As Indian constitution is wedded to Democracy and Rule of Law, the concept of
free and fair trial is a constitutional commitment for which the cardinal
principle of Criminal Law revolves around the Natural Justice wherein, even the
accused or guilty person is treated with a human treatment. The law of the land
requires the prosecution to stand at its own legs and to prove the guilt of the
accused beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt.
The accused persons are also
granted certain rights, the most basic of which are found in the Indian Constitution. An accused has certain rights during the course
investigation; enquiry or trial of offence with which he is charged, and he
should be protected against arbitrary or illegal arrest.
Under Constitutional Law
Our constitution is based on fundamental that Let Hundreds Go Unpunished,
But Never Punish An Innocent Person
Right to get a fair representation in a
criminal procedure is a facet of Right to Equality (Article 14). Article 20 says
that "no person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law
in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be
subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under
the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence. Thus, accused is
given fair equality as par with other citizen.
Also by the judicial voice, a
wider ambit has been given to right to life and liberty and thus accused are
given a human treatment in jails fulfilling reformative approach (Article 21).
Article 22 talks that No person shall be detained in custody without being
informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest nor shall he be
denied the right to consult and to be defended by, legal practitioner of his
choice. The exception to the right is that it is not to be applied on alien.
Thereby, these rights under constitution are inherent rights and cannot be
altered or changed.
Under Criminal Law
Presumption of Innocence: In Blackstone's famous words, it is better
that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer. The essence of
criminal trial lies in that the accused is to be presume innocent until a charge
is proved against him without any reasonable doubt.
Right To Know The Grounds of Arrest: As per Section 50(1) of Cr.P.C.,
where a person arrested without warrant is entitled to know the full particulars
of offence for which he is being arrested and where a person is arrested with
warrant, he must be notified the particulars of such warrant, or even show such
warrant if needed. Sec. 75 of Cr.P.C.
Right to have Bail: Any person who is arrested without a warrant and is
accused of a bailable offence has to be informed by the police officer that he
is entitled to be released on bail on payment of the surety amount.
Right to Be Taken before a Magistrate without Delay: Irrespective of
the fact, that whether the arrest was made with or without a warrant, the person
who is making such arrest has to bring the arrested person before a judicial
officer without any unnecessary delay. By Sec 56 and 76 of the code, an accused
has to be produced before a magistrate within the 24 hrs.
Right to free, fair and speedy trial: As justice delayed is justice
denied, the concept of speedy and expeditious trial was introduced by which the
accused person is given fair and impartial justice quickly.
Right to Consult a Legal Practitioner: This has been enshrined as a
fundamental right in Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India, which cannot be
denied in any case. Section 50(3) of the Code also lays down that the person
against whom proceedings are initiated has a right to be defended by a pleader
of his choice.
Right of Free Legal Aid: A duty is imposed on all magistrates and
courts to inform the indigent accused of his right to get free legal aid. It is
clear that unless refused, failure to provide free legal aid to an indigent
accused would vitiate the trial entailing setting aside of the conviction and
Right to Be Examined by a Medical Practitioner: Section 54 of Cr.P.C.
enumerates this right. If requested by the arrested person so to do direct the
examination of the body of such person by a registered medical practitioner
unless the Magistrate considers that the request is made for the purpose of
vexation or delay or for defeating the ends of justice.
Right to privacy and protection against unlawful searches: The police
officials cannot violate the privacy of the accused on a mere presumption of an
offence. The property of an accused cannot be searched by the police without a
Right to be present during trial: Section 273 of the Code provides that
all evidence and statements must be recorded in presence of the accused or his
Right to get Copies of Documents: The accused has the right to receive
copies of all the documents filed by the prosecutor in relation to the case.
Right to be present at the trial: The accused person has the right to
be present during his trial and have testimony presented in front of him.
Right to cross-examination: The accused has the right to be
cross-examined by the prosecutor to prove his innocence.
Right to Appeal: The rights of arrested persons include the right to
file an appeal against his conviction in a higher court.
Right to Humane Treatment in Prison: The accused has a right to have
all his human rights when in prison and be subjected to humane treatment by the
In, Nandini Sathpathy v. P.L.Dani
1978 SCR (3) 608,wherein it was held that no
one can forcibly extract statements from the accused and that the accused has
the right to keep silent during the course of interrogation (investigation).
In, D.K. Basu v. State of W.B
(1997) 1 SCC 416,the Supreme Court, in this case,
issued some guidelines which were required to be mandatorily followed in all
cases of arrest or detention which include, the arresting authority should bear
accurate, visible, and clear identification along with their name tags with
their designation, the memo be signed by the arrestee and family member, the
family or the friend must be told about the arrest of the accused, The arrestee
may be permitted to meet his lawyer during interrogation, though not throughout
the interrogation and many other.
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