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
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
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 " .
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 expenses.it 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
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.
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
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
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
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
Authentication No: MY351419962982-28-0523