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Doctrine of Double Jeopardy

Double jeopardy refers to a condition in which a person cannot be punished or prosecuted for the same offense or act twice. The doctrine of double jeopardy act as a defense that safeguards the accused person from being punished for the same offense again. Double jeopardy doesn't permit any court or judicial tribunal to prosecute a person more than once for the same offense.

Article 20[2] protects against double jeopardy no person shall be prosecuted for the same offense more than once. For the application of double jeopardy, the person must be accused of an offense, the accused person must have faced judicial trial previously, the accused must have been prosecuted or punished for the same offense, offense committed by the accused must be the same. It is one of the most important and integral parts of criminal law. The doctrine also supports the concept of Audi alteram partem which means the other side should be listened to by the law.

The doctrine of double jeopardy protects the accused person from further prosecution and punishments, it does not include inquiry and questioning done by multiple organizations at same.

When a judgment is passed by a court and the same judgment is challenged in the same court again respectively, it will be considered as double jeopardy. For example, the judgment passed by the trial court can be challenged in a higher court and supreme court, it cannot be challenged in trial court again.

Only judicial bodies, judicial courts, judicial tribunals come under the ambit of double jeopardy. Administrative organization, the governmental organization does not come under double jeopardy.

Illustration
A commits a crime, after committing a crime he gets interrogated by multiple organization such a crime branch, narcotics control bureau at the same time for the same offense, in the above condition, it cannot be said as the case of double jeopardy.

A has committed murder of B and robbed his house, A gets prosecuted and punished for the murder of A, after completing the sentence, a case gets filed against A for theft of B and he gets punished again for committing a crime, hence it will not be considered as double jeopardy because a new case was filed for a different crime, not for murder, so it doesn't come under the ambit of double jeopardy.

Historical background
The concept of double jeopardy has been observed in many countries for a long time. The main origin of the doctrine is from ancient roman law from the principle of non-bis in idem which means no twice punishment should be given for the same offense. A trace of double jeopardy was also seen in the case of Connelly v. DPP [1964] AC 1254, the most highlighted appeal in which the highest court ordered, double jeopardy trials can take place in British law.

The concept of double jeopardy is seen as one of the major defenses in criminal law in most civil law countries like Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, Pakistan, South Africa, England, etc. in India double jeopardy is observed as a fundamental right under Article 20 of the constitution of India.

Case law
Ball v. the United States 163 U.S [1896]:
Is one of the earliest case related to double jeopardy. In the judgement it was discussed that, it is not prohibition to give punishment twice, but punishment cannot be given again for exact same offence

Monica Bedi v State of Andhra Pradesh
In this case the Apex Court ruled that a passport enrolled on fictitious name amounted to a double jeopardy as a Portuguese court too had earlier convicted her for owning forged passport

State of Haryana vs. Bhagwant Singh In this case, Court held that the prohibition under Article 20 isnot applicable to departmental proceedings

Mohammad Ali vs. Sri Ram Swaroop:
In this case Court held that in cases of Continuing offense, each day is counted as a fresh offense and each can be punished separately so double jeopardy doctrine is not permissible in continuing offences.

Above mention case law discuss various conditions and application of doctrine of double jeopardy and courts judgement

Rational behind double jeopardy
double jeopardy is considered one of the major defenses under criminal law. It safeguards the accused person from harassment and unfair judgment. A criminal trial and punishment put an adverse effect on the accused person's mental, psychological health, it also affects the family of the person, financial condition, etc. hence the doctrine of double jeopardy becomes important hence it saves the accused from getting traumatized again.

Double jeopardy violates the fundamental rights of the accused which are guaranteed under part III of the constitution. Hence it is not applicable in Indian law.

It is always said that a person should always be given a second chance and scope of improvement. If a person will be convicted twice for an offense, he will not get a chance to improve and make the thing nice.

The concept of double jeopardy does not provide absolute power to judges and the judicial system to punish an accused twice, it protects the criminal right. This provides limited decision-making power to the court.

Double jeopardy in Indian law
  • Concept of double jeopardy is mention under Article 20[2] of constitution of India.
  • According to section 71of IPC, it limits the punishment to accused person, double punishment cannot be given for single offense.
  • Section 300 of CrPC also discuss concept of double jeopardy.
It is also discussed in general clause act.

Opinion
Double jeopardy is a major criminal defense, it is one of the most important doctrines of the criminal justice system. The main motive behind the doctrine of double jeopardy is, no accused should be harassed unnecessarily. It is considered of great importance as it is also included in 5th amendment of US constitution. When it comes to fair justice system, accused person is also vested with few protection under constitution. Concept of double jeopardy is also mentioned in various international convection, treaty and laws. According to doctrine more importance is given to human life and its basic fundamental rights.

Conclusion
Concept of double jeopardy is of great importance as the criminal law is concerned. It is discussed in Art.20 of constitution but widely discussed in criminal law. It act as an great protection and practiced in general sense to avoid accused from getting exploited. However for the double jeopardy certain condition needs be full filled. It's a necessity to protect one from emotional, physical, financial exploitation, hence the concept was introduced and being practiced in may countries. The doctrine of double jeopardy is of great importance in criminal administrative system.

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