protecting individuals from arbitrary or unfair treatment by the state.

Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India (1978)
This case is often cited as one of the most important cases on the right to fair trial. The Supreme Court held that the right to personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution includes the right to a fair trial. The Court also held that the procedure established by law must be just, fair, and reasonable.

Benefit to proved beyond reasonable doubt
In criminal case prosecution have to prove the guilt of accused beyond reasonable doubt if prosecution fail to prove beyond reasonable doubt benefit of doubt is granted to accused .

Rishi Kesh Singh And Ors. vs The State (1968)
In this case it was held that prosecution must prove case beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had committed the offence with the requisite mens Rea and burden of proof is on prosecution.

Right to speedy trial

Right to speedy trail is the one of the most important fundamental right inherent under article 21 of Indian constitution.Right to speedy trial is also essential part of right to fair trial. Right to speedy trail is statutory right of person must be brought before court within the reasonable time set by law. Right to speedy trial is also mentioned in the English law, the magna Carta. The paramount purpose of right to speedy trial in criminal law is to protect innocent from undue punishment or prevent defendant from being held in custody for a long time and provide justice to Innocent person as soon as possible .

Hussainara Khatoon & ors vs Home Secretary, state of Bihar(1979)
In this case supreme court held that right to a speedy trial was a fundamental right that could not be denied to undertrial prisoners, and paved the way for the establishment of legal aid services for the poor and indigent accused persons.

Sheela Barse vs union of India(1986)
In this case the Supreme Court held that if an accused case is pending before court for unreasonable period of time than it would be considered as violation of right to speedy trial unless there is some interim order passed by the superior Court or deliberate delay on the part of the accused.

Right to know the ground of arrest

According to section 50 of CRPC provide that if any person arrested by police without any warrant then accused has right to know the ground of arrest . This right is also given under article 22(2) of Indian constitution.this section also give right to accused to inform about arrest to family members, friends and relatives.

Udaybhan Shuki vs state of Uttar Pradesh (1998)
In this case court held that right to informed about ground of arrest is a valuable right of the arrested person and no one should be deprived of it.

Harikishan vs State of Maharashtra(1962)
In this case it was held that ground of arrest shall be communicated to accused in a language that understood by him.

Right to get copy of FIR

When any criminal case filed against person on a police report accused has the right to get the copy of first information report. According to sec 207 of CRPC it is duty of magistrate to provide copies of statements made to police at free of cost to accused.where the documents are voluminous the accused may be allowed to inspect it through pleader or by personally instead of provide copies . Each accused is entitled to receive copies such documents.

Youth Bar Association vs Union Of India (2016)
In this case supreme court held that accused is qualified to get a copy of FIR at a initial stage than as recommended under area 207 of the CRPC ,1973.

Despite the legal framework surrounding the right of the accused, there are a number of critiques that have been leveled against it. One of the main critiques is that the right of the accused places too much emphasis on protecting individual rights at the expense of public safety. Another critique is that the right of the accused can be used as a tool by wealthy individuals to avoid punishment for their crimes. These critiques highlight the need for a balanced approach to criminal justice that takes into account both individual rights and the need to maintain public safety.

The right of the accused is a fundamental aspect of criminal justice that is essential to ensuring that individuals accused of a crime are afforded basic legal protections. The legal framework surrounding the right of the accused includes a range of principles and protections that are designed to ensure that the criminal justice system operates fairly and justly. However, there are critiques of the right of the accused that highlight the need for a balanced approach to criminal justice that takes into account both individual rights and the need to maintain public safety.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Kunal Sahu
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: MY351419962982-28-0523

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